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James Rudnicki

James Rudnicki

For sophomore James Rudnicki, going to a Big Ten university was a given. But as an out-of-state student, and with both of his parents University of Michigan alumni, Purdue and the Krannert School weren’t necessarily at the top of the list.

A student tour led him to apply, and returning for a second tour for accepted students sealed the decision. “That’s when I learned I was admitted into the Larsen Leaders Academy, which was a really big draw for me,” Rudnicki says.

The academy is for high-performing business students who embrace challenging academic programs, applied learning through hands-on industry projects, professional development opportunities, and internships that prepare them for jobs with global organizations and enrollment in prestigious graduate programs.

“The Larsen Leaders Academy put Purdue a step higher than everybody else because it made me feel like I was an actual person and not just a number attending some other big business school,” he says. “I really felt like I was part of a community, and I got a great offer financially. It goes a long way to making you feel extra special and is designed to help you succeed.”

Rudnicki is also part of the Krannert School’s 3+2 program, which allows students to earn both an undergraduate and master’s degree in five years. “It’s an awesome opportunity to get out into the field faster,” he says. “And from a financial standpoint, it saves me a lot of money so that if I want to come back to Purdue for grad school or other opportunities, I have the freedom to explore those options.”

The culture of Purdue was another consideration for Rudnicki. “The engineering school heritage really passes down so that all the students are really hardworking and driven to succeed, but you have all the fun and the spirit of a Big Ten school,” he says. “I think it’s the best of both worlds.”

He points to an Eli Lilly case competition as an example. “It was great to put my real world skills to the test and hone them in a safe space where you can work with others and foster communication collaboration,” he says. “It’s really encouraging and helpful to know that everyone else in the room is just as hardworking and dedicated as you are.”

Rudnicki, a supply chain management major, doesn’t hesitate when recommending Purdue and the Krannert School to others.

“One piece of advice I would give to any prospective student and their parents is that the opportunities at Purdue are virtually limitless,” he says. “It doesn't matter who you are coming in, it matters what you make of it.”