Gargi Jagtap came to Bozeman from a city of five million people. Originally from Pune, India, she applied to five schools in the United States when it came time to go to college. Jagtap chose MSU for its financial support system, and started school in spring 2009.
Upon arrival, Jagtap was unsure what she wanted to study. She spent her first semester in a variety of classes, eventually deciding to double major in business management and marketing. Jagtap noted that the ability to change her major with ease felt like a privilege, as many of her fellow students back home do not have this opportunity.
After deciding upon her two majors, Jagtap completely dedicated herself to her studies. She averaged 21 credits per semester for three years before graduating early in the spring of 2012. Her motivation for graduating early was to enter the job market as soon as possible and begin paying off her student loans. Even with scholarships, Jagtap paid around $8,000 a semester for tuition — a cost that did not include room and board or other necessary expenses.
Along with an impressive credit load, Jagtap worked over 30 hours a week at places such as Harrison Dining Hall and the MSU Potato Lab. In fact, she worked so much she sometimes got in trouble from her supervisors for working more than her allotted hours. Due to the terms of her student visa, Jagtap was limited to working on campus — one of many restrictions placed upon international students.
Jagtap worked through the summers as well, only returning to India one month per year to visit her parents. She admits that it was hard to spend so little time with her family, but the cost of her education necessitated a consistent income.
According to the terms of her student visa, Jagtap was required to find a full-time job within three months of graduation. If she could not, she faced the choice of either returning home or entering graduate school, which would only contribute to her debt. Fortunately, she found a job at Comfort Company, which specializes in the design and manufacturing of seating and positioning equipment for both rehab and geriatric patients. Jagtap got a position in the company’s marketing department, which is based in Bozeman, within three weeks of graduation.
As Jagtap reflects upon her time in school, she emphasizes how important being future-oriented and making use of the available services on campus was to her success. She notes that the Bracken Business Communications Clinic and Assistant Director Linda Ward were especially helpful in preparing her for job interviews and building her resume.
Jagtap has now worked at Comfort Company for a full year, and recently applied for her H-1B work visa. This visa requires that the company must sponsor her, at a large cost to themselves. If she receives the visa, she will be licensed to work for the company for three years. Jagtap will be notified in August whether or not she is granted permission to stay and work.
If she doesn’t receive the visa, Jagtap plans to return to India.