By Kelly Swanson
In another fantastic student profile I present to all Bhaskar Sharma. Bhaskar is an ODXVI Thunderbird and another great friend to us all. Bhaskar is notably was the first Nepalese student in Thunderbird’s history. While he not studying Global Econ and Marketing he works for Genworth Financial. He holds a QKA and QPA certifications from The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries.
I recently spoke to Bhaskar via email and was able to ask him some questions.
(Kelly) Hi Bhaskar, in addition to those questions in my survey tell our Thunderbirds a little bit about your history if you can, and what its like being from Nepal?
(Bhaskar) Nepal really is a very unique place. We have such a diversity of ethnic groups who have lived peacefully together, until more recently. Most of the Nepalese are Hindus, who consider themselves Buddhist at the same time, since Buddha was born in Nepal. We are a very laid back bunch of people who enjoy the festivities during the year. Family and community is the at the center of the society. All the different ethnic groups co-exists, there is a clear division in the social life and life styles. Some of the tallest mountains on the North are part of our identity and pride.
My father was a civil engineer, who got his graduate degree from the Clarkson University under the Fulbright program. He retired as the Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation of the government of Nepal. My mother was a housewife and enjoyed spending time with her three boys. I got to travel all around Nepal with my father and his team of engineers as they tried to connect remote places with paved roads. This was exciting because, I had the opportunity to see places that were untouched by any modern amenities. It was as if the time had turned back a 100 years with amazing places and amazing people.
Until my high school, I attended just one school and grew up with the same 256 kids that were in my cohort. As an adolescent I developed a deep love for the sport of cricket and went on to represent Nepal U-19 team in a tour to India. After completing my first year at the University of Colorado in Kathmandu, I transferred to Saint Cloud, MN to finish my undergraduate degree, where I met my lovely wife. Upon completion we decided to move the AZ in 2007.
(Kelly) What advice would you have for a Thunderbird wanting to do business in Nepal?
Relationships are essential in developing a strong business partnership. You have to be patient. Be mindful of the deep cultural roots and be familiar with the business partners’ ethnic background. Be cautious about sharing any ideas to anyone. Contract enforcement can be a very lengthy process. Must have someone on the team that has political connections. Nepal has huge potential with over 2 billion consumers on either side of the borders.
Tell us about yourself. (job, family, goals)
I was born and raised in Nepal to a loving family with my two brothers. I have travelled to almost all 75 districts of Nepal as a kid. Love the mountains, big hills and winding roads. My wife (Alicia) and I have a 9-year-old son Rohit, who keeps the house alive. My wife is a social worker who works for the state of Arizona. I work for a wealth management company, which offers an open platform for financial advisors to access some of the best money managers in the country. I am responsible to manage the service side of the relationship for 75 advisory firms in my region which covers Northeast and Midwest of the United States
Tell us something we don’t already know about you. (secret stuff, not too secret)
Reading Sherlock Holmes short stories- Love his deductions
What do you hope to gain from Thunderbird besides the best global business education? (New careers, enlightenment, raise, other…) Please describe.
I am super excited about international trade and political economics. I was especially drawn to some of the faculty’s incredible experience. It was clear, after speaking to many Tbirds during the application process, I wanted to be part of this amazing global community. I plan to use the skills from my MBA to find an opportunity in international trade related field.
How do you manage the day-to-day routine that is the Thunderbird class?
Being productive not just being busy has a whole new meaning. Making the best use of time has been essential in getting things completed. My wife and I plan every little detail from the weekly meals to soccer practice to homework management. Listening to Tegrities during my daily commutes, while doing dishes or playing cricket; it all helps.
What hasn’t happened for you yet?
Contribute to global development and poverty eradication projects
Has Thunderbird changed your life?
Thunderbird has given me the opportunity to connect with some amazing people, changed my worldview and broadened my perspective, and different framework of thinking.
Who is your inspiration?
What support do you have from your family?
I don’t think I would have survived this long in the program without the family’s support. My wife has been an essential part of my support system.
Friends and relatives have been understanding of the challenges.
If we were in an airport traveling, how can we spot you in the airport, where would we find you?
Your best bet would be to walk around because I don’t like to be in one spot at the airport.
IPhone or Android?
iPhone- Truly innovative
What’s the first song on your playlist right now?
Young, wild & free – Snoop Dogg (Lion) & Wiz Khalifa
Moneyball – More recent favorite- always loved the underdogs
Best thing about you?
I am always open to new experiences.
Worst thing about you?
My drive for excellence.
Did you buy Facebook stock?
IPO was overpriced.
Pick one category (Entrepreneur, Worker bee, Adventurer)? Why?
I am an adventurer at heart. I get super energized by new experiences. Now, I just need to figure out a way to make of living out of it. And that’s another reason to be at Thunderbird.
Is your glass: half-full or half empty?
Half- full because I am blessed.
I know I speak for the entire student body when I say, thanks for your insight Bhaskar. We certainly enjoyed getting to know you, your culture, and your family. Thanks for sharing this with us at Das Tor and Thunderbird. Many culture’s make up the Thunderbird student body. Take time to learn about your friends and their families. These are going to be incredible assets when you venture out into the world. Take care as always and remember, “The bird is the word!”