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Profile: Chandie Cooray


Chandeepa's (Chandie) difficult years as a Purdue undergraduate are what propelled him to, five years after graduation, go back to school and get his master’s degree in Krannert’s Online MS Business Analytics (MSBA) program.

“I wanted to go back and do it again, in a better way,” he says.

Chandie also had, and continues to stoke, a passionate loyalty to Purdue for all the university has done for him.

As an undergraduate, Chandie found himself taking 18 credit hours and working 40 hours a week to financially support his family.

Chandie grew up in Sri Lanka, and came to the U.S. in 2009 with his sister and parents when he was 18. He first enrolled at Ivy Tech for a year -- “I couldn’t afford otherwise,” he says – then transferred to Purdue. His only connection to the university was an uncle who was working and studying at Purdue at the time.

“It was quite a struggle,” he says of his early days at Purdue. He missed homework deadlines, and shifted his academic focus several times before benefiting from the guidance of advisor Sue Young.

“She introduced me to actuarial science,” Chandie says. “I loved it.”

Young, now retired from the university, helped Chandie see that he needed to cut back on credit hours.

“She helped me choose electives to keep my GPA up. She was right behind me the whole time. She knew my story.” They keep in touch, Chandie says.

Chandie found a productive groove his last semesters as an undergrad, taking an on-campus office job that allowed him to do homework when not busy. He dedicated several summers to getting caught up on his studies.


"You have deadlines, but you have flexibility. Everything is recorded – that's the best thing. You won't miss anything."

“Everything started clicking,” he says.

He met his girlfriend, a civil engineer, his sophomore year. “She’s now my wife,” Chandie says.

Chandie graduated in 2015, with a BS in Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics and a minor in Management. It was his management skills, gained in his Krannert courses, that convinced Subaru “I am the guy,” he says.

He joined Subaru of America on a one-year contract, and is still there, five years later, as a Senior Specialist in Operations working out of the Lebanon, Ind. office (when COVID-19 is not disrupting normal procedures).

Subaru has been supportive of Chandie’s pursuit of a master’s degree, and is covering a portion of his tuition. “I can balance everything. I have a great job,” he says. He is able to focus on his studies in his “free” hours, something he had difficulty doing as an undergrad under too much stress.

Chandie applied to other school’s master’s programs. He wanted to attend Purdue, but “had plan B, C, D, E.” He was accepted at other programs – “I was happy for that” – but was even happier when he was accepted into the Krannert online MSBA.

“I was over the moon when I heard from Purdue. I know the welcome and the treatment I’ll get at Purdue,” he says. “And I talked to my friends, my directors, my IT directors,” for guidance. Most pointed him toward returning to Purdue.



Chandie found the MSBA admissions process pleasant and easy. He did research on Krannert’s faculty and let it be known he wanted to study with clinical assistant professor of management Roy Dejoie.

Halfway through his program, Chandie has, so far, “gotten what I’ve wanted.” He’s learning Python from Dejoie, and is already applying what he’s learning to his workplace.

“I’m very new to Python, but I’ve built a tool to track all the damages to our parts. Before, it was on Excel. It was inefficient,” he says.

Chandie is someone who has done a 180-degree turn on online learning. As an undergraduate he took two online courses, both electives, and found them difficult.

“I decided online classes are not for me. I had no faith in me doing an online class.”

He decided to buckle down and commit to an online master’s program, as he wanted to keep his position at Subaru and also go back to school.

“I thought, I am going to change myself.” He adopted a more organized approach to his time management.

The structure of the MSBA helps him succeed, Chandie says. He now has a new group, of fellow MSBA students, faculty and staff, to lean on.

“The (student) teams really help. I’m trying to keep up with the team,” he says. Homework is assigned, and two days or so later, the team meets to discuss – “so I have to do my work.” Chandie says his time management skills are forever improving.

“You have to discipline yourself,” in an online program. “You have deadlines, but you have flexibility. Everything is recorded – that’s the best thing. You won’t miss anything.”

And what would Chandie tell others hesitant about choosing an online program?

“Take the risk. It’s really worth it. The structure itself won’t let you think ‘I can’t do it.’”

While he’s determined to truly enjoy learning this time around, Chandie looks forward to the end, when he can call himself a double-Boiler.

“I will be very, very proud. It has a big, big place in my heart, Purdue,” he says. “I don’t have the words to explain the treatment I got when I came to Purdue. Purdue would never let me drop.”