What brought you to business school? Why did you choose Columbia?
From my school days, I have always been interested in finance and markets. However, since finance is not offered as an undergraduate major in India, I decided to study economics to learn about the big picture, and thought it would be useful as a foundation to studying finance later on. I enrolled in a corporate finance course during my undergraduate years, and I was fascinated in learning about how money is put to work in a business environment. I knew I wanted to be formally trained in the field of finance and decided to pursue a master’s degree in business school.
I chose Columbia for a variety of reasons that include, but are not limited to, its brand value, the location, and the faculty. I wanted my master’s degree to open up as many opportunities as possible, and choosing Columbia aligned perfectly with that goal.
What has been your favorite part of the MS experience so far?
I eagerly look forward to attending the lectures of my courses as the amount of learning that happens within a three-hour slot is tremendous. I also like the fact that every lecture I’ve had so far has had real-life application.
What is it like going to business school in New York City?
It has been a lot more exciting than I thought it would be. Being in New York City allows me to leverage the finance and banking industry to the fullest, given the proximity of the campus to Wall Street. Almost every weekend, I have found myself in an event connecting with people from firms like JPMorgan, HSBC, etc. to understand the various roles these institutions play in the economy. Such events, and running along the Hudson at sunrise, are experiences that I could not have obtained elsewhere.
Favorite faculty/courses so far?
My favorite course so far has been a course titled, “Sovereign Risk Assessments.” This course teaches us to examine a country’s financial statements and see how risk-prone they are. The fact that one of the professors teaching this course is a billionaire and has made his wealth through sovereign bond trades makes it all the more exciting.
How has the experience and expertise of your professors impacted your learning?
A majority of the professors who have taught me have worked within the industry and have experienced coming up with solutions to their organization’s business challenges. As a result, they bring an experiential aspect to the theories they teach in class. This has allowed me to widen my field of thought and realize the skillsets I needed to develop in order to have a flourishing career.
What do you want to do next? How has Columbia uniquely prepared you for your future?
I would really like to pursue something along the lines of semi-quant investing roles in hedge funds but I am interested in investment banking as well.
Columbia is preparing me for both roles by providing me with a strong theoretical foundation. Additionally, the whole business school experience acts as a training ground for me to develop the people skills that are essential in the finance industry.
What will you take with you?
There is a lot for me to take away from my entire business school experience. However, if there is one major takeaway, it would be that time management skills are essential as the Columbia Business School experience pushes us to work on something every day.