BOSTON, Mass. — With ambition from the start as a talented high schooler, Joshua Tochukwu Nwozor grabbed a U.S. college guide, flipped and flipped pages, and soon locked eyes with the name, Huston-Tillotson University; he was at the U.S. Embassy in his hometown of Abuja, Nigeria. Whether it was love at first sight when seeing HT’s name, Joshua and his time at Huston-Tillotson University gave some clues.
“HT stuck out to me because it was a historically black college,” Joshua said. (Nwozor mostly goes by the name Joshua.) He applied and not surprisingly, he was accepted. Behind the scenes, it was Dr. Steven Edmond, dean of HT’s School of Business and Technology, sealing the deal.
“He said that I was a good candidate, and the rest is history.” History now unfolds.
On his first-ever trip to the States, a young Joshua was stepping foot onto a college campus. Again, this was not surprising for such a talented individual who was selected among only 10 out of over 1,000 students for an elite high school program in his country.
It was Fall 2011, Austin, Texas. It was dry and hot, very similar to Abuja’s weather.
“I was sweating…I thought I was coming to America, but the weather was not much different,” he fondly recalled.
At first, just as many natives of other countries, it was tough adjusting to the American culture. But luckily, Joshua had family in Houston that showed him a few ropes to surviving in the U.S. The language was not a barrier since he spoke English. Instead, it was the food. Yes, Texas barbecue, tacos, soul food, you name it, all just did not mesh well with his palate.
Soon, his “taste” came for the American culture when he found a “home” in Huston-Tillotson University.
“The support system I received from HT was tremendous,” Joshua emphasized.
Joshua declared accounting as his major and went on to rank at the top of his 2015 class. He was a Dean’s List and W.E.B. Du Bois Scholar, a Rambassador, math tutor, president of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and International Student Association’s chapters, SGA treasurer, and he ultimately graduated with the distinction of summa cum laude.
Even Joshua had to admit that he did a lot.
“I did a lot of stuff. I was a go-getter,” Joshua said with laughter.
While he was going, he was taking the time to stop at his professors’ offices.
“I would go to my teachers and ask questions,” he said, noting a best practice of a good student. He also added that he was a student who challenged his teachers intellectually.
Joshua never stopped improving.
“Even where I am now, I want improvement.”
Joshua is an Experience Associate in the IT Risk and Assurance department of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the second largest professional services firm in the world and one of the Big Four auditors.
In the experience associate role, Joshua helps four to six big corporate clients a week improve their business processes with the use of technology.
“We work with Fortune 500 companies. We are the auditors for these companies. My area is around the IT risk with risks such as cybersecurity. My role also includes change management. I help companies manage their risks with their business processes.”
Joshua also serves on several boards in the Boston area such as a board member of the Boston chapter of NABA, a rising leader board member of a youth non-profit organization called Build in Boston, which supports and mentors young entrepreneurs, vice president of African Fraud Prevention Institute, Inc., supporting the organization’s operations and finance, and website content curator for PwC Northeast Black Inclusion Network (BIN). Joshua just never stops.
Speaking of never stopping, Joshua wanted to build upon his education success at Huston-Tillotson by pursuing his master’s. He applied for and was accepted into one of the nation’s leading business schools right after HT, Bentley University of Waltham, Massachusetts. Joshua earned not one but two master’s degrees at Bentley, one in information technology and another one in business administration (MBA). And he accomplished this in just two years, at no cost, and graduated with distinction.
And who does he credit for his success?
“If I didn’t go to HT, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be able to acquire that knowledge. HT was the opening door for me. The person I am, to challenge the status quo, to improve myself and the environment around me, HT triggered it.”
Joshua believes in the generations that follow him. He feels that if he can do it, they can, too.
“I came from a very poor background. I had nothing. I would not have believed back then that I would be working for one of the top global companies in the world, but I was a student with a drive. HT mentored and encouraged me. Even today, I still have that drive and mentorship.
My biggest advice is to have a drive. When you get to where you are, give back; it could be your time or your money. I am a big supporter of giving back because I wouldn’t be where I am today; I wouldn’t be able to say that I achieved XYZ if HT didn’t open the door.”