If it wasn’t for a free lunch at a five-star hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal, Samar Timilsina might never have known about Caldwell University and might never have interned at Bank of America on Wall Street.
“I was hanging around with my friends when I heard that Jan Marco Jiras (a recruiter from Caldwell University) and other international counselors were coming to the hotel,” said Timilsina. “I had never been to a five-star hotel, so I just went there basically for food.”
After attending the college fair (and getting his free lunch), Timilsina started googling Caldwell and watching the university’s YouTube videos. “I saw that there were all kinds of scholarships … and that there were already many Nepalese students.” Jiras connected him to Manish Puri, a senior from Nepal, who gave him advice on how to “apply for a visa, where to get all the immunizations and once I got to the U.S., how to settle in and what courses to take.” Also helpful was the fact that Puri was a computer information systems major, the academic major Timilsina planned to choose.
When he started at Caldwell he intended to focus exclusively on his major, but then he found himself in a political science course. “The political science professor came in and that class just blew my mind.” Since then Timilsina has taken every one of Dr. Domenic Maffei’s classes and has declared a minor in political science. In addition, all of his computer science professors have been “super helpful,” particularly Professor Arnold Toffler, who encouraged the students to take a graduate-level course in big data, which shaped where Timilsina wanted to pursue his career interests.
This past summer he landed an internship as a technology analyst at Bank of America on Wall Street. He applied online cold turkey with no networking connections and was called for a phone interview. Timilsina was prepared for questions related to computer science but was surprised when the interviewer asked him to explain something interesting that happened to him as a resident assistant in the dorms. The person happened to be an R.A. when she was in college. “It kind of clicked,” said Timilsina, and they started talking about work as an R.A. From there he was flown down to North Carolina to be interviewed at Bank of America headquarters. “It was very intimidating
at first,” since there were students from bigger schools like MIT, North Carolina State and Syracuse. “But I did what I could and it worked.”
Timilsina spent 10 weeks during the summer as a technology analyst at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch office. He worked with the team that provided archiving as a service to all the corporation’s internal clients, and he created a capacity management plan and a prototype cost recovery system.
Upon returning to campus to finish his last semester in the fall, he was thrilled to learn that he had been offered full-time employment at the bank starting in February.
Timilsina feels ready. “One thing I found about Caldwell’s computer science program is that it covers a variety of areas, so I had knowledge of many aspects,” and because of that he was easily trainable in other areas.
As he reflects on his academic career at Caldwell, Timilsina has advice for other international students—take advantage of the Tutoring Center for help with English and writing. For Nepalese students, who are well represented at the university, it is important to branch out and make as many friends as possible from the United States and other countries. “Get to know and interact with as many people as possible,” Timilsina recommends, and get involved with activities—because you never know if being a resident assistant will help you in an interview when you are trying to land a job at a multinational banking corporation.