Suresh Sharma was a chartered accountant in India when he decided to pursue a graduate degree in the United States. At the time, he never anticipated that institutions of higher education would be the setting for his professional career.
“I wanted to acquire expertise in international finance and learned that the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign was the finest institution to give me that expertise,” says Sharma, who graduated with a MS in Finance in May 2001.
In September 2001 he became the financial operations manager at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. There he and his staff of seven handled the daily financial operations for the university of 2,400 students. He also assisted the vice president of business and finance with Board of Trustees committee meetings.
Sharma moved to Saint Louis University to be part of a team of University Audit Services that conducts the financial, operational, and compliance audits of the University. He also was a key member of that university’s ERP education software Banner implementation team, a experience that helped him land his current position at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is a business and financial systems specialist.
His new position, which he began in July 2005, is a combination of his two previous jobs. “At UIC I can fully apply my qualifications and the expertise I received in auditing, investments, and financial analysis with my MS in Finance degree,” says Sharma. He develops business and financial polices and procedures for the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) at the UIC campus and helps business staff members prepare financial reports. Also on his to-do list is working with fiscal administrator and the dean of the CUPPA in effective fiscal management.
Sharma attributes his success to the interdisciplinary courses he took during his master’s program. Financial management, project finance and managerial communication and faculty members Morgan Lynge, Louis Chan, David Lins and instructor Ruth Yontz gain particular kudos.
“These courses taught me to work as part of a team,” he said. “It was a great experience that has provided me with opportunities to grow professionally. I have excelled because of my education. I’m thankful to the University of Illinois.”