UNI MBA Student Creates his Own Life in America
Just a few weeks into his first semester of college in the United States in 2002, Vijay Muralidaran had only $100 left in his bank account.
It was Muralidaran’s first excursion to the United States. He was pursuing a master’s degree in industrial and manufacturing engineering, and after paying for tuition, rent and the essentials, including a winter jacket to protect himself from the frigid North Dakota air, he had little money left. “I had to start everything from the ground up with no family or anyone’s support,” said Muralidaran, who is pursuing his UNIBusiness MBA. “I did not know anybody out here.”
But Muralidaran, who completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Madras in India, loved education in the United States. He loved the hands-on, real-time nature of projects. He had strong mentors. While the transition to education in America was hard, Muralidaran adjusted. He got a job to supplement his income, and after two semesters he received a scholarship. “Immigrants and migrants talk about the culture shock,” said Muralidaran, who grew up in Chennai, India. “That didn’t bother me. My focus was all on education and how to manage and how to balance, how to bring stability in my life and my family. That was my primary intent.
“I have so much respect for the education system. It also drove me to do the MBA and helped me decide to stay here in the United States beyond college.”
Now Muralidaran is pursuing his MBA at UNI, which he started in 2016 while working in Mason City. He currently works at Cargill in Cedar Rapids and is on track to finish his degree in May 2019 with some commuting flexibility built into his program track. Muralidaran is Six Sigma Black Belt certified, meaning he is highly knowledgeable in some of the top industrial and manufacturing engineering methods.
Muralidaran’s goal with his MBA is to open up more paths in his career. He could continue to grow within the corporate sphere and reach a senior level position. He also might take his part-time consulting business, which he started in Mason City, full time. And he could fulfill one of his dreams of starting his own company. Whatever he decides, Muralidaran will have many more opportunities because of his MBA education. And that’s why he’s happy to be in the United States.
“I ask myself, ‘why did I come here?’ ” Muralidaran said. “I just wanted to learn more, and I always took my father’s advice of get all the education you can when you’re younger. I just blindly followed that advice, and that’s why I ended up in a school here in the U.S. And 16 years after, I feel like I made the right decision.”