INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: OJAL MANNEPALLI (‘21)

Ojal MannepalliHometown: Singapore
Career Goal: Marketing Director / CEO

What is your educational background?
Before coming to LIM, I moved around a lot. I began my schooling in Indonesia, but actually started 1st grade in NYC! I remained in the American school system when I moved to Singapore to complete middle school in an American international school. I attended the Canadian International School in Singapore for high school, completing the International Baccalaureate program. I like to say that all of this has molded me into a global citizen.

How did you become interested in LIM?
When I started researching colleges offering fashion programs, I thought it was really interesting that LIM didn't do design, focusing solely on the business side of the fashion industry, which is exactly what I was looking to do. I also learned that LIM did high school programs during the summer. I thought, why don't I test out a fashion program and see if I like it?

How was your experience in LIM’s summer program?
In the summer of 2015, I did two Fashion Lab courses, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I took Behind the Scenes of the Fashion Industry—we got to go to Kleinfeld Bridal, the fashion forecaster WGSN, the cashmere and outerwear company Magaschoni, and learn what they do. The second course I did was about being a stylist. I fell in love with the College, the students, the courses, the professors, and just being in New York City.

How would you describe LIM to someone considering applying?
LIM is a small college … but it's bigger than you think. There's just so much diversity within the college, even among the students from America. Then, add in the international students, the transfer students—we're so diverse, but we're here with the common goal to work in the fashion industry. Students here have a great work ethic, and that pushes you to be the best version of yourself.

What internships have you done?
Initially, my plan was to do my retail internship in my second semester, but international students' visa regulations don't always allow us to do that. So, I worked with our Career Services department to arrange to intern while I was home over the summer, at the Spanish brand Bimba y Lola. It was a straightforward and seamless process, as the coursework was all online and I was able to gain the industry experience I needed. I am also interning with the stylist of the Miss Universe Organization, Marquis Bias. I assist at fittings and photoshoots for Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA, manage merchandise, and more. It is definitely one of the most amazing experiences I have had in NYC.

You’re also a student mentor. Can you tell us about that?
I knew I wanted to be a student mentor even before I got to LIM. It has benefited me because I get to meet more students and make an impact in their lives. My “kids” from orientation still come to me when they need help which warms my heart. It drives you to take initiative and develop leadership and communication skills.

What kind of support do you receive here?
We have amazing professors, and the small classes allow us to have strong relationships with them. Alongside this, we have advisors, coaches, and an International Student Services team who are extremely wonderful resources. Even my parents noticed the amazing support system when they visited. They said, "We don't see you going anywhere else because we love the fact that you have support here."