Joe Jacob, M.B.A. '18, M.S. '22 
Believes in Celebrating Diversity and Giving Back

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Joseph Jacob, M.B.A. ’18, M.S. ’22 knows Mercy College from more than just one perspective. As an alumnus who sharply recalls the struggles of trying to perform as a student while succeeding in an existing career, he understands the common challenges today’s student’s face. As a family man working to introduce his young children to the traditions and experiences of his own native India, he appreciates a community around him embracing diversity in a higher education setting. He brings all of these perspectives into focus as a staff member serving the Mercy community as its director of analytics and information technology.

Previous to taking on his current role in July 2019, Jacob had been serving as the director of technology at the College of New Rochelle. He came onboard Mercy’s Information Technology department at a time of incredible change. Jacob describes the closure of CNR as a tumultuous time, but the ending of one career role would signal the beginning of another. Jacob became part of the transition team teaching-out CNR students to successfully complete their degrees at a brand-new institution. “Here I was looking at the organization that had hired me closing its doors, but another door at Mercy opened,” said Jacob.

Jacob learned in his early twenties that he wanted his career path to be in technology and after taking a job at a start-up software company in San Francisco his ambitions were confirmed. “I learned so much there and that eye opening experience allowed me to realize what I love to do,” said Jacob. He had taken a pause in his college path to seize a unique job opportunity and experience life in a different city, but eventually he knew he would return to New York.

“Education is an emphasis in my family – my parents made that a focus,” he said. Having immigrated with his parents and sisters to the U.S. from India at age four, the value of a degree was instilled in him and remains a clear motivating factor. Returning to New York to complete his bachelor’s degree, he continued working in technology, eventually working for a construction company in a role that allowed him to pair his technology knowledge with the coordination of facilities and building. “I loved wearing steel toed boots and being part of all areas of a project,” he said.

By the time he landed his position at CNR, he was married and planning for a family. For both he and his wife Martina, a pharmacist, advancing their careers happened methodically and with teamwork. “It was Martina who pointed out a poster once and encouraged me to get my M.B.A.” said Jacob. Choosing Mercy, he says, was the best decision and allowed him to experience a rare and supportive environment that made all of it seem possible. Soon a newborn added to the mix would challenge all of the milestones ahead of him, putting even Mercy’s flexible learning environment to the test. “You have to lean on others to help. My wife and I would take turns. There’s a lot of sacrifice and trade-offs,” said Jacob. He identifies particularly with the experiences our students face as they balance their roles already in the workforce or raising the families. “Carving a way toward a degree is not always a clearcut path” Jacob admits, “but family support is key.” 

His pride in preserving cultural traditions for his children is well evident. By speaking Malayam (his native tongue) and consciously enrolling his two sons and daughter in programs that celebrate their own heritage, he and Martine hope to keep them well-rounded and true global citizens. “We want our kids to experience many things. We truly are a multi-cultural family in that sense.” Now, five years after his M.B.A. completion, he has added an additional master’s degree in data analytics. “I value the vision of Mercy to accommodate the places our students come from,” said Jacob.

Today, though there is more than enough on his plate, Jacob is an active member of Mercy’s Alumni Advisory Council. He says taking on this leadership role was a way to meaningfully pay it forward for others.” “I really like giving back. I want to raise awareness among our alumni that you just don’t get your degree, get a salaried position and forget about your alma mater.  I guess you can say I want to lead others back to our school.”