Previous University: Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU)
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, concentrations in Finance and Mass Communication
Q: What led you to pursue your MS in Finance (Quantitative Finance) at Northeastern?
A: Getting a master's in finance was something that I had been planning to do since my junior year as an undergrad. The option to pursue quantitative finance initially drew me to be interested in D'Amore-McKim's MS in Finance. I knew having that quantitative knowledge would prepare me well for the finance industry's move towards fintech and the utilization of technology. What really stood out to me was the 360 Huntington Fund. The opportunity to apply what I was learning in the classroom to real-world scenarios was inspiring. My goal is to work as a portfolio manager, and this program felt like a fit to help me achieve that goal. All these things persuaded me to join the program, and I'm so glad I did.
Q: Can you tell me about your experience with the 360 Huntington Fund?
A: I started as an analyst at the fund, and it was unlike anything I'd done before. It was a great learning experience to hear so many intelligent students giving amazing stock pitches and joining discussions on selecting stocks to buy, sell, or hold.
I felt my background in mass communication and finance could provide the fund with more opportunities to market itself, so I applied for a leadership position and was elected. It was a highly valuable experience to merge my background with the work we were doing in the fund. Holding a leadership position was also a great talking point to employ in job interviews, as many interviewers found the role and the fund unique and impressive.
Q: What was it like competing in international financial conferences?
A: During my time in the MS in Finance (Quantitative Finance) program, I had multiple opportunities to showcase my skill set through financial competitions. My 360 Huntington Fund team won first place in the GAME Forum international finance conference. I was also selected from thousands of applications to lead Northeastern University's team in the CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge. Our team became one of four finalists to present our research report and stock valuation to a panel of live judges.
Our curriculum has courses that push us to be better communicators. Business and arithmetic skills mean nothing if you can't communicate well, which can be a huge challenge for everyone in the industry. I was able to apply that learning to a real-world application in these competitions. Overall, it was a fantastic experience, and winning first prize in an international competition was one of the best feelings.
Q: How has Northeastern's network been beneficial in helping you achieve your professional goals?
A: My academic advisor, the faculty, and the administration have been very helpful and accommodating. They have all pushed me to do my best.
Networking in the finance industry is so important, and Northeastern's network has been really valuable to me throughout my time here. I'm happy to say that I got job offers from all of my interviews through the connections I made. In July, I will be starting a full-time position at Houlihan Lokey as a financial analyst.
Northeastern has allowed me to explore and achieve my highest potential. I attribute that success to the help and guidance I've received as a student. I would recommend using those connections to any prospective students for this program.
Q: What advice would you share with future students?
A: Say yes to opportunities. There are many of them available at Northeastern. I was able to gain experience working as both a research assistant and a teaching assistant, chief marketing officer for the 360 Huntington Fund, and a competitor in the GAME forum and the CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge.
I am glad that I could apply my coursework outside of class, and I would encourage future students to do that as well. You'll gain confidence in yourself and accumulate great talking points for interviews; what more could you want? Take your chances and be present on campus. This is the time to pursue all your interests because odds are you won't get the chance again.
“My quantitative finance degree has helped me gain so many skills, and I feel confident about applying what I've learned to real financial challenges.” says Vidita Agarwalla, MS in Finance'21
“While the current times are challenging, the industry will always be competitive, so giving up is not an option. It's really about putting in the effort and creating your own opportunities.”
“When I told my friends that you can actually run a real fund here, they couldn't believe it. They had never had that opportunity themselves. It's a really attractive part of the program and gives you experience in investments that a book can't teach you.”