Pammi Bhullar, MBA’13, Public & Nonprofit

in B&L, Graduate Student Profiles, PNP Graduate Profiles, Student Profiles
March 27th, 2012

The World is Her Stage

Pammi_BhullarParminderjit Bhullar (MBA PNP ’13), known as Pammi, is an actor, a world-traveler, and an education advocate, but she found the path to her future by chopping vegetables.

The acting, travelling, ledgers, and passion for education have all pointed her towards a career in education management. The vegetables brought her to the Public and Nonprofit (PNP) Management program at the School of Management.

Dedicated to facilitating innovative educational opportunities for others, Bhullar’s most memorable educational experiences have occurred on stage. In high school, she acted in a Humane Society play that showed elementary school students how to care for their pets.

“The auditorium was so small,” she says of the rural school she attended outside of Pittsburgh. “You really got a feel for how your presence was affecting the students. It was so personal.”

As a theater minor at the University of Pittsburgh, she participated in four plays, including one that immersed her in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training, which emphasizes strenuous, martial arts-like preparation for roles.

“It was difficult work,” she says. “I was sore every day.” But she also bonded with the other members of the cast in a way she hadn’t in other plays. She maintains those friendships to this day. “I learned how much camaraderie you can build through hard work and pursuing a common goal,” she says.

She found camaraderie again while researching graduate schools. Bhullar had been fast-tracked as an employee at an investment firm. However, she realized that although theoretically successful, her career was not fulfilling her dream to use her business skills to support innovative education.

During her graduate school search, she attended an SMG Public and Nonprofit Club community service event at a Boston-area organization that delivers meals to the homebound. Bhullar joined the club members in chopping vegetables for the day’s meal and touring the facility.

The people were warm and friendly, and Bhullar realized that at the School she would be surrounded by other students who share her values.

Among the shared values are an international perspective and a zeal for foreign travel. As an undergraduate, Bhullar studied for a semester in France, and before starting at SMG, she and her fiancé, Eric Tracey, taught English to Tibetan refugees in India for four months. On a volunteer basis, she was also able to help a few organizations in India clarify their financial statements.

“I realized, ‘this is where I can contribute,’” she says. “It helped form my path more clearly.”

Over winter break, that path led her to Honduras with the BU group Students Helping Honduras to build a school and work with a micro-finance program. Bhullar will participate in SMG’s European Field Seminar in her second year to learn more about European education.

After graduating, Bhullar plans to combine her globetrotting ways with her fervor for education. She intends to collect the best educational ideas from around the world, then put those ideas to work in a government or nonprofit organization that improves communities through education.”I see myself contributing to an international educational organization, and then bringing that knowledge back to the US.”

By Madeline Bodin