28 Nov “The Global Market Disruptor”
“Big Business and Grad School Abroad”
–Who is Taylor Harps?
Beyond a personal biography, I think Taylor is looking to make an impact on the world differently than most. He seeks to embark the world in a unique way. Taylor is humbly grateful for some of his achievements. He strongly believes God has a huge task for him. Some of Taylor’s biggest accomplishments include serving as the national president of an organization called The National Student Business League while he was in college. This organization consisted of multiple HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) chapters and was created by an organization called The National Business League, which was founded and led by Booker T. Washington. Mr. Washington founded and was the first president of Tuskegee University, where Mr. Harps attend for undergrad. Shortly after Taylor graduated from Tuskegee in 2012, he and his brother embarked on their entrepreneurial journeys and started their own food and beverage company. They partnered with a multi-billion dollar company and together, the two companies won a multi-million dollar food and beverage contract to open and manage 10 franchise restaurants inside the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, AL. Some of the restaurants included Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Great American Bagel, Jim ‘N Nick’s, and a few others. After doing this for a few years, Taylor decided it was time for him to go back to school to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This was a goal he has always strived for. Instead of pursing his degree in the US, he wanted to get his degree overseas. Being that in today’s time, everything is basically globalized, Taylor wanted to travel, see, and understand the world we live in. To him, this was more than just getting a piece of paper; it was about shifting his life in a different direction and embarking upon a world that he knew was much larger than what he currently knew. As a result, Taylor left the United States to study for his Master’s degree in three different world cities (Dubai, Shanghai, and London). During this time, he also traveled to three continents, nine countries, and 22 cities; visited some of the world’s most-visited sites; acquired personal and business relationships all over the world; and started studying two additional languages (Arabic and Hindi).
Taylor truly believes traveling opens a person’s mind and elevates their level of thinking to a height the person never knew existed. Taylor feels his experience overseas while getting his education was a pivotal stepping-stone to his dream of impacting the world on a global scale. Taylor understands there are plenty of students traveling abroad to get their education, but he wants to see more young, Black American males receive and experience the same opportunity. There are too many Black youths today who have never been outside their states, or even worse, their cities. Therefore, these young Black men are not aware of the life the world has to offer them, and if they are aware of it, they are too afraid to experience it. As a consequence, these young Black males live in a bubble of complacency, never growing to their full potential as individuals or in their careers. Taylor believes it is hard to be something if you have never seen it. Moving to the Middle East, which is considered one of the most controversial regions in the world, by himself and not knowing anyone, was definitely out of his comfort zone. However, this experience made him a better person than before.
We, as adults of the Black race, have to do more to encourage and help our young Black men travel outside of their own environment. We have to continue to create opportunities for them to see the world beyond what they see on a daily basis. Taylor strongly believes this is one of the best ways to positively influence, grow, and alter a young Black man’s mindset for the better. He hopes his recent international experience in obtaining his education will inspire young Black males to build an interest in travel and to step out of their comfort zone.
Taylor wants to encourage and teach young Black men to be fearless in stepping out of their comfort zones. God put us all on this earth with different talents, gifts, and purposes to make our environments better for the next generations. That is what drives Taylor. He also tends to live life in 3-5 year intervals. He does have a long-term dream and plan, but he understands that plans sometimes change. Some of Taylor’s dreams and goals in the next 3 – 5 years are to speak Arabic, Spanish, and Hindi fluently.
–Any advice for individuals looking to possibly attend school abroad?
If there are any young Black males that have ever thought about going overseas for any reason other than military, but are not sure if they want to embark on that experience, I would tell them to do it – no matter what for or how long. I understand that there’s a lot going on. Fear stops most, but the world is too large to let fear stop you from exploring it. My second piece of advice is that if you are going to study abroad, go with an open heart and an open mind. Embrace the experience and everything that comes with it. Let the experience consume you and take you. Do not be afraid to experience things you have never experience before. Do not try to stay the same person or have a closed mindset. For example, if you go to Africa and they ask you to embrace their customs, embrace them. Eat the food, participate in the dances, and wear the clothing! The only way you can get better is by being uncomfortable, struggling, and doing something you had no clue how to do.
I really dove deep into the Indian culture once I left. The culture truly upholds its values around family traditions, attire, and language. It’s been an awesome experience for me; I have been able to embrace it all. I’ve eaten with African, European, Chinese, Hindu, and Muslim families. I did not want to experience anything westernized that I could have experienced back in the states. I would rather bring experiences and lessons back to the states and share it with my friends and family back home.
The last piece of advice is that I know most people feel the US is the best country on earth, but I do feel our young Black males should experience living overseas for at least six months to a year. This will give them a chance to see themselves from a totally different perspective.
–What’s next for you?
I am currently in an interesting time in my life right now. As I did this interview, I was literally finishing my education abroad and flying back to the states, so I’m thinking a lot right now as far as what I want to do next. I have a few things in mind though. I know I want to stay in the food and beverage industry. I am going to continue to learn to speak Arabic and Hindi, continue to build on the experiences I learned overseas, and look for the next big and unusual opportunity!
-Any advice for young Black males?
The key is being receptive to developmental feedback as they call it in corporate (criticism). Being hungry and understanding what feedback is valid, and knowing what to do with the information. Don’t get caught up in people just talking just to talk. Never be afraid, and always put yourself out. Be a man of integrity, honesty, and always authentic and obviously, grades are always important. The same people that tell me what I was doing yesterday are asking me for help today. It’s never too early; I got my first intern in high school.
Idk, what’s next for me, this weekend, I am attending a conference in Minneapolis with MLT. They have prepared a weekend of interviews with us for different fortune 500 companies (tech, retail, agriculture and banking industries mostly). I will be applying with a number of companies looking for my best fit.
This article was written by Justin Sims, (IAMMRMENTOR), and Taylor Harps, in hopes of not only inspiring entrepreneurs, but young black males to be the best and the truest version of themselves.
If you like this article and find yourself interested in more positive stories about black millennial age males, please visit WWW.IAMMRMENTOR.CO and follow him on his social media pages IAMMRMENTOR on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.