GOPIO-CT’s ‘College and Beyond’ Event Enlightens Students with Expert Insights


Panelists and Moderator at the GOPIO-CT Youth and Young Professional Networking Event (from left to right): Sushanth, Akarapu, Swaminathan, Bhalla, Chavan, Jha and Kuppuswamy

Our Bureau
New York, NY

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) hosted a highly engaging networking and panel discussion event titled ‘College and Beyond’ on Saturday, December 23rd at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford, Connecticut. The event, aimed at high school and college students, who were back home for holidays, as well as young professionals, was a resounding success with full attendance.

The panel discussion, adeptly coordinated and moderated by GOPIO-CT Board Member Nandu Kuppuswamy, Managing Partner at Ambrosian Sun Advisors, featured a diverse group of speakers who shared their wisdom and insights on various aspects of college and professional life. The goal was to equip high school students with a roadmap to navigate the challenging college admissions process, prepare for the transition from high school to college where support systems shift, and understand how to leverage both academic and non-academic opportunities to achieve professional goals.

The panelists were Mr. Shubin Jha, CIO of Menai Financial Group, a crypto hedge fund; Ms. Ruchi Bhalla, VP of Global Talent Management at Pitney Bowes; Mr. Adarsh Sushanth,  S/W Engineer at Vanguard; Mr. Kabir Chavan, Analyst at AQR’s Global Trading Dept.; Mr. Shouri Akarapu, Senior at Brown University; Ms. Veda Swaminathan, Sophomore at UChicago; Mr. Gourav Bansal – Junior at UChicago; Ms. Himani Narayan, Sophomore at Pace University and Mr. Aryan Maheshwari – Freshman at Binghamton University.

GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Abraham Speaking at the event

Ms. Bhalla provided a comprehensive overview of hiring and human resource trends across industries. She emphasized the growing importance of technological literacy in an AI-dominated age. Menai Financial Group CIO Shubin Jha highlighted the significance of qualifications beyond degrees, focusing on what employers seek in recent graduates. Every panelist emphasized the critical role of strategic and consistent networking in uncovering educational opportunities and forging future professional paths.

UChicago sophomore Veda Swaminathan and Brown University senior Shouri Akarapu, a senior at Brown University, offered reassurance to high school students about the college selection process. They stressed that students often find their rightful place and highlighted the importance of a supportive social structure during undergraduate years.

AQR’s Global Trading Analyst Kabir Chavan, and Pace University sophomore Ms. Himani Narayan, spoke about the need for students to find a college that fits their personality, going beyond brand recognition to ensure emotional well-being and passion.

Audience and Panelists at the GOPIO-CT Youth and Young Professional Event

UChicago junior Gourav Bansal and Vanguard Software Engineer Adarsh Sushanth pointed out that while most undergraduate courses have similar curriculums, the real differentiation lies in the effort students put in and the benefits they draw from the college’s resources, including infrastructure, faculty, opportunities, and alumni network.

The event was graced by GOPIO officials including GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO-CT President Dr. Jaya Daptardar, Executive Vice President Mahesh Jhangiani, Vice President Prachi Narayan, Treasurer Srinivas Akarapu, and Associate Secretary Ashvini Persaud. Dr. Daptardar in her welcoming address spoke about GOPIO-CT activities and urged the youth and young professionals to get involved in the chapter activities. After the panel discussion, Dr. Abraham spoke on GOPIO International and the roles the various chapters are playing in community service and activities of wider interest to the local society. Mr. Jhangiani concluded the meeting with a vote of thanks. The program was put together by Board Member Kuppuswamy.

The panelists also spoke on how one could promote oneself for college admissions and for a career as well as for internships and summer jobs. Many students benefitted by getting contacts at the event. This successful event underscored GOPIO-CT’s commitment to supporting the educational and professional development of young people in the Indian American community.

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