Diary of an International Student, CBPM Edition
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by Sonali Raskar
I want to take this opportunity to give you all a sneak peek into the life of an international student on UW- Madison campus. Before I begin though, a short introduction of myself: I am Sonali, a second year MBA student in the Center for Brand and Product Management. I have lived in different parts of India for 25 years before coming to Madison. I came to the US to pursue to my MBA at the CBPM due in large part to the specificity it offered compared to other programs. As opposed to Indian education system which is more academically focused, the Wisconsin School of Business explores real business case studies which create relevant learning experiences and foster subject matter expertise. I really enjoyed my experience in this education system where in I learned just as much in class as I did from my peers.
Coming from a different country and vividly different culture, there are so many things that pleasantly surprised me, first and foremost being the easy-going mid-west culture. I have never come across people as warm and helpful as they are here in the mid-west. This culture has influenced me in many ways, making me blossom into an ambitious person in the most humble way. Another aspect of this culture I am actively trying to emulate is being transparent and sharing my thoughts and opinions as openly as possible. I’ve learned many things professionally as well, including the simple-yet-necessary idea of always ending a meeting with clear next steps!
In addition to all of these amazing experiences, I have also had my fair share of challenges. One of the bigger issues I faced was finding the right employment opportunities given the rising number of work visa applications and shrinking number of employers accepting international student applications. In this situation, I had to make the most of every opportunity that presented itself to me. The CBPM’s interview training program was the best resource I had to help me differentiate myself and find that perfect fit! Thanks to the great resources and preparation I received, I’m excited to announce that I successfully landed two full-time offers!
Although I am still fighting the battle for more spices in Wisconsin food, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Wisconsin School of Business. This has been my life changing experience that I will always be thankful for. As I am looking forward to my life post-graduation, I am also committed to working with Brand Center in future to help as many international students as possible.