Q: Why did you decide to enroll at Northeastern University's D'Amore-McKim School of Business?
A: My decision to enroll at D'Amore-McKim was inspired by several factors, diversity of thought and the student body being the most outstanding ones. After attending a Northeastern University Welcome Day for admitted students and Orientation, it was clear that the school put significant resources into fostering an open environment that allowed students to feel safe in growing personally and professionally while maintaining their identities. I knew I would get to meet young people from not just across the country but the globe itself; to me, that ability to soak in new perspectives was a deal-breaker. In addition, the impressively vast selection of student-run organizations and the co-op program illustrated that Northeastern, and D'Amore-McKim in particular, are invested in the future of students.
Q: Tell us about your nonprofit Literacy Movement 4 More Inc. (LM4M). What was the motivation behind its founding?
A: My twin brother, Suraj, and I started Literacy Movement 4 More Inc. in 2013 with the mission to promote literacy in underserved communities across the globe through the construction of libraries and the provision of crucial educational materials.
At the time, our father's father had just passed away. For any thirteen-year-old, experiencing the death of a grandparent for the first time is a jarring experience; for us, those feelings were amplified by the swirling emotions that accompany an adolescent's transition into high school. After visiting our ancestral village, Kapileswarapuram, for the final rites, we felt an inexplicable need to pay it forward somehow. I think these sentiments originated from a combination of wanting to memorialize our grandfather–who had been the first in his family to attend college and an esteemed engineer in his lifetime–and a desire to reconcile the gap we felt in our Indian-American identities. Ultimately, we wanted to serve a community that had been so central in shaping who we were. And we wanted to do it in the best way we knew how—through education.
Q: How has it grown and changed over the years?
A: In the beginning, we were scrappy. We asked public libraries for donations, canvassed local fairs for fund collections, and stuffed our suitcases with books as we traveled to our project locations. After achieving 501[c]3 nonprofit status in 2014, however, our strategy changed. We understood that it would take a lot of scaling to work on an international basis, and we started formally partnering with local municipalities for donations and awareness campaigns. We also started working with students across central New Jersey to run volunteer projects to round up books, technology, and school supplies.
Fast forward to 2021: LM4M has built more than ten libraries in six countries spanning three continents and donated more than 4,000 books and 50 laptops in collaboration with our partner institutions. Our portfolio of partners includes multinational non
–profit organizations, local governments, educational institutions, and many more. We've been fortunate to be recognized for our work. We have visited the Greek Consulate, Boston Public Schools, and MIT to speak about our mission and impact on underserved global communities.
Q: How has Northeastern and the experiences you've had here helped accelerate its growth or success?
A: First, I can confidently say that LM4M would not be where it is today without the resources we had access to at Northeastern. Through my student leadership engagements, I understood the behind-the-scenes work it took to run a large organization with an even larger mission. My professors and mentors have been invaluable in guiding me through LM4M's expansion, and their advice has been fundamental in my leadership and network growth.
Through my involvement with Alpha Phi Omega, the community service fraternity on campus, I gained valuable insight into Boston's nonprofit community. Those connections and learning experiences will continue to serve me even after I graduate. Scout, Northeastern's student-led design studio, re-branded LM4M and developed a website for us from the ground up; our team's immense creativity and dedication to their craft during a global pandemic was beyond admirable and has allowed LM4M to tell our story in a way that we weren't able to before. Chi Sigma Consulting, the pro-bono consulting branch of Alpha Kappa Psi, has provided us with extensive research and recommendations to develop our internal strategy.
In short, we consider ourselves exceedingly lucky to be able to partner with such incredible leaders and organizations on campus and can't wait to see how these relationships flourish even after we graduate.
Q: Suraj is also a Northeastern student. What has it been like going to school with him and sharing this experience?
A: I think that siblings, particularly twins, going to the same college tends to get a bad rap. Many people believe that distance between twins is necessary for their individual growth, and they need to enjoy time “becoming their own person.” On my end, I can confidently refute those notions; having my brother by my side has not only strengthened our relationship but has allowed both of us to grow in bounds, both personally and professionally.
On a personal level, our relationship allowed us to form friendships with other students that were like family, and there isn't anyone I know who doesn't know I have a twin brother. On a professional level, I learned a lot from Suraj, who is a computer science major. Our ability to bridge gaps and widen our perspectives has been a source of comfort and growth, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Q: Tell us about your study abroad experience at the London School of Economics (LSE).
A: My study abroad experience at LSE was a highlight of my time at Northeastern. Through the program, I had the excellent opportunity to meet people from every corner of the globe–many of whom I am still good friends with today–and explore a multicultural city flush with rich experiences around every corner. While at LSE, I managed to execute an LM4M project as well; through that experience, I got to collaborate with my peers in delivering donations to a primary school in Kent.
As far as the academic load went, it's no secret that LSE is one of the world's premier institutions; to that end, the academic expectations are predictably high. However, taking diligent notes, being present for and participating in revision sessions with the course TA, and employing active recall studying methods are all practices you can use that will guarantee your success in the class. I enjoyed my academic and personal experience at LSE and highly recommend it for any student interested in studying abroad.
Q: You've had two co-ops so far, one at a large asset management firm in the Boston area and one at RSM. Tell us about those experiences.
A: Anyone at Northeastern will tell you that their co-ops have been profoundly formative experiences. At my first co-op, I worked in a middle-office finance role at a large asset management firm in Boston. More than anything, this experience taught me about professional expectations in the workplace and the “soft skills” that are required to cement your role and reputation amongst your peers and co-workers.
My second co-op was in Process Risk Controls (PRC) Advisory at RSM US LLP, a multinational public accounting firm that primarily serves the middle market. In my role at RSM, I worked at the associate level to deliver critical business and accounting process audits. Usually, this co-op involves traveling to the client site to execute engagements; however, all work moved remotely after COVID-19 restrictions began. Overall, my biggest takeaways from working in a consulting role at RSM were learning how to operate in a client-facing environment confidently and network effectively. This experience really cemented my desire to work in a consulting environment, and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a well-rounded co-op opportunity.
Q: Your experience at RSM was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tell us about applying to co-ops and working remotely. Do you have any tips to share?
A: First off, I think it's necessary to recognize the resilience and tenacity of students who went through or are going through the recruiting process amid this global pandemic; it was not, and is not, easy.
That being said, I do think that Northeastern prepares its students for the application and interviewing process in a way that no other school does. The support you receive from your co-op advisor and peer mentors is crucial in forming the network and skills necessary to succeed. I highly recommend cultivating close relationships with your advisors, professors, and mentors—they become your champions and advocates throughout your time here. As far as the recruiting process goes, I think developing internal confidence is key. Everyone is nervous for their first round of interviews; however, if you focus on practicing your demeanor and understanding your experiences in and out, anyone can stand out.
With regard to my remote work experience at RSM, I had no qualms. While the environment to socialize with other associates in my “class” was obviously limited, there was a silver lining: professional networking seemed more accessible than ever, and I found that I could format my schedule the way I wanted to without feeling the normal pressures that come with being in an office. Also, with remote work, the line between work life and home life becomes blurry; to that end, I found it was easier to have more empathetic, personal conversations with co-workers that may not have been possible in a traditional work environment. My advice to anyone looking ahead to starting their work remotely is to attack their work with a balanced growth mindset. Every situation presents a learning opportunity, and it is more important than ever to listen as much as possible and grow from these experiences.
Q: Tell us about your community service experience with the Catholic Charities of Boston: El Centro de Cardenal. How did you find this opportunity, and what was your biggest takeaway from it?
A: I was introduced to El Centro through a service-learning opportunity offered in my Management Consulting in Organizations (MGMT 4550) course. Students in the class were placed in pro-bono consulting teams to work with clients to produce research and strategic recommendations. My team created a marketing strategy centralized on branding and communication for a newly-launched career-focused education program at El Centro. After the semester ended, I continued to work for El Centro as a strategic development advisor. I recruited and managed an intern who worked on launching a new website for the non
My biggest takeaways from El Centro revolve around the importance of building a solid relationship with the client, centered on empathy, communication, and mutual understanding. My interactions with the educators and the students themselves allowed me to ground the work we were doing from a human perspective. It's essential to recognize that you're not working for a grade or a faceless client–you're working to produce actionable deliverables that will have a real impact on real people.
Q: Tell us about your experience with Alpha Phi Omega. Why get involved in an organization like this?
A: After having been too nervous about joining any student organization my freshman year, I was influenced by a friend, Melissa Soong, DMSB'21, who was thriving in her professional fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. After doing some digging, I discovered Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a community service fraternity on campus that was doing great work in volunteering to support Boston's greater community. It was a perfect fit for me!
I think the value in joining communities like APO consists of two significant factors. One, you understand the community you're living in. I think it's important for Northeastern students to understand that their world is not just their campus–it's the city and all the people living in it. Doing community work and interacting with Bostonians allows students to develop a well-rounded perspective about the environment they're living in and how they can help positively shape it. Second, APO is a wonderfully diverse and interdisciplinary organization that brings students together from all classes and schools. The friends I've made in APO are like family, and I truly am happy to have been a part of such a special organization on campus.
Q: What clubs and organizations have you been involved with while at Northeastern?
A: I'm currently the vice president of Women in Finance (WIF), and the former Tier 2 coordinator of WeSupport for the Women's Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship (WISE). I've also been working with Bridge To Calculus in several capacities since my freshman year, a program offered by Northeastern's Department of Mathematics. This group primarily serves Boston Public High School students entering their junior and senior year in the fall and who intend to take calculus. Their signature event, Calculus Field Day, brings in students from across the city to participate in a math competition on the Northeastern campus; in the past, it has garnered several Boston officials' attention, including Mayor Marty Walsh.
I'm also a former orientation peer mentor, business calculus tutor, and project coordinator for the Social Enterprise Institute Student Association. And, as mentioned previously, I've been a client for Scout and Chi Sigma Consulting.
Q: Tell us about your experience with WISE and WIF. Why did you get involved in these clubs and how have they enhanced your overall experience here?
A: I joined WISE's executive board as the director of their Tier 2 WeSupport mentorship program at the end of my sophomore year. At the time, it was hard not to notice WISE was a rising star in the Mosaic entrepreneurship ecosystem–their brand was warm and inviting, and the leadership at the time–Eliana Berger, DMSB/COS'21, and Mia Nguyen, DMSB'21–was stellar. As the Tier 2 Coordinator of WeSupport, I launched WISE's pilot professional mentorship pipeline that connected upperclassmen with professionals to help cultivate personal and professional development. The women I met through WISE not only inspired me, but really taught me that ownership of identity, vulnerability, and a healthy community were important values to carry with me as I move into my career.
I left WISE in 2020 to become the vice president of WIF, where I worked on supporting our presidents in furthering our mission to educate, empower, support, and mentor undergraduate women students. Through WIF, I've gotten to watch our team pour their hearts into fulfilling a mission that is so critical to achieving equity in a traditionally homogenous sector.
My involvement with WIF and WISE has taught me many lessons about the importance of surrounding yourself with organizations and missions that you care about. While it may seem like a practical move to join student organizations that will support your career objective or “look good” on your resume, I encourage students to join a club they can actually see themselves invested in. Not only was I able to perform better as a leader in organizations that I truly cared about, but I was able to establish my presence as a champion for change, network with other leaders, and execute programming which made a difference.
Q: You're doing a lot! How do you balance co-op, time with friends, athletics, academics, and time for yourself?
A: Vulnerability, with yourself and others, is key to achieving a balanced life and mindset. I think it's important to realize that no matter how resilient you are, no one is invincible. We're all human! Always take the time to be honest with yourself and understand the purpose behind your choices. At the same time, surround yourself with people who are invested with yourself; during challenging times, I've always sought out the guidance of friends, family, and mentors in this journey.