Mihir Tak

Tell us what brought you to Indiana University.

My cousin came to IU for graduate school, so I knew about the university. Only one other student from my high school class was coming to the U.S. for university, and I was debating between IU and another Big 10 school, but ended up here. It’s been the best decision of my life.

How did you choose to major in Apparel Merchandising?

I initially came to IU because of the Kelley School of Business. My parents wanted me to do Accounting, and in India, parents have a lot of say in their children’s education. After taking some of the business courses, though, I just couldn’t see that as my future.

During my freshman year, another Indian student suggested that I take an Intro to Apparel Merchandising course, and I loved it. I then went to the professor and talked to her about switching majors, then talked to my advisor, and did it.

I went home the summer after my freshman year and interned with Adidas in their marketing department. I was already going to switch my major, but after that I decided that I didn’t mind making less money if I enjoyed what I was doing. My parents were really supportive of my decision.

The faculty in the department are amazing—they’re so personable and give lots of advice about what it’s like to work in the industry.

Mihir Tak

Are you glad you made the switch to Apparel Merchandising?

Overall, I’ve had an amazing experience within my major. I joined a student organization for Retail Studies (RSO), and I love it. They do lots of events and bring in speakers: someone from Louis Vuitton came recently, and someone from Kohl’s has come before, too. These events were actually what led to my most recent internship. I followed up with contacts after an RSO event, and then got an internship in New York City working for a company that ships to all sorts of nationwide stores. It was a dream come true.

On top of that, the faculty in the department are amazing—they’re so personable and give lots of advice about what it’s like to work in the industry. They’re very accessible and great resources, very supportive of their students, which is especially important for international students.

Although it’s a huge major, making those connections with faculty makes it feel close-knit. I’m from a small town where everybody knows everybody, and I lost that feeling of connection studying business. I got it back in my major. As I’m about to graduate, I can say that I’m super happy with my major.

How have the resources of the College’s Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design helped you?

The Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture, and Design is really focused on the practical aspects of the major and getting students into jobs. Our Retail Math class included a resume workshop, and the professor had students create their own company model. They encourage students to get real-life work experience, which is why I got an internship during my sophomore year as a store manager of a local clothing store.

More than that, they have holistic classes that really give you a glimpse of what your future job will look like. My favorite course has been Planning and Analysis, which had a very motivating professor who did things like bring speakers to class. The content of that class was really applicable, and explained the different career roles within the industry.

Overall, my experience within my major has helped me develop my personality. It gave me good direction, and I didn’t even know that I wanted to do this.

How has your experience here shaped you?

IU has given me so much, in thinking of my high school self and thinking of who I am now. I have a lot more clarity, and more confidence. I have friends from all over the world. My major doesn’t have many Indian students, so I get to meet all kinds of different people, which is why I wanted to come to the U.S. in the first place.

Why should an international student consider coming to IU?

Bloomington is a close-knit family experience because everyone here is so personable. I’ve never felt that I was out of place – people are really warm. That’s part of the Midwest culture. My mom was relieved that a lot of the values we hold in India are reflected and shared in Midwestern values.

The best part of IU is the campus – every season has something different and it’s all beautiful. And, too, there’s the diversity in food that Bloomington has. I could never get so many different types of food at home.

IU is great for the typical “college life” that I was looking for. And they are there for their students. The Office of International Services has really been there. The dean of my school wrote me a letter of support for my internship after just one email request. That’s amazing.

Is it possible to sum up your experience here in one sentence?

Being at IU made me who I am today. IU gave me the confidence to go to New York City by myself, live with a stranger, and succeed.

Learn more about the international student experience