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Outstanding business students influenced by international backgrounds

When Jay Muzumdar decided to attend the University of Houston-Victoria to earn a master’s degree in 2012, he was a bit apprehensive.

Jay Muzumdar

“Going back to college after 20-plus years was a bit daunting,” the Katy resident said. “Juggling my career and family along with acing my MBA seemed like an uphill task. But I found out that I could handle the pressure, and I continued to challenge myself more and more.”

Muzumdar, who will receive his Strategic Master of Business Administration in finance, is the fall outstanding graduate student for the UHV School of Business Administration. Botond Pulkus of Victoria is the outstanding undergraduate student.

Each semester, professors from the three UHV schools select outstanding graduates to be honored during commencement. UHV will hold its fall graduation ceremony at 11 a.m. Dec. 12 in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 Stadium Lane in Katy. A live streaming broadcast of the ceremony can be seen at www.uhv.edu/graduation.

Farhang Niroomand

“Jay and Botond are two examples of the excellent students who attend the UHV School of Business Administration,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. “Their diligence and commitment to earning a first-class education is impressive, and their international connections illustrate the global reach of businesses and business education.”

Muzumdar and Pulkus both have international backgrounds. Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Muzumdar migrated to the U.S. in 1994. He lived and worked in various cities, including Portland, Denver, Detroit and Sacramento before he finally settled down in Houston in 1999. Pulkus was born in Romania and immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 6 years old. He and his family now live in Victoria.

“I always knew that I was expected to go to college,” said Pulkus, who will receive his Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and marketing next week. “My parents moved to America to give me a better chance to get an education and do well in life.”

Botond Pulkus

Before he started attending UHV in 2012, Pulkus worked part time and took classes at Victoria College for two years. At first, he wanted to earn a BBA in finance, but he became interested in marketing. He decided to switch majors but then chose to double major in finance and marketing once he found out he only needed two additional courses to complete his finance degree.

“I learned a lot during my time at UHV,” Pulkus said. “I wanted to attend the university because it’s close to home, has online courses available and is affordable. As I took more classes and got closer to earning my degree, I had the opportunity to network with others in the business world and became more confident in my own abilities.”

Muzumdar already has a master’s in engineering and computer science. His passion for numbers tweaked his interest toward finance and marketing. Obtaining an MBA in finance or marketing seemed like the next logical step for him.

“I have had a successful career in upper management and was looking for additional challenges,” Muzumdar said. “I firmly believe change is the only constant, and an MBA in finance or marketing would open up more avenues for me and my future career. My association with UHV will continue as compliance director as part of the MBA Student & Alumni Association.”

He chose to attend UHV because of the close proximity to his home and workplace. During his time attending the university, he only took one online class.

“I am a people person and enjoy working and interacting directly with others,” Muzumdar said. “It has been a wonderful experience working closely with my fellow students as well as interacting with the faculty members on various occasions.”

Both Muzumdar and Pulkus said their families were supportive of their education goals. Muzumdar said his wife and two children were understanding of the time he committed to earning his degree. He could not have earned the MBA without his family’s support, he said.

For Pulkus, earning a degree is a fulfillment of his parents’ dreams.

“My parents were very proud when I told them I wanted to go to school,” he said. “My mom even started to cry. This is something they always wanted for me.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching center in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities, and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.