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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

When Ambition Meets Creativity

Rasheed Muhammad is a graduate of HRSM's retail management program. So, what led him to his current position as the SVP of SunTrust Bank's Sports & Entertainment?

Whether he's presenting Psy with an American Music Award on the red carpet, or serving as a trusted financial consultant for A-list musicians, entertainers and athletes, Rasheed's career is anything but ordinary.

From an early age, Rasheed’s father was a very influential person in his life, instilling a strong work ethic into his son. “I probably had my first job at four years old. My father owned a fresh seafood market in New Jersey, and my job was to hit the bell when a new customer came in, and to me that was the best and most important job. I couldn’t wait for someone else to walk through the door. To my core, it’s in my DNA to be a sales person and a relationship person because my dad always had me with him and it’s what he did.”

His father advised that if he was good at sales, then no matter what else Rasheed did in life, he would always have a job. The advice hit home, and eventually led him to the retail management program in the College of HRSM. As it turned out, his father’s advice paid off.

“I always wanted to be a singer, songwriter and producer. I was the guy who performed for the fraternity and sorority parties,” explains Rasheed as he reflects on his college days. Rasheed and his group were even invited to perform on Showtime at the Apollo, a popular televised talent competition at the time. Upon graduation, Rasheed moved to Atlanta as an aspiring musician.

“When I relocated to Atlanta, I couldn’t meet anyone famous if my life depended on it. I was caught between pursuing these dreams and having to have a career to make money.” Rasheed put his sales background to work and found a job with a department store, where he quickly became frustrated with the idea that, in spite of his performance and ambition, advancement came in a pre-determined sequence of steps with his company. “You might become an assistant manager, then a manager, then assistant buyer and then a buyer.”

Rasheed’s frustration eventually drove him away from the floor of a department store, and into a sales-related job in banking. It was a good fit — the banking industry was well suited to his persistent personality, and he was able to navigate himself quickly through the industry.

Rasheed’s persistence continued. “When I started there, I was only in my position for a year and a half and had applied for an open position. I was told that the job that I was seeking had a huge learning curve, and that I wasn’t qualified, but I decided to apply anyway and used the interview process to learn more about what the position required. I was turned down five times for that position, but every time it came open, I would apply for it.”

Eventually, he was awarded the position and proved himself beyond measure.

A pivotal moment in Rasheed’s career advancement came when he developed and presented a new service line idea to his company — a sport and entertainment line of business that could stand on its own. “I created a business plan and they didn’t think that it was something that was the right time for that particular business plan or idea, so they didn’t embrace it. I went from being very happy with the employer that I was with to leaving them and starting a new job 17 days later with SunTrust Bank.”

Now, as the SVP of SunTrust Bank’s Sports & Entertainment Specialty Group, Rasheed has married his passion for the music industry with the sales and relationship skills that were cultivated from the time he was a four-year-old boy, ringing a bell for his dad.

When asked how he defines success, Rasheed admits, “I don’t know how to define success. All I know is ambition. For me, when I set out to do this job, I wanted to be impactful in a very positive way, just as a doctor who is able to repair a patient. I ask myself, ‘what can I do to help people?’ So success is when a client comes back and is grateful for something that I did for them.”

But Rasheed isn’t content with today’s success. “I am never satisfied with the norm or with yesterday’s success. I have to define new successes for tomorrow.”

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.