One of the best ways to truly understand a school’s impact is to ask students to tell their own stories. Join us in getting to know Crowell students and recent alumni and how they have been transformed — by professors, by fellow students, by God — during their time at Biola in our series, Character and Career: Stories of Transformation.

If you ask current student David Wong about his time at Biola University, he will bring up the word “leadership” over and over — how he has seen it modeled, how he misunderstood it and why developing it in a Godly way has become a central part of his life.

“I came into college thinking solely about me, about ways to develop and further myself,” said Wong. “But now I want to be solely about loving God in everything I am and do, and loving others through the process … looking for ways to serve and develop others, so that they can find their own leadership voices and go on to disciple and foster more future leaders. God is transforming me, as a Christian, a student and a leader.”

Wong is studying Business Management and is currently a junior. He is a student leader in the Biola Commuter Life department and is also a Youth Ministry Leader in a local church. Here, Wong shares about his experience as a Crowell School of Business student.

What have you discovered about yourself at Biola?

I have really discovered a lot, both good and bad. It was very surprising how little I truly know about God, leadership, business or even myself. This realization was truly humbling as I came into Biola very prideful and selfish; I had no idea what empathy even was and I had no idea how incompetent I was in communicating myself to others. I have become extremely grateful for God’s work in my life, and the family, friends and mentors who have helped shape me. My priorities since being at Biola have completely changed.

The Spring 2020 semester, going remote, changed the way I think about Biola, especially the way the entire faculty and staff were willing and able to adjust to the situation and find ways to continue to enrich and pour into all of the students’ lives. I appreciated that my professors truly cared about each and every student while making their courses fulfilling, even online. I was also encouraged to see how fast the students were able to transition in this trying time and how they recognized and deeply appreciated the efforts of the professors and staff.

You did a particularly relevant class project, a survey of how the quarantine was affecting students’ sense of community, and then you proposed some solutions.

I have never done anything like this before; taking a real-world current issue and attempting to address it. Once Biola transitioned to remote learning, the Commuter Life department went into immediate action to constantly update our members about news and changes. From this, we quickly transitioned all of our programming, including online events and online small groups. We heavily utilized the official Biola coronavirus information webpage for news and updates and used Discord for our main chatroom. We did our best to provide community and growth for all our members.

My work this semester, along with the experience of dealing with COVID-19, has changed the way I think about life after Biola, because I realized how much I love to serve and develop others. No matter how stressful or tiring the work was, I was satisfied and encouraged that God could use me as a tool to help others grow closer to Him and be glad in these circumstances.

Why did you select Biola?

First and foremost, I wanted to be in a Christian school because I knew that I needed to grow spiritually, and I wanted to become much more serious about my faith. Also, I was fortunate to gain different scholarships and financial aid from Biola as well as Biola accepting most of my AP credits, allowing me to graduate a semester early. I wasn’t even sure that Biola was the right school for me, but I decided to give it a shot, and I am extremely happy that I did.

Why a business major?

Considering what I liked and what I was good at, it was between a business major at Biola or a pharmacy or engineering major at a different school. However, I found the business major to be more aligned with my future plans, as I always wanted to own a business and needed to learn about management, finance and human resources.

What professors have particularly made an impact on you?

Professor Jeff McHugh, Professor Thomas Wilson, and Professor Helen Mitchell have given me invaluable insights on how to be a better Christian leader, whether how to tackle situations with a Christian lens or how to better lead myself in order to better lead others. I found all my Bible professors to be instrumental in my growth as a Christian. Professor Jake Aguas truly encouraged me to persevere and grow in my confidence. I was fortunate to find mentors through Commuter Life: Patrick Shin and Katie Tuttle were essential in my development as a leader within the community, as they taught me how to serve well and utilize my leadership voice to impact others. Throughout high school, the teachers warned us how the professors don’t care about students. But I have had very supportive professors, and I have genuinely enjoyed being a student.

Any advice for incoming business students?

Come into the program with an open mind and a willingness to work hard and connect with others. Let God work and transform you. Also, come in wanting to work hard so you can develop in unexpected ways. Lastly, make an intentional effort to connect with other students and especially professors. These relationships are invaluable and professors are there to help you; they genuinely care. As an introvert, it was hard for me to take that initiative, but these experiences will help shape and improve how you communicate and network.

Learn more about or apply to Crowell School of Business academic programs.