First impressions are everything. When Fariborz Ghorbani’s flight to the United States landed, he immediately recognized the opportunity that awaited him.
“Amazement,” said Ghorbani, MBA ’18. “That’s how I describe it when I first got here. Only in the U.S. can you see a variety of people like this—from different backgrounds, religions, countries—all living together. It’s the first thing I witnessed. It amazed me.”
A native of Iran, Ghorbani savored the newfound freedom afforded him in Philadelphia, his new city. The same was true for the amenities and opportunities available at La Salle University.
Ghorbani studied at La Salle’s School of Business, earning an MBA with a concentration in Business Systems and Analytics.
Next fall, the school will welcome the inaugural cohort for its Master of Science in Business Systems and Analytics program. While that specialized master’s program wasn’t available to Ghorbani at the time, he reaped the benefits of the department’s strong faculty and robust academic offerings. He enrolled in courses on data management and data warehousing. He relished the personalized experience and faculty mentorship he received.
“I think any international student who wants to gain experience here in the U.S., wants a degree from an (AACSB) accredited business school, wants support from their professors—they will find all of that at La Salle,” Ghorbani said.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a job growth rate of 35 percent for statisticians and 31 percent for data scientists between 2019-2029—making these two of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. over the next decade. Those are two fields into which graduates of La Salle’s M.S. in Business Systems and Analytics may land following completion of the program.
Ghorbani, who studied industrial engineering as an undergraduate, works for California Creative Solutions as a database developer. Based in Boston, he is currently assigned to a project with Keurig, on which he is responsible for reporting, creating tabular data models, and developing structured query language (SQL) queries.
“I finished in the top-20 percent of my MBA cohort. I was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. I’ve established connections and I am well positioned to continue my career in the U.S.,” Ghorbani said. “All of that is because of La Salle University.”
Like Ghorbani, Annie Leuthold, MBA ’18, found a home away from home at La Salle.
A native of Germany, she came to the U.S. to advance herself academically. She earned an undergraduate degree in business administration and entered the workforce in the insurance industry. She pondered next steps.
“I wanted my MBA and then I sought a fast-paced career with plenty of opportunity,” said Leuthold, who earned her La Salle MBA with a concentration in business systems and analytics and marketing.
What followed? Leuthold landed with SAP, a multinational company founded in Germany with its North American headquarters in the Philadelphia suburb of Newtown Square, Pa. She serves as a human resources project consultant—a role in which she leverages her bilingual skills, background in data collection, and ability to make informed data-driven decisions.
“The soft and hard skills I learned from La Salle’s Business Systems and Analytics classes and faculty have helped set me up for the professional success I’ve had,” Leuthold said.
She speaks regularly with La Salle’s international students, passing along her personal experiences with the small class sizes and personal faculty relationships from which she benefited. Specifically, she pointed to Madjid Tavana, Ph.D., professor and chair of business systems and analytics; Elizabeth Scofield, director of La Salle’s MBA program; and MarySheila McDonald, J.D., dean of the School of Business.
“I always shared my aspirations with my professors and they helped me get where I wanted to be,” Leuthold said. “They were willing to sit down with me and talk about my career path. And they were the ones I called when I got my visa. They’ve always been so supportive of me.”
Thao Ngo, ’20, expected La Salle would develop her academically. A dual major in business systems and analytics and finance, Ngo excelled in La Salle’s School of Business. The university, she admitted, also provided her a broader perspective and professional approach.
“La Salle shaped my strong work ethic and strengthened my confidence in myself and my abilities,” Ngo said. “The University’s Lasallian values helped me to become a more well-rounded individual.”
Ngo credited La Salle’s business systems and analytics program for enhancing her analytical and technical skills, positioning her for her current role as a financial analyst with JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“(The professors) were conscientious and go above and beyond for their students,” said Ngo, the Telford, Pa., native who is based in Plano, Texas. “They prepared me for my career.”
—Christopher A. Vito