“Transferring to USC Changed My Life”

My name is Eesen Sivapalan and I am a senior studying Business Administration and Accounting.

Eesen Sivapalan, transferring to USC Marshall School graduate, wearing graduation gown, standing in front of the USC Marashall School building.
Eesen Sivapalan (Photo courtesy USC Marshall School)

I transferred from the University of Alabama – Huntsville in fall 2014 and my journey at USC has been absolutely phenomenal. While I’m excited to graduate in less than 2 weeks, I’m incredibly proud of the person I’ve become thanks to the experiences I’ve had at USC and I’m grateful to all the mentors I’ve met along the way.

When I started school in 2014, I was shy, reserved, and definitely weird. The only thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m still weird. I transferred to USC because I wanted to be in an environment surrounded by some of the best students in the world and have access to the best resources and opportunities available.

I am a big believer in personal accountability and that if you want something, you must actively seek it. I found my place at USC by being a part of organizations that I am truly passionate about:

  • The Hindu Student Organization (HSO): HSO was how I recharged myself, spiritually, and I found a home away from home here.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): I did tax returns for lower-income individuals in LA – Very useful as a supplement to my accounting degree!
  • Society 53: I was a student ambassador for USC, networked with alumni, and learned from them as to how I can give back to the Trojan community.
  • USC Marshall Undergraduate Programs Office: This office will always hold a special place in my heart where I served as a lead student intern through the work-study program. I have worked here ever since my first day at USC, on August 25th, 2014, and I will be working here on my last day, May 8th, 2019. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to help students and I’ve learned how to effectively communicate information in this role.

Eesen Sivapalan, transferring to USC Marshall School graduate, photographed sitting at a table next to students, wearing a business suit.
Eesen Sivapalan (Photo courtesy of USC Marshall School)

I’ll also be graduating as an Interfaith Scholar, a Levan Scholar, and a Polymath Academy Fellow. By engaging in critical conversations, with people who come from different backgrounds, I have broadened my perspective on issues such as religion, spirituality, ethics, and interdisciplinary subjects.

I’ve always been fond of entrepreneurship and I’m proud to say that in January 2018, I co-founded Mi Terro, an eco-friendly fashion brand that seeks to reduce, reuse, and recycle fashion waste and make our Earth a cleaner and greener place to live. I met my co-founder, Rob Luo, in a GE I took at USC and I never thought that I would start an entrepreneurial venture with someone I met in a GE class, of all places. We would meet every week and after a lot of brainstorming, customer discovery, research, and work, we created the prototype for our first product, a duffle suitcase made from premium cork, imported from Portugal, and recyclable plastic and ocean plastic.

Eesen Sivapalan, transferring to USC Marshall School graduate, student, middle,  Rob Luo right, holding a enlarged check for their winning entry to the Wrigley Competition through the Dornsife school.
Eesen Sivapalan middle, Rob Luo right (Photo courtesy USC Marshall School)

We launched our Kickstarter in February 2019, and we surpassed our initial goal of $3,000 by crowdfunding about $14,000. We entered a few different entrepreneurship competitions at USC, made the finals for the Wrigley competition through the Dornsife school, ranked in the finals for the New Venture Seed competition, and were awarded $5,000. I’m glad that I was able to start my own venture before graduating from USC, and even more thankful that we were able to be recognized as a finalist in the prestigious New Venture Seed Competition. Feel free to check out our website at www.miterro.com!

I’m very blessed to say that I have signed an offer with a phenomenal company. In September, I’ll be starting work as an Implementation Consultant at Workday, a financial management and human capital SaaS company. After having interned at Workday twice, I’ve gotten a feel for the culture of the company, I know who I’ll be working with, and I have a lot of confidence in my career track.

Aside from the organizational commitments, I had at USC, my start-up, and my recruiting experience, the close friendships that I made here are what I will cherish the most. It’s hard to find people you can call your close friends and I’m glad to have made those friends, during my senior year at USC. Thank you for everything, USC, as I accomplished so much more than I could have ever imagined. Fight on!

Fight on!

 By Eesen Sivapalan

>Read the original story on USC Marshall School’s website.