A World View Blossoms
“I hope to go back to China for two months (after graduation) to explore and learn the language more.”
Senior, Dual Bachelor's Degrees (Business, Math)
With numerous accomplishments to date and a Wall Street career awaiting her, Priya might be tempted to sit back and relax. Instead, she considers what more she can learn. “I hope to go back to China for two months (after graduation) to explore and learn the language more,” she adds.
Priya is a member of Kelley’s Investment Management Workshop. In July she will join Morgan Stanley full-time as an Investment Banking Analyst in the real estate group she interned with for the past two summers. “I feel very lucky—I love my group,” she says. She’s also excited about the future possibility of working abroad at one of Morgan Stanley’s offices in China.
While pursuing two degrees, Priya worked as an undergraduate instructor for the math department, and as a lab intern for the physics department. She also served as President of the International Business Association, and VP of Finance for the Campus Coalition Against Trafficking.
Priya enjoys a variety of interests and says, “Currently I’m obsessed with swimming and tennis.” A pianist and clarinetist, she also loves the martial marital arts. “I try to take a class every semester,” she adds. “Earning a yellow belt is like getting an A in a class.”
A Tennessee native, Priya relocated to Bloomington with her family when she was in high school. A self-described quiet person, she often surprises people when she speaks up to offer her view. “I feel like college has helped me become more confident with people,” she observes. When asked how she would describe herself, Priya replies, “I would like to say, ‘I’m not the same person I was ten seconds ago.’”
Priya’s desire to explore, combined with an interest in math led her to IU. The summer before her senior year in high school she took a college-level calculus course that proved to be fateful. She was pondering whether to pursue business or medicine and mentioned it to her professor, Greg Peters. He connected Priya with Professor “Venkat”, who encouraged her to study business and apply to the Kelley Scholars Program. She was ultimately chosen as one of ten outstanding scholars who receive full tuition, a living stipend and funding for overseas study.
The scholarship enabled many opportunities and made studying abroad more financially feasible as well. During the spring semester of her junior year, she completed a “Business, Language and Cultures” program at East China Normal University in Shanghai. “I wanted to improve my language ability. I knew I wanted to go somewhere different,” she says, “and this was a new program just started at IU.”
Already conversant in German, Priya became conversant in Mandarin after living in China. “It was tough at first, because I had to quickly learn how to buy food,” she says. “I purposely lived like the Chinese—ate cheap street food and shopped in places where the Chinese shopped,” she adds.
Priya loved experiencing the culture first-hand and developed added respect for her Chinese colleagues. “Given the number of people, it’s so competitive for the Chinese. They have to work much harder and compete for limited opportunities,” she says.
Her learning was further developed by the work she performed separately with the India, China, America Institute in Shanghai. As Correspondent for the International Contributors Editorial Board, she gathered and disseminated news about the impact of the rise of China that served a biweekly publication.
The Course That Opened Her Mind
During the summer after her freshman year, Priya continued taking classes and broadening her college experience outside of the library. “That summer was highly influential. There was a lot of self analysis... I took four courses—math, religions, accounting and gender studies—it was eye-opening,” she observes.
“Gender studies is an umbrella term that incorporates any type of social framework based upon sex, race, disability, or any other aspect of a person, where privilege is given or not based upon difference,” she describes. “Everybody should get exposure to this. Even though I’ve always considered myself more liberal-minded, it opened my mind even more,” she adds.
Priya felt the course should be required for all business students and began contacting people who could help make this happen. “I was able to get gender studies added as a seminar in Business Career Planning and Placement (X420) thanks to Professors Peggy Hite and Linda Dunn-Jensen.” she adds.
“Even now with things we didn’t study in class, I’m able to apply the same principles and concepts to look at different issues. It gives you the language to discuss things properly,” she explains.
Discovering What Matters
Priya’s self analysis led to greater understanding and compassion for others. “I’m a very passionate person. I want to be happy and I want others to be happy,” she says. “There’s nothing more important than that.”
She loves to spend time with her friends and try new things at all the local ethnic restaurants. “I’ve eaten Thai food in New York, China, Atlanta and Bloomington—and Esan Thai is the best,” she observes.
For those who aren’t sure what path to pursue, Priya thinks summer is a great time to learn and discover. She advises, “Take summer courses. You’re learning, but you’re not stressed. It’s fun!” She adds, “Be open and flexible, but be practical. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but knew it would be in finance.”
Priya recalled her own experience and was quick to credit her parents for all of their guidance and support. “I have the best parents anyone could ask for,” she says. “I owe everything to them.”