Mustafa Popal

Returning the Favor

Mustafa Popal (McIntire ’08)

Mustafa Popal didn’t realize until he graduated and spent some time in the workforce how valuable his experience at UVA really was.

“When you’re in school, you never think about what a great university it is or that the quality of the education is top notch,” he said. “Those kinds of things don’t go through your head. But afterward, when you tell people you have a degree from the University of Virginia, they automatically view it positively.”

More important than the prestige of the name, however, was the leg up his UVA education gives him on the job. As a financial analyst for a small venture capital firm in Washington, D.C., for the past two years, Mr. Popal notices daily that he is applying the knowledge he gained and the skills he developed at the McIntire School of Commerce. When it comes to some of the intricacies of analyzing financial statements or higher level securities, for example, he is much more confident than his peers, because none of this is new to him.

“Making a small gift was the least I could do,” said the first time contributor to the University’s Annual Fund. “I realized the respect and value that a UVA degree commands in the workforce, and I just want to make sure that people in the future are able to realize that same value and take advantage of the same opportunities. It’s a great school and it served me well, so I want to give something back. Hopefully in the future I will be able to make larger and more frequent gifts.”