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To climb the ladder, sometimes you zigzag the globe first

Management doors once closed are now open after business student earns his degree from India

By Tyler Hansen

Patric Papabathini had made it. He was in his early 20s and passionate about technology, about innovation that can change the world. He wanted to be a part of the excitement and, more importantly, his skill set made himself valuable.

In 2012 – just a few years after moving from India to America with his family – he found himself at the center of it all, working for Microsoft as a database administrator in Seattle. Like anyone who ascends the first rung on the corporate ladder, Papabathini wanted to go in only one direction: up.

But that imaginary ladder quickly runs out of rungs for many people like Papabathini who haven’t graduated from college. His lack of a degree prevented him from applying for management jobs he wanted, jobs he was confident – after four years at Microsoft – he could thrive in if only given the chance.

Oregon State Ecampus graduate Patric Papabathini walks forward with a smile on his face and a laptop carried under his left arm. He is wearing a half-sleeve, light blue button-up shirt under a dark blue Nehru collar vest with a handkerchief in the breast pocket.

Patric Papabathini learned online more than 7,000 miles away from OSU in his native India, and he says Ecampus faculty “made that extra effort to actually give real-world experiences.”

The message, however, was loud and clear.

“Without a degree, I had no chance,” he says.

In order to move up, Papabathini moved home to his native India in 2016. He left his job and relocated to Delhi with his wife to live with her family and shift his focus to earning his bachelor’s degree.

As fate would have it, he moved 7,000 miles from the Pacific Northwest to enroll online with Oregon State University Ecampus. His thorough research of prospective universities led him to choose Oregon State for two reasons: affordability and the chance to receive an authentic student experience despite being half a world away.

“I chose Oregon State University because Oregon State treats everyone the same,” Papabathini says. “Online students are not treated differently than on-campus students.”

His experience as a business administration student hammered that point home. In addition to completing an internship, he learned under faculty in the College of Business who created an engaging environment through interactive lessons that help students develop profession-ready skills.

“The business program was great. Studying from India was a little challenging but also really fun, mainly because the faculty did a great job of making themselves accessible,” Papabathini says. “My professors made that extra effort to actually give real-world experiences. I was able to approach learning not just to pass a class but to enlighten myself and learn something I could practice in life.”

Two years after leaving the United States, he made the long journey back in June to walk in Oregon State’s commencement ceremony. It was his first visit to Corvallis, and he had the opportunity to meet his academic advisor.

“I don’t have to worry about my résumé anymore because now I can say that’s done, I have my degree. I can confidently move forward in the direction that I’ve always wanted to go.”

He also attended a reception for the OSU Ecampus students on the morning of graduation and made a special trip inside the Memorial Union for a taste of his favorite American fast food — Panda Express.

Papabathini plans to make a longer-lasting return to the U.S. soon to resume his career in the tech world. Armed with an Oregon State business education, he has his sights set on management.

“I’m definitely more equipped now. I don’t have to worry about my résumé anymore because now I can say that’s done, I have my degree,” he says. “I can confidently move in the direction that I’ve always wanted to go.”


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