Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Originally a foreign exchange student, Ulughbek “Paul” Sadiev ‘22, traveled to the United States from his home country of Tajikistan, in Central Asia, at the young age of 17. He lived with his host family in Berlin, WI, and attended Berlin High School for his senior year. This experience was life-changing and Paul found a second home – both in the United States and with his host family who opened their home for Paul to extend his stay.

The First Chapter: Life in his Home Country

Take your pick between Seinfeld and The Office, as a young adult, Paul enjoys both iconic television shows. But in his native land as a child, he grew up watching a small black and white TV. Through the antenna and with limited electricity, they could watch three channels and Paul’s favorite was the classic cartoon, “Tom & Jerry.” Born into poverty and within the walls of a divided country, diversity wasn’t a word on the wall; rather, it was a way of life. Living in poverty taught Paul the importance of sharing with, and caring for, his people. He spoke four languages by the time he was ten years old. Helping his parents with their watermelon farm, he learned two important things: what it means to work hard and the certainty that he dreamed of a much different future.

One pivotal day, at just ten years old, Paul’s father spoke to him about his future. Challenging his son at such a young age, Paul’s father talked to him about the “big world” that he needed to explore. With hope for the future and the deep love of his parents, Paul was encouraged to journey into this big world – even though it meant a significant sacrifice.

The Second Chapter: Life in America

Paul’s parents registered him to participate in a foreign exchange program. More than 33,000 applications were submitted and only 33 students were selected to participate. Grateful for this opportunity, Paul’s first experience in the United States was as a bright-eyed 17-year-old high school student. He believes he was blessed – not only to have been one of 0.001% of students accepted into the program but to have found a second home with his host family.

He loved and embraced everything about discovering his new world – the culture, the people, the food, the places, etc. Despite missing his family, Paul thrived in every way and continued to push forward. And he knew this beloved nation – America – offered him the opportunities he dreamed of for his life. Upon his graduation from Berlin High School, Paul’s host family graciously opened their doors to extend his stay. With plans to build a career in the business world, Paul enrolled at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) to study accounting and sales. Over the next couple of years, he earned an Associate’s Degree.

The Third Chapter: Life at Marian University

Continuing his education, at that time, was not in his immediate line of sight. And that was primarily due to the financial burden. All that changed when Paul met Jody Hartzell, Marian’s Director of Transfer Enrollment. This connection opened up a new door, introduced possibilities, and would eventually lead Paul to transfer to Marian to complete his bachelor’s degree.

Debating between two private schools, Paul chose Marian for two primary reasons: the generous credit transfer policy and the availability of scholarships and financial support. Being a “numbers guy,” Paul was truly shocked when the math showed that his out-of-pocket tuition cost at Marian was the same as he paid at FVTC.

Paul was able to schedule his classes around his job at Accurate Controls in Ripon and commuted back and forth. Graduating alongside the class of 2022 and with academic honors, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Paul double majored in finance and accounting and is grateful for the freedom to study business – something that wouldn’t be possible in his home country due to the heavy emphasis on farming and agricultural studies.

A couple of weeks before the commencement ceremony, members of the Marian community gathered in the Cardinal Meyer Library to commission the Tajikistan flag, celebrate Paul’s journey, and express gratitude for the opportunity to teach and learn from the global community. Articulating his gratitude for Marian, Paul shared, “Marian made my dreams – possible. Even though I like to think anything is possible – I struggled in believing this would work out. Now, I’m about to graduate with a double major and this miracle has taught me to never give up on my dreams.”

The Next Chapter: Life after Graduation

Driven for success and passionate about his future in the business world, Paul continues to dream big while setting achievable goals in his climb. He sees the opportunities from a different lens, one that understands freedom from a much different perspective. He has taken the blessing of being in the 0.001% and lives with intentionality. With plans to begin graduate school in the fall of 2023, Paul’s next academic goal is to obtain a Master’s Degree in Business Analytics. Though his love for learning may have started with numbers, Paul envisions being part of an innovative business that is radically changing the world and he aspires to have an active leadership role in pioneering the change. He lives by the mantra, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” which many first heard from Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. Always ready to venture outside his comfort zone; Paul finds motivation in learning and continuing to move his life forward in big ways.

Listen as Paul talks with Dr. George Koonce about his experience at Marian. Taught by faculty with decades of real-world industry experience, the business programs at Marian University give students the knowledge they need to be top candidates for their dream positions. To learn more about Marian’s Business programs and put your passion into action, please visit our website.