Recent grad­uate Maninder Singh Hunjan, who was born in Pandher Kheri, a small vil­lage in Punjab, India, never planned on moving to a big city like Boston, let alone attending North­eastern University.

But Hunjan, who grad­u­ated ear­lier this month with a master’s degree in telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems man­age­ment, says he couldn’t have picked a better place to get a jump-​​start on a career in soft­ware development.

He calls studying at North­eastern the “turning point of my life.” His one-​​year co-​​op as a quality engi­neer at a Burlington, Massachusetts-​​based branch of Nokia, the multi­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions cor­po­ra­tion that man­u­fac­tures mobile devices, was a key expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity that “opened doors to my pro­fes­sional life,” says Hunjan.

Every­thing is going mobile — even in devel­oping coun­tries,” he says. Hunjan, who grad­u­ated from Punjab Uni­ver­sity in 2006 with an under­grad­uate degree in elec­trical engi­neering, adds, “I want to be part of this tech­no­log­ical boom.”

Hunjan plans to develop mobile appli­ca­tions for Nokia if he returns to the com­pany as a full-​​time employee over the summer. But he has even bigger aspi­ra­tions: He wants to earn an MBA or a PhD in public policy so that he can help rebuild and trans­form India’s gov­ern­ment, which, he says, neglects funding its infra­struc­ture and edu­ca­tional system.

He wants to be the change that the country’s people have waited more than 60 years for by “fig­uringout a way to reach the people.”

Hunjan’s ambi­tious plans reflect a trau­matic past. His father, who served as vil­lage chief, was mur­dered when he was 4 years old. His dad’s tragic death made him realize that change begins and ends with his will­ing­ness — and drive — to make a difference.

I am always willing to take guid­ance and inspi­ra­tion from­suc­cessful people and have the con­fi­dence to do it on my own,” he says. “I never look back. I just go forward.”