How the dream of an international student and his father came true at the University of Northern Iowa.
The journey to UNI
Manosh Pillai and his son Adarsh shared a common dream: to someday see Adarsh working at a major accounting firm. There was no doubt that Adarsh would accomplish this goal at some point — the challenge was figuring out how he’d get there.
Adarsh shared a trait that you’d find in many students entering a new environment — he wasn’t the most outgoing or talkative; some might even call him shy. The field of business in particular favors the bold and those willing to step out of their comfort zone.
In many ways, the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) offered the perfect fit for Adarsh. The small campus community, an abundance of opportunity, and supportive staff introduced him to what his future could look like. He wasn’t who he needed to be just yet, but he’d have the space to grow into the person he and his father envisioned.
The student perspective
From the first interaction Adarsh had with UNI, it felt like the right fit. UNI offered a five-year CPA (certified public accountant) degree track, and the admissions requirements were clear-cut: provide them with his high school GPA, ACT scores, IELTS or TOEFL scores, and that was it. He said, “The transition wasn’t that hard for me — going to UNI, I knew that it was my place because of the campus size and how welcoming the environment was.”
Having found his dream school, the professors and faculty at UNI made a concerted effort to break Adarsh out of his shell. During his freshman year, one such professor took Adarsh to a student organization fair and encouraged him to join several student organizations — he did just that.
Over the next few years, Adarsh grew into roles of leadership within those organizations, joined a fraternity, and juggled numerous positions both inside and outside the classroom. He attributed his experiences to his growth, saying that they helped him develop communication and multitasking skills — all of which culminated in his accomplishing the dream he shared with his father.
The parent perspective
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Manosh was surprised by his son’s transformation over the years, but he was certainly proud to witness it. What does he attribute it to? He mentions the role UNI had in it:
“Adarsh was able to get connected with many of the social and student activities at the college where they gave him exposure to develop himself and motivated him to become a better student and human being in life,” said Manosh.
Manosh echoed that UNI continuously met every one of Adarsh’s needs, from placing him in leadership positions that developed untapped potential, to providing a safe haven on campus where he had access to delicious food, facilities, and living accommodation.
Some additional information about UNI that Manosh has for parents of international students: “One point for the international students or parents — the fee structure, it’s a reasonable one, and when compared to the other universities in the U.S., UNI has a very reasonable fee structure.”
What the future has in store
Adarsh is in the midst of completing his final year at UNI and will be moving to Chicago after graduation to start his career as a full-time accountant at PWC, a major public accounting firm.
When Manosh was asked what he’s most proud of when it comes to the accomplishments his son has had at UNI, he said, “He’s been involved in many activities which have developed him a lot, and one of his dreams and my dream was to get into one of the big accounting firms. Once he gets into PWC, it’s a dream come true for me too.”
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