Student Spotlight: Saif Sarvana
Saif Sarvana bought his first stock at the age of 12.
“When I was a kid, I could read the Chicago Tribune business section at home, and Forbes, Fortune and The Economist at my local library,” he said. “In high school, I took all of the business classes that were offered and was a member of the business club.”
When it came time for college, Sarvana knew College of DuPage was a wise investment because of its strong reputation, affordable cost, small class sizes, great professors, excellent facilities and flexible scheduling. He was the envy of friends who went from high school to a four-year school.
“The overwhelming majority of my friends and acquaintances who did not attend a community college for their general education courses regretted it,” he said. “Not only do you save money but the quality of education provided by COD is the same if not better.”
Sarvana also took advantage of a program that he might not have found at a different school. Because of COD’s long-standing association with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) program, Sarvana spent one academic year studying and working in Germany. He was one of only 75 students in the U.S. selected from more than 600 applicants for participation in this year-long, federally funded fellowship for study and work in Germany.
“Ever since I was a young child, I’ve had the desire to travel and see the world because of my interests in other nations and cultures,” he said. “Also, with the world globalizing at unprecedented rates, programs like these are very important for students aspiring to go into the field of business.”
While in Germany, Sarvana attended the Mainz University of Applied Sciences and was enrolled in the Business Administration program, with all courses taught in German. Together with Johannes Gutenberg University (established in 1477), Mainz University is one of the largest campuses in Germany and includes a 10 percent international student population.
He then worked an internship at Mittelrheinische Treuhand GmbH, an accounting/auditing/tax advisory/consulting company. During his final seminar in Berlin, he visited the U.S. Embassy and met the U.S. ambassador to Germany. He also was invited to sit in on a parliament session in which they celebrated the 65th anniversary of the Basic Law, which is the German constitution. During the ceremony, he saw Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Sarvana said that the CBYX program afforded him the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream to travel and helped prepare him to enter today’s workforce.
“It's an opportunity that will fit into my major of accounting and finance, where a global understanding of the marketplace will be highly beneficial,” he said.
Sarvana returned to College of DuPage, where he finished his associate’s degree and transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago to study business. During the summer of 2016, he interned at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. After earning his bachelor’s degree in 2017, he would like to work in the financial industry while obtaining his MBA and someday own an investment company.
Although Sarvana selected College of DuPage for the obvious reasons, the return on his investment was far more than he ever expected.
“I met so many people at COD who influenced me positively. They helped me in school and kept me away from the wrong crowd,” he said. “I was interning at a bank in Oak Brook, and COD – being conveniently located in Glen Ellyn and offering a flexible schedule – allowed me to continue to work there.
“If you decide to go to COD, take advantage of what the school has to offer. Get acquainted with your professors, preferably in your field. For example, I want to go into business so I am staying in touch with my accounting and economics professors. You can benefit from their insight and build professional relationships which will help you in your search for a career.
“You should also find out about opportunities and pay attention to the announcements. It was a dream of mine to study abroad but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to. Then I heard about CBYX and now my dream of not only studying abroad but working abroad was fulfilled.”
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2016 College of DuPage