Alex Mican – An International Perspective
You have quite an interesting story about your journey to PSU from Romania. Could you tell us about the chain of events that led you here?
First of all, hello! I am a 24 year old graduate student from Romania and I just started my MBA here at Plymouth State. It is quite a fascinating story on how I got here. In the eighth grade, I left home to go a theological high school and become a priest. For the next five years I studied there, became very good at English subjects, and my teacher recommended that I take the Cambridge exam—she said you never know where life could take you. I took her advice and passed the exam. By the fifth year of study I realized that I didn’t want to continue on to theological graduate school. Having the Cambridge certification helped me get into faculty of economic studies and business administration, English line of study.
In my last year of undergraduate school in Romania, we were told that Dr. Duncan McDougall would be coming to teach us two courses. It sounded interesting and after courses started I found out that I could learn a lot from what he taught and his teaching method, which was different from the Romanian style. As classes went on we got to know each other better and Dr. McDougall told me about American universities and encouraged me to apply.
It was something that you could only dream of: Someone actually encouraged me to apply! I was skeptical at first because I considered, “Who will take me seriously?”, but as time went by I completed my paperwork and sent it over. It was a lot of hassle to do the paperwork because nobody knew what I needed to do or how to do it. Our system is different so it was a lot of running around and finding out that the papers were not translated properly. But all in all, I did everything and then waited for the results. I should also mention that if I hadn’t received the graduate assistantship, none of this would have been possible.
What program are you pursuing?
I came here with the intention of doing my MBA. I chose the Small Business Institute®, thinking that a small business can be developed over time into something world class. My point is that if you get to understand small businesses and the problems they deal with you can easily relate them to a larger scale. It’s like the saying: While big companies research a topic to implement, small companies change the world (this with the assumption that it is easier to try something new in a smaller business).
I like the subjects that I am taking and I feel like I understand them as I go deeper into the program. It’s giving me a sense of purpose and focus, and exposing me to things that I didn’t know before or I didn’t understand that totally make sense now.
In Romania, I worked as a sales agent for a second-hand car web site as well as in my parents’ cosmetics shop. On holidays and weekend my parents would require my help at the store. There, I got the sense of the field of business. Now I read about and learn things that I can relate to what I was doing there: store supply, inventory, selling, customer satisfaction, and special offers.
Tell us about your experience thus far as an international graduate student at Plymouth State.
Everything has been amazing and everybody has greeted me with warm hearts and support. I must say I found here my second family. The McDougall’s have been very kind to me, supportive, and made my stay a lot easier. The holidays were a real delight with their family and all the adventures around them.
As far as the University community goes, I could not ask for more. I am working part-time for the College of Graduate Studies, helping with MBA admissions. Everybody is welcoming and fun, so it has been a real pleasure being here. The interaction that I see between employees and students, with issues such as admission, registration for courses, and financial aid, amazes me. I think it is a huge advantage for students to have somebody to talk to and receive help with problems. From my point of view, nobody did that for me—I had to figure everything out by myself before I came here. In Romania, students have to figure things out by themselves, but here you treat us with importance, like we matter to you. This is a thing that few people actually see and treasure.
What advice would you give to a student considering the MBA program?
Take a day for soul searching and understand that it is not just something that you do and get it over with, it is someone you become. Being here makes you part of the community and the community is small, so you get to develop yourself more. If you’re ready for that commitment, come to Plymouth, it’s like a dream come true that turns your life into something better, you just have to be patient, have faith, and work hard.
What do you see in your future?
I think the future for me means entering a company, learning how things work in the real world, and then either having my own company or working up the chain of command at a big corporation. I could also do some consulting work for companies that require improved operations and a better work environment.