The University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) Alum Bhargav Vivekanandan saw the COVID pandemic as a “blessing in disguise.” The lockdown and move to remote work allowed him and his family to arrange their schedules so he could achieve a lifetime goal: getting his master’s degree.
Bhargav started his UAGC journey with two young children who are now four and six-and-a-half years old. Though COVID put a lot of the world on pause, it became the new normal for his family. He knows he wouldn’t have been able to complete his master’s degree in information systems management in the fall of 2021 without the love and support of his family.
“It was a challenge,” he recalls. “But the COVID situation, in a way, helped me,” Bhargav explains. "We could work from home, and then the evenings were spent with family and working on my master's. We knew it was going to be hectic. We had two young children, and I was trying to juggle all of life’s duties.”
Bhargav’s career path is evidence that he made the right decision.
An Opportunity in Plain Sight
Today, Bhargav is has a principal role in information security and risk management at Blue Shield of California, a position he says is a direct result of him obtaining his master’s degree from UAGC. He chose the graduate program because he saw it as the perfect blend of technology, business, leadership, and process management.
It also provided him with the opportunity to overcome difficulties in his career. Before his current company and opportunity, Bhargav experienced hardships and lack of opportunities in his career for a prolonged period due to “politics and deliberate retaliation,” even when he knew he was destined to do more in his field.
“I was swimming against the currents and knew that one day my skills, qualifications, talent, and knowledge would shine through such oppression as well as denial of opportunities,” he said.
Despite the challenges, Bhargav was able to obtain his Bachelor of Science from the University of Madras, and in 2015 he accepted a job at Blue Shield of California.
UAGC has been a life-changing experience that helped me gain valuable knowledge and insights and prepared me for a senior technology leadership role.
That would be the first step in his journey to enhance his career. Bhargav’s employer presented him with the opportunity to attend UAGC on a tuition grant as a result of a partnership the company has with the University.
As a success-driven individual, Bhargav always saw the rewards of investing in a formal education and believed returning to college was an opportunity he could not pass up.
Bhargav knew what he wanted and where he wanted to land in his field. He decided it was time to put in the effort to succeed.
“This program helped me prove my intellect, knowledge of all aspects of IT, people, process, and technology and break the barriers that miscategorized, oppressed and denied me of the job responsibilities that I deserve. I was elated to have realized this in 2021 as a second inning in life that saw me realize all my ambitions and overcoming odds.”
Overcoming and Achieving
Bhargav and his family shifted to him working and studying without hesitation. In fact, it was as if it was what was meant to happen all along. He found his groove and started to see the fruits of his labor. However, without his wife’s support, he would not have achieved his academic goals with such grace.
Although he was thriving in the program, balancing work, school, and family was not easy. He credits his wife for helping take on the bulk of the responsibilities at home so he could focus on achieving his goals.
The sacrifice was worth it.
Bhargav was a high-performing graduate student based on his GPA. He kept a 3.7 or higher GPA in his program. In 2020, he was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society chapter at UAGC.
“It was extremely exhausting to go through the program working full time, but I cherished every moment of it upon graduation after realizing the fruits of my labor,” he says. “The induction was really the icing on the cake because I really wanted to get it done in this kind of manner,” he proudly said. "It supported or endorsed my efforts; it definitely gave me that boost in confidence and belief in myself.”
His master’s degree gave him even more credibility in his field. Bhargav did a “marathon of education.” Not only did he complete two years at UAGC, but he also completed multiple certifications in three months for his career. He says that both accomplishments contributed to getting a better role at work.
“After the master's program, I was able to land a better and higher position,” he says. "It is my dream to get into a leadership role in security and cybersecurity, and I'm on the path to that. I was able to land the principal role in cybersecurity just three months after my graduation.”
Bhargav describes himself as an “intellectually curious person,” and that cannot be disputed. Even with his recent tremendous achievements, he continues to look to the future to learn more and show more of his ability in his field.
He never gave up and knew his worth. And he saw that UAGC knew it as well.
“UAGC has been a life-changing experience that helped me gain valuable knowledge and insights and prepared me for a senior technology leadership role,” he notes. “I was always interested in being well-rounded in technology, as well as leadership and business, and I've tried to strike a balance, and my master’s really gave me more credibility,” he explained. “I wanted to get all my educational goals achieved, and I did it, which is just great."