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Graduation 2020 Profiles: Viha Desai, Undergrad

As part of Scheller’s Graduation 2020 series, we interviewed a few soon-to-be graduates including Viha Desai.
Viha Desai

Viha Desai

As part of Scheller's Graduation 2020 Profiles series, we interviewed a few soon-to-be graduates from our undergraduate programs to learn about their backgrounds, why they chose Scheller College, and what they plan to do after Spring 2020 Commencement.

Your Name:

Viha Desai

Where did you intern / co-op during school? 

CONA Services LLC as a Finance Intern - Fall 2018

JP Morgan & Chase Private Bank as a Summer Analyst - Summer 2019

Where will you be working after graduation?

JP Morgan & Chase Private Bank - Atlanta, Georgia

Why did you choose Scheller College of Business?

During my senior year of high school, I was given the opportunity to attend Scheller's Dean's Scholarship event which introduced me to the incredible program and people. Hearing about the experiences of many ambassadors at the event made me better understand the true impact of Scheller on the Georgia Tech community and helped me fall in love right away. This, paired with its strategic location in the heart of Midtown, helped me see that Scheller is in a perfect location for internship and job opportunities. My decision quickly became an easy one.

Who was your favorite professor (and why)?

Gary Jones was my Management of Financial Institutions professor. After graduating from Tech and working on Wall Street for 30 years, he chose to come back and teach this course to finance students for many years. As a professor of the practice, he taught me invaluable skills that I will use in my private banking career. Public speaking is something most people fear in school, at work, and even in their personal lives. He understood this weakness and structured the class to challenge us by having us think on our feet and becoming poised and confident presenters. Through our cold calls, pop quizzes, group presentations, and guest lecturers I can confidently say that I grew a strong foundation about the world of banking and succeeding in a career in finance.

What was your favorite course (and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it)?

Management of Financial Institutions with Gary Jones for all the reasons stated above.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into Scheller College?

Scheller is a school full of incredible people who will support and guide you through the most important four years of your life, but to get there you must prove that you are up for the challenge and open to learning from obstacles. Resilience is the key to success. Don't let failure keep you from being the best version of yourself. I remember countless times in high school where I found myself comparing my achievements to others and feeling trapped by the imposter syndrome. Remember that you are unique and are writing your own story. Choose what you do and how well you do it for yourself and if you always continue to challenge yourself, your successes will follow.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? (A parent? A teacher? A role model?)

A career in finance is something my dad always encouraged me to pursue as a high school student. As a man in IT services, he was teaching himself about trading and markets alongside his full-time job. When I was younger, I would always say that staring at moving stock charts and numbers wasn't my cup of tea and that I would never follow his aspirations. As I grew older, I became more interested in business and wanted to better understand every function of how a business is run (ie Finance, IT, Marketing, Operations, etc.). By my second year at Scheller, I had chosen Finance as my concentration; and by year three, I had chosen Banking. While many factors influenced my decision to ultimately choose banking, I always reflect the days my dad would encourage me to do it and am grateful for his influence and encouragement.

What activities were you involved with on or off-campus, and did your business education impact those activities in any way?

Through my four years at Tech, I have been a student ambassador, competitive dancer, orientation leader, campaign manager, student assistant, GT1000 team leader, and a logistics director for a dance competition. Each involvement has challenged me differently and allowed me to bring a different skillset from my business degree to the table. The social skills I learned at Scheller have been so valuable as an ambassador and orientation leader. My finance knowledge from my concentration was useful as a finance manager for my dance team. Lastly, my operations classes were integral to my role as a logistics director, when I was required to make detailed schedules for hundreds of stakeholders. My business degree was especially valuable because I took classes in finance, operations, human resources, IT management,

How did the Career Center assist you with your job efforts? Did you end up working or interning for one of your top choice companies?

The Career Center was an incredible resource throughout my Scheller experience. During my second year, the advisors helped me understand the fundamentals of consulting as I was unsure if that is something I was interested in. During the fall of my third year, I took a Career Development course which made me a more confident candidate during my internship search. From refining our resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn accounts to encouraging us to create business cards and improve our interviewing and networking skills, I am very grateful that I took this course during my most important recruitment season. Going through my interviews with this level of preparedness was one of the most rewarding parts of my college experience because I received an internship and a full-time offer with my dream company, JP Morgan & Chase.

What concentration did you pursue and why? How this helped prepare you for your future?

I am a Finance concentration and chose this field after conversing with my intro to finance professor, Jacqueline Garner. She prepped me on all of the paths I could take in the field of finance while sharing her personal experiences in her finance career. Not only did she encourage me to try both corporate finance and banking internships, but she also helped me understand what my future as a woman in either profession. After interning at CONA Services in corporate finance and Private Wealth Management at JP Morgan & Chase, her advice was invaluable and I am excited for my future career in private banking.

Fun fact about yourself :

I have had dinner with Hank Aaron and Andrew Young's wives.

I have never tried meat or seafood.

Hobbies :

Competitive dance, travel, sunrise hikes

“If I hadn't gone to business school, I would be… (Complete sentence)

If I hadn't gone to business school, I would be in film school aspiring to become a photographer for a world travel magazine.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Bungee jumping in Australia

Watch the sunsets of the Atacama Desert in Chile

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?

Through my Georgia Tech experience, I worked hard to make a personal impact on my peers, to connect different communities across campus and to give back to the people that gave so much to me. I hope to be remembered as a resilient student who was a genuine representative of what it means to be a Georgia Tech Student.

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