Raju Luitel—From Intern to Comptroller

Raju Luitel—From Intern to Comptroller

October 11, 2021 • ISSUE 592

Raju Luitel

From Intern to Comptroller

Raju Luitel was studying to be a Chartered Certified Accountant in Katmandu, Nepal, when he heard about MIU through a friend. He wanted to study abroad, so he immediately visited the local Transcendental Meditation® center for more information. “They explained the block system, the paid internship, and everything matched; I applied that day,” he said.

Raju started the Accounting Professionals MBA in 2008. He felt immediately welcomed on campus and enjoyed the international family of students and faculty. “TM helped me focus on my studies and adapt to the new environment and culture,” he said.

After completing his on-campus studies, Raju moved to the Washington, D.C. area in search of a paid internship. In spite of being in the middle of the financial crisis, he found a job within two months at The Tower Companies, a family-owned sustainable commercial real estate development firm in Maryland.

Raju with classmates at MIU

Raju began at accounts payable and a couple of years later, using his IT experience, he helped the company transition to a new property management software. “That experience helped me grow my career because I got the opportunity to work with every department at the company,” he said.

Raju has been with The Tower Companies ever since and is now the comptroller, working directly with the ownership. He has received three employee awards, including the Albert Abramson Annual Award of Excellence, named for the founder of the company.

With Jeffrey Abramson, co-owner of The Tower Companies, MIU Trustee

Raju enjoys the healthy work environment in the LEED Platinum Certified office building which houses the company’s headquarters. He also appreciates that the practice of the TM program is one of the company’s benefits and values, with a meditation room on site.

Raju’s wife, whom he met at MIU, also works at The Tower Companies. He spends most of his free time with his family, including his three young children. He also enjoys stargazing, reading books, and watching movies.

With his wife, Nisha Dahal

Bill Thompson—A Career in Sustainable and Life-Supporting Business

Bill Thompson—A Career in Sustainable and Life-Supporting Business

October 4, 2021 • ISSUE 591

Bill Thompson

A Career in Sustainable and Life-Supporting Business

MIU alumnus Bill Thompson grew up in the small town of Moberly, Missouri. At age 16 he hitchhiked to San Francisco, where he learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “I knew from my very first meditation that I wanted to teach TM,” he said. “My experience was so deep and blissful, I wanted to share it with others.” Bill worked three jobs to save money for the course and became a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique at age 19.

During the next two decades, Bill taught the TM® technique, attended MIU, and worked in real estate development in Texas and Florida. He managed the development of Radiance Ideal Village in Austin, Texas, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Capital of the Age of Enlightenment in Florida. He co-founded Agriboard Industries, which manufactured sustainable building systems from compressed wheat straw.

With his team at Genetic ID in Fairfield

In 1999 Bill began working at Global ID Group, where he was promoted to CEO of Genetic ID within a few years. He set up a worldwide network of 22 laboratories for identifying genetically modified organisms, critical to creating the company’s global brand of non-GMO food testing and certification. Between 2009 and 2015 he revived the company’s European subsidiary, expanding the customer base in over 50 countries.

After 17 years at Global ID Group, Bill moved to Sky Factory and helped grow the company’s international sales network.

At the grand opening of Imprint, a Genetic ID partner in Vienna, Austria

“I have been blessed in my career that I have always worked with companies embracing life-supporting missions,” said Bill, “whether promoting safe and ethical food, expanding consciousness, creating sustainable building systems, or improving patients’ hospital experience.”

Throughout his career, Bill has done business in 45 countries and truly experienced that the world is his family. “I have met so many people from diverse cultures and was able to relate to them on a deep level, from the foundation of consciousness that binds all of us,” he said.

With wife, Christiane Thompson

Bill is now semi-retired, living in Fairfield. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially with his first grandson, and he is exploring new sustainable business opportunities.

With grandson, Liam

Jennifer Kachler—Writer, Producer, Director

Jennifer Kachler—Writer, Producer, Director

September 17, 2021 • ISSUE 590

Jennifer Kachler

Writer, Producer, Director

MIU alumna Jennifer Kachler earned her BFA in film from the School of Visual Arts New York City in 2009 and began working in various media roles, including producer and director.

In 2011 she read Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch and immediately learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Jennifer is a big fan of David Lynch, so when she heard about the David Lynch MFA in Film Program starting in 2014, she was thrilled to apply.

Jennifer enjoyed practicing the TM® technique in a group, making friends, and expanding her network. Meeting David Lynch and receiving his advice on her work were the highlights of her year. “It was such an unreal experience, one that I will never forget,” she said. “I am so grateful I had that experience.”

A still from ‘Kennedy Hill’, featuring Andi Gallagher and Michael Abbott Jr.

After graduating, Jennifer returned to New York City and continued to work in commercial film, working her way up to executive producer. She has directed and produced an impressive list of commercials, short films, and documentaries.

Writer/director Jennifer Kachler in costume for her cameo in the film à la Hitchcock, with director of photography John Houghton

Creating content for big name brands in a fast-paced, demanding environment can be stressful, but Jennifer’s TM practice helps her stay calm. “I meditate every day and it helps me tremendously,” she said. “I can’t imagine what life would be like without it.”

Jennifer has also been completing the postproduction of her MIU thesis film, Kennedy Hill, a short movie set in the late 1930s about a 17-year-old girl who finds out she is adopted. The film was inspired by the adoption story of Jennifer’s grandmother.

The crew of ‘Kennedy Hill’ using a film trailer to pull along a 1920s Ford Model A picture car

Jennifer appreciated MIU’s approach of incorporating the Transcendental Meditation program and other self-care practices in the creative process, and she would like to see that happen in the film industry worldwide. “My goal is to direct film and work in an environment that promotes positivity, empowerment, and inspiration,” said Jennifer.

Filming on location at the Kalona Historical Village, Iowa

Roman Magar—Professional Accountant, Auditor, and Financial Reporting Manager

Roman Magar—Professional Accountant, Auditor, and Financial Reporting Manager

September 13, 2021 • ISSUE 589

Roman Magar

Professional Accountant, Auditor, and Financial Reporting Manager

MIU alumnus Roman Magar studied business at Tribhuvan University of Nepal. Early on in his studies he set his sights on becoming a chartered accountant (the equivalent of a CPA in the US) and joining the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, a global organization of accountants.

To achieve his goal, he studied three years in the UK. He began his career as an auditor at a chartered accounting firm in Nepal in 2009 and in three years he worked with over 50 companies, gaining significant experience in auditing, accounting, and financial reporting.

He heard about MIU from a close friend and in 2012 joined the MBA in Accounting Program. He enjoyed learning new and interesting things in a stress-free environment and making friends from all over the world.

With MIU friends (from left to right Roman Magar, Amir Shrestha, Chhewang Lama, Nand Joshi, and Arun Thapa)

“It was the best period of my life,” he said. “There was no pressure and you didn’t have to worry about working to survive; all you had to do was focus on your studies. Practicing the TM technique before and after class also helped a lot with focusing my energy on my projects.”

Due to his extensive professional experience, Roman graduated within a year without having to complete a two-year internship. He immediately found a position with Fairfield’s Cambridge Investment Research, where he worked in corporate risk management and financial reporting for four years. During his time at Cambridge, he also obtained several securities licenses.

With colleagues at Cambridge Investment Research

In 2017 he decided to relocate to the East Coast and found a job at the Community Bank of the Chesapeake in Waldorf, Maryland. He has been promoted twice and now is assistant vice president and financial reporting manager of accounting.

Roman fondly remembers his time at MIU and Fairfield, and he appreciates the help international students received not only with their academic pursuits but also with the start of their US professional careers in the form of networking, job search, and resume writing skills.

With his wife Dr. Asha Rai and daughter Ariana Magar

Mathias Abdissa — Merging Traditional Finance with Cryptocurrency

Mathias Abdissa — Merging Traditional Finance with Cryptocurrency

September 8, 2021 • ISSUE 588

Mathias Abdissa

Merging Traditional Finance with Cryptocurrency

MIU alumnus Mathias Abdissa is the creator of a new online financial platform called Santym, which allows people in Africa to open an FDIC-insured US bank account and participate in the global economy they previously couldn’t access.

Mathias came to MIU in 2011 from Ethiopia to study in the MS in Computer Science Program. After graduating, he worked as a software engineer for various companies in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Over the years, he has helped his friends in Africa pay their bills online. Many of them don’t have access to traditional financial services, such as bank wires and debit cards, and can’t even purchase digital services like Netflix. Nine months ago he decided to solve the problem by creating a startup company.

Mathias has also incorporated cryptocurrencies in his services, which add more flexibility for users to withdraw money where there is no traditional currency exchange.

At his MIU graduation ceremony with commencement speaker Jim Carrey

When he first heard about cryptocurrencies, he was skeptical. But in 2016 he began studying them, along with blockchain technologies, and became a believer. He has also worked in the field of cryptocurrencies for the last four years.

Mathias considers cryptocurrency not only an investment vehicle, but a new system of finance that connects consumers directly with producers, artists, and service providers.

He has built a community of 700 Ethiopian crypto enthusiasts and has been a passionate advocate of blockchain technologies. “I like the transparency and the community aspect of cryptocurrencies,” he said. “I see a change from institution-based finance to community-based finance and it will open up opportunities for a lot of younger people.”

Mathias has been working on his project full-time and uses the Transcendental Meditation® technique to stay balanced. “Practicing TM helps me calm down,” he said. “When you work 80-100 hours a week, you need a break from the endlessly overactive mind.”

Mathias is now working on his marketing strategy and will be launching Santym within the next 30 days.