Sina Roudbari
International Master of Business Administration

Student Success Story

As an industrial engineer in Iran, Sina Roudbari always had an eye toward his next project. So it wasn’t surprising that as he mastered English at the English Language Institute, he was already working on something new at Sacramento State: his international master of business administration.

When he arrived in Northern California in 2014, Sina barely spoke English. Within a year he graduated from the English Language Institute (ELI) with greater language skills and a much more expansive view of the world.

He made new friends from South Korea, China, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the United States. And as a student in the International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) program, he encountered even more cultures from around the world. Sina says he was able to see beyond stereotypes and in fact, being in the U.S. changed the way he viewed people. “When you have a chance to sit in a class with five different nations, it’s a chance to figure out we’re all human.”

Sina grew up in Iran, earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, and spent 12 years managing one of his father’s factories outside Tehran. His father worked in Iran’s Ministry of Agriculture before starting his own company producing fertilizer, insecticides and pesticides. “Everything I knew was based on personal experience. Everything I knew was based on trial and error,” Sina says of his business background.

He managed production lines, raw materials and shipping, plus accounting and human resources. He still has a hand managing his father’s company, reviewing import procedures and financial transactions, and other tasks via email. “Experience is good, but it would be better if it included academic knowledge and research,” Sina says.

In addition to the family business and his studies at Sac State, Sina was able to squeeze in a second job. Up until his graduation, he worked as a student assistant at the College of Continuing Education (CCE), but even in an entry level position Sina found something valuable. “If people want to be successful in any field, they have nothing to lose if they start at zero,” he says. “I want to learn every layer of a company, from zero to the top.”

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen recently toured CCE, including a statistics class in the IMBA program. ”I felt very nervous,” Sina said, as Nelsen shook each student’s hand. Something this would rarely happen in Iran, he later commented.

“This is a president who comes and visits students and shakes hands. I’ve never seen it before.”

Sina recalled the time as an undergraduate in Iran, he tried to meet the university president about a problem on campus. He called the office repeatedly without success and so he decided to go in person, but security guards quickly turned him away.

When Nelsen listened in on the class and met with students that day, Sina saw a different type of leader in action and something truly fundamental. ”He just wants to show we’re all humans. We’re all equal.”

Sina finished his international master’s degree in business administration in September 2016. 

To learn more about the English Language Institute or the International Master of Business Administration, please visit their respective web pages.

Photos by Jessica Vernone, University Public Affairs (Feb. 5, 2016)