Robert Musur, BS ’74: Hard work is a reward in itself
by Ananya Sen
Degrees in Metallurgical Engineering, Business Administration, and Law are seldom earned by the same person. However, Robert Musur earned all three over the course of 11 years. His unusual career path has ranged from being an employee at a steel mill to working for KPMG. His career achievements have earned him the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UIUC.
Musur graduated from the Department of Metallurgical Engineering (now Materials Science) in 1974. He was drawn to the University of Illinois because of its formidable reputation as an engineering university. “If you were able to secure admission to the University of Illinois, that’s where you went. There were very few universities that were on par with Illinois,” said Musur. “The learning experiences here are unparalleled. It’s no surprise that the university still maintains its high ranking among other academic institutions.”
After graduating, Musur joined a steel mill as a quality control engineer, overseeing the operations of the mill and ensuring that the right combination of materials went into the different types of steel. “I regularly had long shifts and would work around the clock. Even so, I enjoyed overseeing the production process because of the background knowledge I obtained from my undergraduate years,” said Musur.
After his time at the mill, Musur completed his MBA in Finance at DePaul University in 1979. His interest in business led him to work with accounting firms while he decided to pursue his JD from Loyola University in Chicago. He then joined KPMG where he remained for 20 years. “My time at KPMG was very fruitful because it was the perfect marriage of all the skills and experience I had accumulated to that point,” explained Musur.
“I owe my career achievements to the training I received at the University of Illinois. I learned how to work hard and bring projects to completion. The entire experience prepared me for the rigor of an office environment,” said Musur. “I had a very supportive network of professors who made our classes fun and interesting. I also had academic counselors who helped me navigate my undergraduate years. In particular, Robert Bohl patiently guided me through my time as a freshman.”
“The time you spend as a university student is special. You have virtually unlimited resources and all you need to do is put in the work,” said Musur. “Although it is wonderful to have my work recognized, the hard work I put in was a reward in itself. I was pleased to include my children in the award ceremony because I wanted them to understand the same lesson. Each day, no matter how monotonous it seems, counts towards a result. Always find something you enjoy doing and before you know it, the years fly and you’ve built something to be proud of.”