From India to the top of her class

Nandini Agarwal received the Golden Bull Award, USF's highest honor for students as a result of her academic and personal success. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/ NANDINI AGARWAL 

Nandini Agarwal’s journey to the top of her class in the Muma School of Business wasn’t a usual one.

It began in India, where she lived until 2015. Then, her family moved to America so she could follow her dreams.

They settled in Tampa because there was another international school she could transfer to.

“There were moments when I knew something big was happening,” Agarwal said about her move to the states. “I just didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Now, a junior at USF, she sits atop of her class.

Before her ascent within Muma, Agarwal said beginning life in the U.S. was more difficult than she or anyone in her family anticipated.

Her school, an international school similar to one she went to in India, was far from her expectations.

So she transferred.

Next was the struggle of finding a house to buy, another roadblock in Agarwal’s path.

“We didn’t know that America runs on credit,” Agarwal said. “Even if you have a great credit score in other nations, it doesn’t count here.”

Struggling to establish themselves financially, Agarwal said she and her family were not sure where to turn.

“When we set out to rent a house, we were denied due to lack of credit history and were on the verge of homelessness,” Agarwal said. “We had a hard time buying a car, too. For six months, we didn’t know a single soul in town. Since we didn’t have a car we spent hours traveling in hot buses to buy groceries.”

Agarwal said things finally began to look up, however, when she began her academic journey at USF.

She came to USF to stay close her family and said she chose to major in accounting because it was the family business.

While studying at USF, Agarwal has earned awards such as the the Golden Bull Award, the school’s highest honor which is given to students that encompass USF’s spirit and values. She remains the first freshman to ever be awarded such an accomplishment.  

She is also receiving numerous other scholarships from USF, for her academics and past struggles.

This also led to Agarwal being asked to speak at the MUMA college of business scholarship luncheon in November.

This past summer, Agarwal said she traveled back to India to intern at a women’s rights organization, The Centre for Social Research, located in Delhi. The Centre for Social Research is focused on supporting women in social and research advocacy. They also focus on social and research advocacy. She said she got to work closely with the women and fully understand the battle toward equal rights for women, including tackling issues such as domestic violence and abuse.

In the spare time she has, Agarwal said she is currently writing a thesis on the impediments to Indian women. She wants to go in depth in her thesis about the preservation of women's financial literacy.

She cited her recent trip to India as an outlet that helped her collect information for her thesis. During her internship, she gathered statistics and interviews for her thesis.

Once Agarwal graduates, she said she wants to become a certified certified public accountant. and foreign services officer. She said she also has ambitions to work with the American Embassy to represent American values and beliefs to different parts of the world.