International student establishes second home, budding career in St. Louis

by | Aug 5, 2019

After three internships and an influential student experience, Nino Obanor secured a consulting job at Perficient.
Nino Obanor

May College of Business Administration graduate Nino Obanor is a few months into an associate technical consultant role at Perficient. (Photo by August Jennewein)

As Nino Obanor made his college selection, he was already thinking one step ahead.

He, of course, wanted to attend a quality school where he could receive an influential education. But he also wanted to build his career in the process.

That goal narrowed his selection to an urban university where he would have plenty of opportunities to excel as a student intern and later as a professional. So, when the University of Missouri–St. Louis came into view through a basketball scholarship, the Serbia native had a feeling he’d found the right fit.

His instincts were correct.

Since 2015, Obanor has established a second home in St. Louis, balancing a steady stream of internships, earning a bachelor’s degree in May and securing a full-time consulting job.

“I had a great experience at UMSL,” Obanor said. “Some of my favorite memories are being immersed in a different culture, meeting people from all over the world and learning more about life in the U.S. I also definitely learned some life lessons about time management while being an athlete, trying to keep my grades up and working through internships.”

Obanor also discovered his career path at UMSL. He was undecided on his major when he enrolled, but a friend and some introductory classes encouraged him to try information systems and technology. He hasn’t looked back from that decision.

“Technology affects everything today,” he said. “I wanted to get knowledge in that, and the degree was a perfect setup. You gain knowledge of business as well as technology.”

After two years, Obanor became so engaged in his studies and campus life that he decided to focus solely on those efforts, trading athletics for an internship with the inaugural Ameren Accelerator cohort.

“The Ameren Accelerator was a great experience,” Obanor said. “It really opened my eyes to what is possible within college and within business.”

Through the accelerator program, he developed a deeper appreciation for St. Louis’ entrepreneurial ecosystem and gained experience working for WIFIPLUG, a British startup focused on smart plug technology.

That positive experience led to internship opportunities at Emerson and Express Scripts, which helped him explore companies of varying sizes and apply some of the technical skills he learned at UMSL.

“All three internships provided different experiences. I wanted to be able to see what is out there,” Obanor said. “It definitely enhanced what I was learning in the classroom. Once you actually do something in the real world, it’s a lot different than reading about it in a textbook. When you apply what you are learning, it is going to make more sense. It definitely improved my learning experience.”

By his final semester, he had gained a variety of professional experiences and hoped to continue building his career in St. Louis. Thanks to a recommendation from another student, the UMSL Career Fair and his own ambition, Obanor again found the right opportunity.

He received a job offer from Perficient earlier this spring and is now a few months into his role as an associate technical consultant.

“Getting the offer relieved a lot of stress because there aren’t a lot of companies that want to put that investment in international students,” he said. “They really went out of their way, and it has been amazing. It was a good feeling to know I would be putting my degree to work right after graduation.”

Sara Bell

Sara Bell