Woodbury MBA Student Inspired to Launch Non-Profits to Better Societies Across the Globe

Photo by Rogelio Joseph Caedo

Gurpreet Virdi, a second-year Master of Business Administration (MBA) student, has major aspirations and plans to give back to society. Using her love of science, teaching and business acumen, Gurpreet envisions launching two non-profit organizations; one to assist graduate students with higher education financial aid support, and the other to improve sanitation efforts in her parent’s native country, India, and other developing countries around the world. Gurpreet, who plans to earn her MBA degree in May, 2021, shares her passionate story in the following interview.


Tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley to immigrant parents from India. As the oldest of three children and a first-generation college student, I naturally felt the need to take the lead and share as much information with my siblings as possible. My desire for knowledge and discovery drew me to the field of science at an early age. Fascinated by the “how and why” of everything around us and inspired by what science has done and could do for the world, I excelled in all of my science courses throughout school and won first place at all the science fairs that I participated in. Eventually, this led to my decision to major in microbiology and minor in chemistry at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).


I understand you have a degree in microbiology. Do you plan to pursue a career in this field?

Yes, I earned my Bachelor of Science in microbiology with a minor in chemistry at CSUN in 2015. I initially planned to attend medical school, but my course changed after being presented with an opportunity to work as a substitute teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Soon after I started, I discovered a tremendous joy in teaching, sharing my knowledge with the students, and being a positive influence in their lives. Better yet, I found I was able to use my science background to create and oversee projects in the classroom at different schools. As someone who is future-focused, I continue to teach students the significance of striving for more despite any setbacks that they may have. Through knowledge and understanding, I impart wisdom and life lessons to my students that will hopefully support their educational journey.


What brought you to Woodbury and its MBA program?

I believed that having business knowledge was essential to my career path. This was influenced by my father, who owned a franchise courier/delivery service. He has dynamic leadership and management skills, which through the years has earned him respect from his employees and customers. Because of this, after graduating from CSUN, I started exploring the idea of earning an MBA to further my career options and goals.

I first learned about Woodbury through an instructor at Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC), Professor Jack Condon, who also teaches at Woodbury. I signed up for his entrepreneurship retreat program at LAVC. Prior to the first day of that program, he invited me to attend Woodbury’s MBA Experience event. It was the first time I had visited the university, and the moment I stepped onto the campus, I was intrigued. I learned that the MBA program held the highly respected AACSB accreditation (held by only 5% of business schools worldwide) and had so much more to offer. Professor Condon shared his experiences and accomplishments as an MBA student. I also appreciated the remarks and comments from other panel members, as well as the instructors of the MBA program. Each one spoke personally and highly of their time earning their MBA, and shared how it helped them achieve their professional goals. I was impressed that Woodbury’s environment is centered around career and personal growth. After the MBA Experience event, I was inspired, motivated, and determined to pursue my MBA at Woodbury. It was something I wanted to do and was determined to accomplish.


What stands out about Woodbury’s MBA program?

Woodbury’s small student to teacher ratio provides an intimate and focused class structure. This environment supports my personal growth, allowing me to have a voice and an opportunity to express myself. I have built strong mentorships with the faculty members of the School of Business, who are experts in their respective fields. They are always willing to assist students in their career and personal goals. The MBA program also allows students to engage in hands-on experiences by applying skills and knowledge through outreach and volunteer programs. This gives students the opportunity to consult with companies that provide insight into best business practices.


What experiences at Woodbury have been most meaningful/relevant to you thus far?

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to build a community with professors and like-minded students inside and outside the classroom, as well as attend social events that the university hosts. It is important to surround yourself with people who support and encourage your growth, and Woodbury fosters such an environment. At the social events, I’ve been able to network with individuals from different backgrounds to further expand my understanding toward different ways of thinking. The outstanding community at Woodbury inspires, positively influences, and promotes proactive choices. Woodbury is exceptional at cultivating lifelong relationships with professors, students, and alumni who share similar values and are future-focused.


Who, if anyone, at Woodbury stands out as a mentor?

Woodbury nurtures a remarkably robust mentorship atmosphere. The instructors are dynamic with ample experience and knowledge within their respective fields. Each brings a distinct perspective to the students’ learning experience. They are always willing to assist their students far beyond the MBA program. The instructors I have had the pleasure to take or meet have spiritually empowered and inspired me to pursue more in my life and to explore different options within various career fields. Their classes encouraged me to reflect on my professional and personal life, to consider my choices, and to enhance my skills. Their upbeat energy and enthusiasm strengthened the learning process, creating a positive learning environment. I am grateful to call the following professors my mentors: Dr. Joan Marques, Dr. Satinder Dhiman, Dr. Theresa Billiot, Dr. Nathan Garrett, Dr. Sheila Moore, Professor Jeffery Neumeister, Dr. Yasuo Nishiyama, Dr. Paul Sabolic, and of course, Professor Jack Condon, who guided me into this program and continues to do so. I have acquired immense knowledge, experience, and life lessons from each of them, which is invaluable.


What are your career goals/aspirations?

Because I frequently travel to India with my family, I have witnessed the struggles of the underserved and underprivileged communities in this country. This experience has stemmed from my lifelong goal of establishing two non-profit organizations to better societies. I plan to combine my passion for higher education and business to develop a non-profit financial assistance charity for graduate students. The objective is to alleviate the monetary hardships for graduate students so that they can focus on their education. Succeeding this, I want to combine my passion for science and business to create a non-profit that focuses on healthy sanitation systems in third world countries. There is a perpetual problem with insufficient sanitation systems in the world, which leads to widespread diseases. As someone who has spent several years researching microorganisms, the prevalence of diseases is universal and significant. These non-profit organizations will educate future generations on the value of healthy living and sustainability.

I am also working towards earning my teaching credential and considering PhD programs to further my education after graduating from the MBA program.


What advice would you give to other students considering Woodbury’s Business School and/or MBA program?

I would advise future students to do their research on Woodbury University and the MBA program, as well as experience the campus life for themselves to make sure it is the right institution for you. Before applying to Woodbury’s MBA program, I did extensive research, visited the campus, attended social events to connect with the instructors, and took the opportunity to experience first-hand what the program had to offer by sitting in different lectures. All of my experiences affirmed that I made a smart choice!


Anything else you’d like to share?

While I’m not one to use clichés, I can honestly say that my time at Woodbury has been life-changing. If I had not met Professor Jack Condon at LAVC, I would not have learned what Woodbury’s School of Business had to offer and would not be here today. This academic journey has proven that one needs to take leaps-of-faith, be proactive and embrace opportunities, and should not delay or make excuses about their future. After all, less than two years ago, I was unfamiliar with Woodbury, but through dedication, effort and perseverance, I will soon be an MBA graduate. I can whole-heartedly say that my time at Woodbury University has without a doubt changed my life and has furthered my journey toward establishing my professional goals.


Last Updated on September 24, 2020.

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