Kabir Mann’s interests don’t fit neatly into a preconceived box. He has always been driven by the values instilled by his parents to succeed academically, but his college studies have spanned the spectrum from biomedical sciences to hospitality management. The opportunity to customize an eclectic path to academic excellence at the University of South Carolina has been the key to success for a student described by his professors as “brilliant.”
Mann, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, came to South Carolina for college after being impressed by the wide variety of choices available to students, the high academic rankings of many programs, and the beautiful Columbia campus. He will graduate this May with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and will continue his dynamic academic career in graduate school at Notre Dame — his top pick.
From the time he arrived at South Carolina, Mann knew he wanted to study a variety of topics. “I have always been interested in science-related courses, but I wanted to learn more about the hospitality and tourism industry too,” he says. Those subjects were reflected in his internships as well, where he gained experience in manufacturing with Nephron Pharmaceuticals and event management with Liquid Assets.
In his second year, he began researching majors that would let him pursue his widely varied interests. He says the choice to switch to the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management’s interdisciplinary studies degree was a pivotal moment.
“My proudest accomplishment would be that I was able to maintain academic success after changing my major,” Mann says. “I was able to meet with Interdisciplinary Studies Program Director Marianne Bickle to discuss my options. Ever since our first meeting, Dr. Bickle has been an amazing mentor, and the B.A.I.S. degree has given me the opportunity to shape my own path throughout my undergraduate career. If you are an individual who values creativity and flexibility, I would strongly recommend considering this program.”
Also key to his college success was utilizing resources on campus like supplemental instruction: peer-led study sessions with trained undergraduate leaders who attend classes with students and encourage them to explore course concepts.
Balancing out his academics, Mann has diversified his college experience by taking advantage of social and extracurricular opportunities. He took the opportunity to intern abroad and was an active member of fraternity Chi Psi.
“I have had many great experiences inside and outside of the classroom,” Mann says. He advises other students to explore their options. “Make sure to utilize all the resources that are provided to you. Try joining some clubs or taking classes that you find interesting. The student body at UofSC is amazing, so try to meet as many people as possible.”
As he heads to Notre Dame for the next chapter of his academic career, Mann will carry with him the opportunities, experiences and friendships gained at South Carolina. He is keeping his goals high and plans to pursue a career after graduate school in consulting or supply chain management.