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Kelley Indianapolis grad who survived 2005 house fire completes Evening MBA program


May 7, 2012

Contact Information:

  • Rich Schneider
    IU Communications
  • Sally Winter
    Kelley School of Business Indinanapolis

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This year's commencement ceremony for the IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis will be a special Mother’s Day gift for one family. When Evening MBA student Manoj Rana graduates May 13, his family will have traveled from India to watch him reach his goal. It’ll be an emotional reunion for the Rana family.

An engineering student from India, Rana was studying at Purdue Calumet in 2005 when a neighbor set their apartment building on fire, killing three people. Rana narrowly escaped the blaze with 95 percent burns on his body. He remembers a paramedic saying he didn’t think Rana would make it.

“I’m lying on that gurney and I thought about my family and why I came here -- to get a good education," Rana said. "Now he’s saying I don’t have a chance. I passed out.”

Four months later, Rana woke up from a medically induced coma. He was transferred to Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis to rehabilitate. His mother and brother could each obtain only a six-month visa, so between surgeries Rana lived in a nursing home.

Despite years of operations, he decided to go back to school to obtain his MBA. During a six-hour pass from his nursing home, Rana took the GMAT and received an impressive score of 700. He chose the Evening MBA program at Kelley Indianapolis for its flexibility and proximity to his support system.

“I was still trying to figure out if I would be able to take the full course load,” he said. “At Kelley Indianapolis I could study part time and comfortably figure out my course load.”

Rana excelled at the Kelley School. He received the Academic Excellence Award, which is reserved for the student with the highest GPA in the Evening MBA graduating class. He has endured a lifetime of hardship while earning top academic honors at one of the country’s most rigorous MBA programs. The Kelley Evening MBA program is ranked ninth by U.S. News & World Report and fourth in academic quality by Bloomberg Businessweek.

“I don’t feel I’ve done anything special,” Rana says when asked about his incredible story. “I feel that all I’ve done is survive.”

(Note: Rana will graduate at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 13, at the Indiana Convention Center, Rooms 134-138. He will be available to speak with the media. Please direct media inquiries to Sally Winter, assistant director of communications for IU Kelley Indianapolis, at 317.274.6856 or 317.308.8235.)