Eiman is a marketing and finance major from Iran who studied at the University of Milan. He has just been awarded the Mills B. Lane Bank of America scholarship, a prestigious scholarship sponsored by Robinson College of Business.
What made you decide to be a business major?
It was something I always wanted to do. I started thinking about this major when I was 16.
I came to Atlanta because my brother moved here about 11 years ago for school. He went to Georgia State. My family lives here, but I am originally from Iran. I transferred here in 2009 from the University of Milan.
How difficult was it to adjust to the school system in the United States?
Here, the system is easier. The school is much more motivating. I got into a better educational situation. But the society and culture are completely different.
Peoples’ attitudes are different, how they interact is different, and their values are different. When I first came here, I was numb to the changes. When you are older and more responsible you feel like you have to cope with everything. It’s more difficult. At 16 it was actually easier for me than it would have been if I had come here as an adult because it was easier to adapt.
Was the cultural transition a difficult one?
I studied English in school before I came, but I picked it up pretty easily because I had friends who spoke English.
I didn’t finish my undergrad in Italy because I realized it wasn’t something that was helping me with my goals. I could have gotten my degree, but it was just a piece of paper. I am very happy with my decision. I learned a lot more in my degree these 2 years than I would have in 4 years back in Italy. I think the U.S. has one of the best education systems because of its stability — its continuing study load with homework and projects. In Italy you just have finals in public schools.
But Italy has its positive sides, too. I learned a new culture and language that I feel very close to. They enjoy time with their friends and family. They have a sense of community. I didn’t have family or my parents, but my friends’ families were like my uncles or aunts. I’m not a religious person, but they would invite me to their religious holidays. I’ll never forget that. But if I had stayed there I would be done with school by now and I would be working for some company.
The U.S. is famous for being a country of opportunities. It’s harder and more difficult for young people. Resources are limited. Everyone has this idea…and I’ve seen the proof…that you have better opportunities to grow here than you do in Europe.
When did you decide what you wanted your career to be?
When I was 22 or 23, I met an engineer who managed to open one of the biggest producers of rewritable CDs. He did it by himself. I visited his factory in Iran, and heard his story and about where he started. He was person who started from a very simple place and picked the right time and had the knowledge.
There are economic motivations for myself, of course, in opening my own business. But I also like to help other people in any way I can. Sometimes it’s directly with money and sometimes it’s by making food and giving it to people. I’m 26 and I’m doing very little, so by the time I get older and get the knowledge and money I can help people on a larger scale.
If you have a successful company you can engage in philanthropy and also provide jobs to the people around you for a long time.
Right now my main major is marketing, so I’m combining it with finance to have the more complete knowledge necessary to run a business. I’m currently unemployed and I’m devoting my time to school. I’m trying to get by with scholarships and with my savings. This is going to be my last year.
How did you get started looking for scholarships?
The first thing that motivated me was the encouragement of Ms. Parker. She was encouraging and confident. She translated those feelings to me. I stopped by the office by accident. I didn’t really intend to do this, but she was really helpful and she even helped me find specific scholarships. She followed up through email, too. I couldn’t apply for a lot of the scholarships we found because of time limitations, but the ones I applied for were offered through the Robinson College of Business.
I came to the Scholarship Resource Center three times to revise my essay. I was pretty happy and confident that I could get it. I believe if you put effort and passion into anything, that you will achieve your goal.
What do you think set your essay apart from the others?
I was honest with every word I said. I think my essay showed commitment, effort, and determination to achieve higher goals. Never stopping the experience of life is important — there are always changes and you have to be ready and embrace them. Being able to adapt is the key. And always set your goals higher but not so high that you won’t achieve them.