They started out as strangers, and ended the year as friends.
Arunabha “Neel” Chowdury ’14, Mitesh Gala ’14, Shakhyar “Sharky” Neog ’14, Digvijay “DJ” Jaiswal ‘14 and Aradhya “Ardy” Srivastava ’14 all came to the University of Redlands for the accelerated MBA for International Students at the School of Business. The program offered everything they were looking for: an affordable, one-year program that was ranked high and featured esteemed professors.
“Since it’s not a traditional two-year MBA, you can get back to the corporate life as soon as you want,” said Srivastava, whose emphasis is global business. “You’re not losing anything, just gaining.”
All five men discovered Redlands while in their home country of India. Each one was looking for something specific, and they worked closely with recruiter Swathi Suresh to find it.
“I wanted a one-year program because I wanted to start working,” said Gala, whose emphasis is in global business. “I searched on the Internet and found four or five good universities. I applied to Redlands because I saw that it would help me fulfill my dreams.”
“I chose to come to the University of Redlands because I completed my engineering degree and wanted to shift into management,” said Jaiswal, whose emphasis is GIS. “At Redlands, I was able to complete it in one year, and that was very beneficial for me.”
“I had three-and-a-half years of experience in IT, and I was looking for a course that provided business management,” Srivastava said. “I applied to Redlands and universities in Singapore and Australia, and after checking the rankings and interacting with previous students, I felt Redlands was the best.”
The students arrived in late August last year, and shared two units in the Central Avenue Apartments in Redlands.
“The day I came from India, the first thing that surprised me was a professor came to the airport to pick me up,” Gala said. “That was a good gesture from the University. The refrigerator was filled with food and groceries, and the rooms were furnished and in place. We knew the apartment would be good, as we saw a few photos, but we never imagined it would be so clean and so furnished. I was really happy with the generosity the University has provided us.”
Once classes started, the students were eager to get to know their fellow classmates and professors.
“The other students are from various backgrounds,” Neog, whose emphasis is GIS, said. “There are some from the military, some in nursing, some from big companies, and some from small companies. As a result, you learn new things from each other. The classroom is full of ideas, and it’s a give and take–you learn from them, and they learn from you.”
“Since there are fewer students in the classroom, the faculty can meet with everyone personally,” Jaiswal said. “They are so friendly, and we can easily share our problems and anything we feel like asking them. The course structure is easy to understand in a short span of time.”
During his first few weeks at Redlands, Neog discovered GIS, and decided to change his focus.
“When I was in India, I had very little idea about GIS,” he said. “Once I came to the University of Redlands and talked with professors and students, they gave me an idea about GIS. Now I’ve come to realize it’s a very powerful tool, and it’s great that in Redlands they have Esri and other companies.”
For all five students, this was their first time being in the United States, and the faculty helped make the transition easier.
“In a class, the professor was making examples related to American football, which I didn’t really understand,” said Chowdury, whose emphasis is marketing. “After a few hours of class I told the professor, and he made sure that it was completely clear.”
“The professors are really down to earth and helpful,” Gala said. “The Indian professors know our mentality and culture, and that really helped us right from the start. They give good guidance and lectures, and make us feel comfortable.”
When the students weren’t studying, they explored Redlands, traveled around Southern California, and tried new food together.
“My experience so far has been very good,” Neog said. “Before I came here I had only seen movies about California and the United States, and now that I’m experiencing it firsthand I’m really liking it.”
“As I landed in San Francisco, it was my dream place that I had thought about,” Jaiswal said. “The scenic beauty of California has embraced me, and the infrastructure of the University is so nice. It is safe and secure, and feels like home.”
The year went by quickly, and the students are looking forward to what will happen next, with all hoping to stay in the United States.
“I had a very good experience, and learned a lot about management,” Gala said. “I learned about important aspects of business and how to adjust to a new culture and environment.”
“My skills have been enhanced, and I’ve learned how to be independent,” Neog said. “It was a positive experience.”
Written by: Catherine Garcia