Dr. Suryakant T. Desai is a professor of accounting at Cedar Valley College. Dr. Desai earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Bombay, India and his master’s degrees in accounting and business administration from University of Texas-Arlington. Finally, he received his doctorate in education from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Why did you pursue your chosen degree?
“My bachelor’s degree was in science, as I wanted to be a physician. However, because I could not stand the sight of blood and perform dissections on frogs and rabbits in biology classes, I had to think of a non-science major. In India, the educational system was so inflexible that one could not switch out of the biology track into another major. I completed my degree with a major in chemistry. Accounting became my major because I realized that I had an aptitude for numbers. I also realized that studying about financial information would have a tremendous impact on my financial well-being.”
What would you tell others who are considering pursuing a higher degree?
“Go for it! Don’t let any obstacles, real or imaginary, stop you from getting a degree. Take that first step, and the path will open up for you. As you take courses, you will realize what comes to you naturally and what subjects interest you most. Do not be afraid to make changes to find your calling. When you are engaged in something you enjoy, you will look forward to it daily with anticipation.”
What was the biggest challenge you faced while pursuing your degree?
“Like present day students, lack of financial resources was a hurdle for me. To supplement my income, I worked part-time at nights as a night auditor at a motel. Because English is a second language for me, writing grammatically correct reports and making a public presentation were unique challenges. As a foreign student, learning to drive, buying my first car and learning to mechanically maintain it were daily challenges. Being very far away from home, I missed my family, my culture, ethnic celebrations and the spicy Indian cuisine.”
What was the biggest reward for earning your degrees?
“A college degree increases the odds of earning a higher income and improving one’s standard of living. The accounting degree in my case enabled me to become financially literate, which enabled me to become a better consumer and investor. However, besides financial rewards, my eyes were opened to unknown possibilities. I discovered new worlds and new ideas, which otherwise I would have been ignorant of. A degree improved my communication skills, making me a better individual that friends and family looked up to. With this highly esteemed status, I became a role model, positively influencing the lives of friends, family and students. Education has also broadened my mind to accept and respect the opinions of others, thereby making me balanced and fair-minded.”
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