For Immediate Release: May 15, 2012
Lives of Meaning and Purpose:
Providence College Senior Determined to Take Lessons, Leadership Home to Botswana
Providence, R.I. - Mo Maruping ’12 (Orapa, Botswana) started preparing for his future career soon after he arrived at Providence College.
He met with the Office of Career Services during his freshman year, identified mentors among the student body and the professional staff, and took on internships in addition to his work experience as a resident assistant.
After all that investment and many job interviews, one frustrating barrier to employment remained: his citizenship.
“If they say, ‘We’re looking for someone that’s more outgoing, or someone that’s more analytic, there’s something you can work on,” he said. “If they say, ‘we can’t hire you because you weren’t born in this country,’ … I can’t change where I was born.”
Maruping did not give up. The student, a business economics major and a finance minor, continued to pursue job leads at companies that had reputations of being reluctant to sponsor international workers.
Finally, he was successful. At the end of the fall semester, Maruping learned he had been accepted into Liberty Mutual’s Fellowship in Finance and Accounting Program. After graduation, he will spend two years on eight-month rotations through three different business units at the insurance company.
Ultimately, he hopes to return home and apply the knowledge and skills he is learning to the businesses and industries there.
“I wanted to have something of value to bring back to my country,” Maruping said. “I want to be some sort of asset. The best way to do that is to find out what’s working in other countries and then apply that back to your country.”
After graduating from Maru-A-Pula School in Botswana, he won a scholarship to attend the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa. It was his basketball coach at Hill who first suggested Maruping add Providence College to his list of institutions to research.
At the time, Maruping was looking for a small, liberal arts school with a strong religious presence, because he is Catholic. Community was also a critical part of his choice. “Obviously, I’m here in this country alone. That’s something that’s very important to me,” he said.
In his freshman year, he was eager to get started building his résumé. Maruping knew how to apply for internships, but his student visa made it a challenge. He could not accept paid internships, and for academic internships he would need money to pay for the credits.
But he met with Patti Goff, director of the Office of Career Services, who helped him navigate the bureaucracy and pointed him to staff in PC’s Center for International Studies who could help him.
“We know it isn’t easy to dedicate time and effort during your college years to career development when you’re already inundated with academic requirements and extra-curricular obligations and activities, but Mo is proof that it can be done, and that it does pay off,” Goff said.
“His proactive approach to networking and gaining professional experience through multiple channels while in college is what made him such an attractive candidate to employers. His refusal to let obstacles get in the way of his goals is what made him successful!” she said.
He held internships at the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Lincoln, R.I.-based Amica Mutual Life Insurance Company. Maruping also served as a resident assistant for two years.
In addition, he joined the African-American Society, Toastmasters, and Future Friars Executives, and was a student body representative to the College’s Board of Trustees. Through that role, he served on search committees for new staff. Maruping said this allowed him to understand the administrators’ perspective on campus issues.
Maruping also had identified people such as his parents, other students, and staff members who he looked to as role models. He describes them as “local heroes” — people whose work he witnessed, and which directly influenced his personal life. That list includes Goff and Dr. Steven Sears, associate vice president for student affairs.
Sears described Maruping as a “true leader” who has persevered through numerous obstacles as an international student and is constantly meeting with other students and mentoring them.
“Simply said, we empower and provide opportunities for pursuit of truth and transformation while our beloved students are with us. Mo Maruping has found this in himself and has encouraged his peers to do the same,” Sears said.
Maruping said he was motivated to continue to interview for jobs by a desire to prepare. “I have a philosophy: you never know when you’re going to need a special skill, so it’s best to practice it until you need it,” he said. He said he told himself, “I’m going to practice presenting myself in a certain manner, and then no matter what happens at least I’ll have that skill that I practiced.”
That’s the mindset he relied upon at Liberty Mutual.
“I tried to give them the best Mo I could give them,” he said. Maruping asked probing questions during an information session, and then he followed up with recruiters afterward. He explained that he was international, but he was still invited back for a second interview, where he had to complete a business case study.
Weeks passed and he started hearing from other applicants who had received word about their acceptance into the program. Finally, he said he was told Liberty Mutual wanted to hire him but needed to complete the necessary paperwork because of his citizenship.
“It was a huge relief,” he said. “Not only had I found a company that I liked, but it showed me that as long as you keep trying, as long as you keep doing your best at whatever it is, it’s always going to work out.”
Maruping credited the administrators such as Goff and Sears who had helped him to that moment. “Without them, I would not have had the staying power that I have,” he said.