Angad Patheja is used to the questions and the curiosity. Most people wonder how he manages simple tasks as an upper bilateral amputee, but the Rutgers University–Camden student is focused on another challenge: completing his MBA while also earning a law degree.
“Other people see me and are curious as to how I manage, and it’s not something I enjoy talking about per se, but I get their curiosity,” Patheja says. “It’s never been a question of how I would succeed or how I could prove people wrong. It’s never been a challenge to me.”
Patheja, who was born in India, lost his left arm and right hand after a balcony collapsed on him when he was three years old. After the accident, Patheja’s family moved to the Philadelphia area so he could receive medical treatment. He has a prosthetic right hand, but doesn’t view it as a disability.
“It happened at such a young age, so it’s how I grew up,” Patheja says. “Everything just comes naturally to me. I always had to do things a little differently, but I live alone in Philadelphia, I drive a car, and I do everything on my own. I’ve become dexterous with my feet, so I can use my toes for most tasks. I just don’t really think about it as a disadvantage.”
An Abington High School graduate, Patheja earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and international studies from the University of North Carolina. Attending college so far from home was a conscious decision.
“It was a difficult at first, but I made it work,” he says. “I wanted to do it because I knew it would force me to learn to be independent.”
Patheja returned to Philadelphia in 2010 with a desire to earn both a master’s degree in business and a law degree. His parents are entrepreneurs who have had successful business ventures, so a business career seemed like a natural fit.
I heard great things about the MBA program at Rutgers–Camden,” he explains. “The professors here are great and supportive and Rutgers has given me a solid foundation to build on.”
He didn’t want to stop there. Patheja enrolled at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden in 2010 and began pursuing his law degree at Temple University in 2011.
“It’s a logistic challenge to split time between two universities, but it helps to live in Philadelphia,” he admits.
In fact, he considers it the only real challenge he faces.
“My parents were always looking for the right opportunity and that’s one reason why I’ve sought out degrees in business and law,” Patheja says. “Maybe I’ll own my own business, or maybe I’ll start a law firm. I’m not sure where these paths will lead, but I want to have multiple options.”