The summer before he enrolled at the University of Arkansas, Rohit Mittal helped manage a Subway Restaurant franchised by his mother. Dealing with day-to-day operations gave him a new respect for the work done behind-the-scenes while teaching him another vital skill: survival.
“If you can’t do it, somebody else can and will,“ he says. “You have to constantly push yourself as hard as you can in order to not be surpassed.”
With some real-world experience under his belt, he decided to do the next natural thing: pursue a business degree with a combined major in accounting and finance at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He is also minoring in Spanish because he appreciates the Hispanic culture and wants to make himself more marketable, he says.
Now in his second year, he continues to push himself. He maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, and attributes his discipline to his parents, who have always encouraged him to excel. As for career choices, he says investment banking looks interesting, especially since he’s young and can afford to take risks, but he’s also open to consulting and auditing.
Rohit was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and spent later childhood in Little Rock. His older brother, a former auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been an inspiration to him. He says they talk almost daily about various business concepts, but whenever there is a conflict relating to the business world, he’s the first Rohit turns to.
As a college freshman, Rohit became active in SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), a global, nonprofit program that brings together a diverse network of university students, academic professionals and industry leaders with the shared mission of creating a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. Rohit says he enjoyed the bonding experience with his teammates as they went to a regional competition in Dallas, Texas, where they presented their yearly accomplishments to a panel of distinguished experts.
Last semester, he participated in Honors Freshman Business Connections. Through the program, Jason Adams, the assistant director of the college’s Honor Programs, was the primary leader of the class, while Rohit acted as a mentor to the combined 50 or so incoming honors business students in his two classes. He says that through the program he, too, found a mentor in Jason Adams. At the end of the school year, his FBC classes had a friendly football game against other classes in a similar program.
Rohit says he now serves as a Student Ambassador, a voluntary program with activities that include giving prospective students tours on campus in addition to being involved in the admissions process.
On campus, Rohit also tutors Financial Resources students through the business college – another rewarding experience, he adds. Off campus, he is active with the Northwest Arkansas Entrepreneurship Alliance, an organization that connects established businessmen and women to those who aspire to be young entrepreneurs.
Also rewarding: the caliber of teaching at the business college, including Dr. John Norwood, who taught his Financial Resources and Legal Environment of Business class, and Dr. Charles Leflar, who teaches Honors Business Strategies.
“The professors are top-notch,” he says.
Rohit says he looks forward to spending the Spring 2012 semester in Spain through the college’s Study Abroad program.
Meanwhile, this summer his education will also take place off campus in Lowell, Arkansas. There, he will intern at SC Johnson as part of the Wal-Mart sales team.
“I’m really looking forward to getting some corporate experience,” he says.