Susham Bir Bhujel ’22, Kathmandu, Nepal
Please tell us about yourself.
I am a senior international student majoring in finance and currently serve as the chief of staff for Concordia’s Student Government Association (SGA). Apart from school, I have been working as an accounting associate at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.
Why did you choose Concordia?
After completing high school, I wanted to get a degree from a small liberal arts college where I could be recognized for the work I do. I had applied to colleges across the U.S.; however, the Offutt School of Business separated Concordia from other smaller liberal arts colleges. Not a lot of colleges the size of Concordia have schools dedicated to business and because I knew I wanted to get a business-related degree, Concordia was a no-brainer.
What activities are you involved in?
Throughout my time at Concordia, I’ve been heavily involved on campus. In my sophomore year, I was a resident assistant in Erikson Hall, fundraising co-coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, and public relations manager for the International Student Organization. In my junior year, I served as the cultural appreciation commissioner for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission, and in my senior year, I served as the chief of staff for SGA.
How did you decide on your major?
During my freshman year at Concordia, I was making the most of the liberal arts curriculum and exploring classes in a variety of areas. I found myself helping a lot of my friends make their personal finance decisions. Soon after, I knew I would love to help people make financial decisions as a career, which is why I decided to go for finance as my major.
How did you get involved with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission?
One of the main reasons for me to pursue an undergraduate degree in the U.S. is to share, learn, and indulge in new cultures, traditions, and ways of life. Being able to organize events that promote cultural diversity at Concordia made my involvement in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission a perfect match.
Why do you believe diversity is important at Concordia?
Being a believer in synergy, I think the wisest of decisions come from a thought-out process that has been discussed by a group of diverse individuals. As Concordia is about developing informed individuals to help solve the global affairs of the world, it is important that diversity is replicated just like how it is in the world outside the campus community. For individuals to be informed problem-solvers, they need the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others and this is only possible through continuous interaction between individuals of different backgrounds, cultures, races, religions, genders, and gender orientations.
What can you tell us about your small business, Butte Sansar?
Butte Sansar is a small handicraft business that sells exclusive products handmade with love in Nepal. Butte Sansar in Nepali means “World of Patterns.” From journals, bookmarks, pen holders, and artwork made with traditional Lokta paper to tea coasters, keychains, and room decorations, all Butte Sansar products reflect exclusive Nepali creativity and culture. Twenty percent of profits are donated to public schools in Nepal to make education accessible for more young minds who cannot afford schooling otherwise.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Having grown up in a family of business owners, I have wanted to start something of my own for the longest time. When I went back home to Nepal after two and a half years, I thought it would be a great idea to sell exclusive Nepali handicrafts in the U.S. market. The whole idea of being a business owner while being able to give back to society by donating a portion of all profits is what inspired me to start Butte Sansar.
How has your Concordia education aided you in running your own international small business?
Butte Sansar creates a fusion of two cultures where people in the U.S. can enjoy and appreciate handicrafts and creativity all the way from Nepal. This fusion is inspired by the Concordia community where individuals are passionate to learn about new cultures and creativity. Concordia creates this environment of passionate individuals through the idea of BREW (Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World).
What advice would you give to students who are considering starting their own business?
Be passionate and dedicated about what you are doing and do not hesitate to seek help.
Have you had a PEAK (Pivotal Experience in Applied Knowledge) opportunity and, if so, what did you learn?
I went on a Habitat for Humanity trip for my PEAK. I learned the basic process behind building a complete home. PEAK definitely is a unique opportunity to learn something meaningful that cannot be learned in a classroom setting.
Have you had a favorite class?
My favorite classes have been Digital Photography and Urban Communities.
What has been your favorite memory at Concordia?
My favorite memory so far at Concordia is my experience through Prelude. From barely being able to speak fluent English to now nearly getting done with our time at Concordia, that strong bond international students from my year built during Prelude has been a great support. Prelude will always hold a special memory.
What advice would you give to a student considering Concordia?
Make most of the opportunity that comes your way. Be it in academics, extracurricular activities, or leadership roles. Get involved and be open to learning new ideas, work styles, cultures, and ways of life.
What are your plans following graduation?
I’ll be working as a growth analyst at Dagger Machinery in Fargo.
Published May 2022