Mills B. Lane Scholar Eiman Rahimi believes in seizing opportunities

Reported by Anna Espada with additional writing by Heath Wood, (404) 413-3422, GSU Development Division

“Being able to adapt is key,” said Eiman Rahimi, a soon-to-be graduate in Marketing and Finance from the J. Mack Robinson School of Business at Georgia State University, when asked about what set his scholarship essay apart from others.

Rahimi (below), a recipient of the Mills B. Lane Bank of America Scholarship, is able to speak with considerable authority on the matter of adapting to new environments: born and raised in Iran, he moved to Atlanta during his teen years, went away to college at the University of Milan in Italy, and later transferred to Georgia State in order to finish his degree.

He always has been alive to the possibility of opportunities, keeping himself ready to adapt in order to seize them. “The U.S. is famous for being a country of opportunities,” he explained, and when his education in Italy was not going as well as he had hoped, he did not hesitate to come back to Atlanta, where he found what he described as “a better educational situation.”

Georgia State’s strategic goal of making itself as globally competitive is well on its way to fulfillment: when asked about the cultural transition between schools, Rahimi responded, “I didn’t finish my undergrad in Italy because I realized it was just a piece of paper. I am very happy with my decision. I learned a lot more in my degree these 2 years [at GSU]than I would have in 4 years back in Italy.”

When asked how he chose his career path, Rahimi told a story: “When I was 22 or 23, I met an engineer who managed to open one of the biggest producers of rewritable CDs. He did it by himself. I visited his factory in Iran and heard his story and about where he started. He was a person who started from a very simple place and picked the right time and had the knowledge.” This entrepreneur’s story mirrors those of so many graduates of Georgia State who have come from modest backgrounds but have nevertheless been able to recognize opportunity when it presents itself and adapt in order to capitalize on it.

Rahimi seized the opportunity to apply for the Mills B. Lane Scholarship when he wandered into the Scholarship Resource Center “by accident.” There, Marlena Parker, Coordinator of Scholarship Outreach, helped him identify and apply for scholarships. His success proves that simply recognizing an opportunity is merely the first step; the next part is hard work: “I came to the Scholarship Resource Center three times to revise my essay. I was pretty happy and confident that I could get it. I believe if you put effort and passion into anything, you will achieve your goal.”

His scholarship, which is awarded to high-achieving upperclassmen in the Robinson College who have demonstrated financial need, has been vital in the final days of working on his degree at Georgia State: “I’m currently unemployed, and I’m devoting my time to school. I’m trying to get by with scholarships and with my savings,” he said.

Just as the impulse felt by others before him to give back has made his degree possible for him, Rahimi hopes also to one day be successful enough to be able to give back: “There are economic motivations for myself, of course, in opening my own business. But I also like to help other people in any way I can. Sometimes it’s directly with money and sometimes it’s by making food and giving it to people. I’m 26 and I’m doing very little so by the time I get older and get the knowledge and money, I can help people on a larger scale.”

Further explaining the essay that helped him win his scholarship, he said, “Never stopping the experience of life is important — there are always changes, and you have to be ready and embrace them.”

This commitment to living life fully while also being alert to the emergence of opportunity — combined with dedication and hard work — has been Rahimi’s path to success: “I believe if you put effort and passion into anything, that you will achieve your goal.”

Oct. 1, 2012