Rabindra and Spring Nanda
Three Suitcases and a Dream
by Sue McMurray
Rabindra Nanda (’93 MBA) doesn’t have to be convinced to be passionate about WSU. He says his love for the University is in his DNA, which is remarkable, considering he was born and raised in India.
While studying at St. Stephens College in Delhi, Nanda was accepted into a one-year undergraduate exchange program with WSU in 1990. Having never been to the Pacific Northwest, he was anxious and excited when he flew into Pullman with just three suitcases to begin his WSU experience.
From the moment he landed at Pullman’s small airport, he felt welcomed and accepted. A stranger gave him a ride to the dorms and money for dinner.
The relationships he built with students and faculty in his business classes grew into lifelong memories and friendships.
MBA HELPS LAUNCH ENTREPRENEURIAL CAREER
Nanda stayed on at WSU and earned his MBA. He says the biggest value of the program was the close interaction between students and faculty, from networking opportunities and field trips, to potlucks at professors’ homes. The quality of the faculty and peer influence taught him the generosity and value of the community, to think independently, and to be confident.
“The entire environment of WSU—the sights, sounds, and landscape—was captivating,” says Nanda. “It was the right fit, and it’s where I launched my dream of becoming a small business entrepreneur.”
Nanda achieved his dream. For the last 20 years, he has dedicated thought leadership, operational excellence, and business performance in the startup and small business space for diverse markets. He and his wife, whom he met at WSU, have maintained a steady connection to WSU and the Pullman community, making regular trips and supporting the University.
Nanda has always felt the importance of creating meaning beyond himself. In 2015, he and other Cougs in the Tri-Cities area founded MBrands LLC, a business venture that offers products of enduring quality, utilizes abilities to help those in need, and builds personal and collective brands that are meaningful and inspiring.
One of those brands is Angocha bath and beach towels. These luxury, cotton linens display the official Cougar logo and are crafted with fair labor manufacturing practices and environmentally-friendly materials. With each sale of a towel, $2 is donated to MBrands LLC’s Cougs4Good giving campaign that supports $500 scholarships for Pasco High School students intending to study at WSU.
“My WSU education and Cougar spirit inspired me to make education more affordable for others,” says Nanda. “Giving is part of the mission of our meaningful brands that forever inspire.”
Nanda is far from checking off the accomplishment of his American Dream. He and his wife, Spring (Bus. Admin. ’95), aspire to move back to Pullman, where they began their life together. Nanda eventually wants to teach a WSU course on the psychology of a small business, drawing from his own experiences to show future entrepreneurs a glimpse of how small business ventures can have great impact on the world.