BackgroundInterview Date:January 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: South Asian-American
Graduation Year: 2019
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
High School Experience: Public school in a suburb of Dallas, TX with a graduating class of about 1,200 students. There was a culture of going to college
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Management and Finance in the business school
Minors: Economics and Spanish
Extracurricular Activities: South Asian Society, Hindu Students’ Association, Club Tennis team, and I used to be part of an investment group on campus.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I think they’ve all shaped it in different ways. I like to have a balance of both the social side, the pre-professional side, and the cultural side. This past year specifically, my involvement with the South Asian Society has taken up the most of my time. It’s been very enjoyable because we’re one of the largest cultural clubs on campus and we try to bring a lot of people together across campus. We host a big charity dance showcase in the fall which features 500 students across campus, so that stood out this year for my extracurriculars.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
In the business school at Georgetown they’re really focused on the application of material, so while there are a lot of exams and problem sets, there is a lot of case-based learning as well. We study a lot of Harvard Business School cases. We do a lot of group projects with that in addition to getting tested on the material through traditional exams and quizzes.
Is there anything that you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
Their strong suit is definitely the faculty members. The professors in the Management department are really good at communication with the students not only the class concepts but also bringing in their own experiences from the corporate world or academia to make the class as engaging as possible.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s a mix of both. The business school operates on a curve, so there is only a certain percentage of students who are able to get each letter grade, and that definitely increases the competitive environment. At the same time, the professors try to foster a collaborative environment through group projects and making sure that learning is not done independently and that you are working with your peers. I think it’s a good mix of both, but not extreme to either end.
How accessible have your professors been?
They have designated windows for their own office hours where you can go and speak to them about what you need help with in the class or just chat with them in general. If none of those times work for you, they’re always willing to schedule appointments or see you outside of that window, so I think they’re extremely helpful.
Why did you choose your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
Georgetown offers a lot of introductory courses which they require in the core curriculum. I went in knowing that I wanted to do something related to business, so I applied to the business school and got in. From there I took introductory courses in each department in the business school, and then decided where I could see myself continuing to learn. Management and Finance stuck out because of the class materials and the professors I had for the introductory courses. They showed me that it was a subject that I would like to pursue.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Darnall Hall with one roommate.
Sophomore: Kennedy Hall, which is also a dorm but more for upperclassmen. I had one roommate.
Junior: I was kind of an anomaly, but I lived in the Former Jesuit Residence in an apartment with five roommates.
Senior: I live off campus in a house that is about a 5-minute walk from campus with five roommates. The neighborhood is called The Cloisters.
What was your favorite living situation?
The apartment junior year. There were three rooms in the apartment itself, so I had a direct roommate. There was also a good group of guys in the apartment and it was extremely conveniently located.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on campus?
I have very minimal worries on campus. GUPD is very well respected and is always looking out for our well-being. The Georgetown neighborhood itself is also very safe in D.C., so I haven’t had to worry about too much. At the same time, like any big city, you always have to be aware of what area you’re going to at night and make sure that you’re with someone you know.
How was transitioning from your hometown in Dallas, TX to the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.?
It was definitely a big transition coming from a more suburban area to a big city. It was tough initially because I hadn’t been in that environment of constant hustle and bustle, at the same time it was something that I enjoyed. I like seeing and meeting new people. Georgetown is about two miles from the center of D.C., so you don’t necessarily feel like you’re constantly surrounded by big city life, but it’s still very accessible whenever you want to go in. It’s the best of both worlds.
Pros and cons of being located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.?
Pros: (1) D.C. is a very livable city compared to some of the other big cities, like New York. You don’t feel like you don’t have personal space. [The median household income in Washington, DC is about $75,500.]
(2) There is so much character in a lot of the D.C. neighborhoods. You can pretty much go to any spot in the city and they’ll have something that you’re looking for.
Cons: (1) Public transportation isn’t as good as I expected. There is a metro but it’s not very accessible to Georgetown because we don’t have a metro stop. You have to take a bus to the metro stop. Uber tends to be more popular with people just because it’s convenient.
(2) The cost of living is expensive. It’s not impossible to manage on a budget if you’re committed to it.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
At Georgetown specifically, as you get more involved in extracurriculars your weekends tend to get blocked off pretty quickly with things happening on and off campus. Generally, I like going into the city, whether it’s trying new restaurants or going to a Wizards or Nationals game. I also like the nightlife areas, like Adams Morgan is a popular area. There are also a lot of areas that are developing in the southern part of D.C., called the Wharf and the Southwest Waterfront, which have a bunch of shops, restaurants, and concert venues. I’ve been to a lot of concerts in D.C. that are a lot of fun. Upperclassmen will host things on campus in their apartments.
What kind of activities do you like to do with your clubs?
For the Club Tennis Team, we’ll have a couple of tournaments a semester during the weekend, so usually we’ll travel for that somewhere nearby in Virginia or Maryland. For the South Asian Society and the Hindu Students’ Association, we’ll have celebrations of cultural holidays. We also will have formals where we get dressed up, and those are on campus as well.
How happy are you with the weekend options at Georgetown? Is there anything you would change if you could?
In general, because of its location in D.C., it’s nice because you feel like you’re a little bit away from the city and you get very content staying on campus because the city is hard to access. I would change that we have more opportunities for people to get off campus without having to pay.
How did you meet your closest friends?
A mix of ways. I met people through clubs on campus, but I also met people spontaneously. I lived with a lot of really nice people on my freshman floor, so that was a great way to get to know people on campus. The closest friends I have I met through more social organizations and not the pre-professional groups.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Georgetown?
It’s a very good balance of everything. People love to enjoy themselves on campus, whether that’s in their clubs or just in friend groups. I think people know their limits in terms of [taking care of their schoolwork first], but they also will recognize that they have a week that’s pretty free academically and they’ll enjoy their free time.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think they mix pretty well. Georgetown is an open place and a lot of friend groups are so mixed that I think peoples’ identities and orientations are not just respected, but embraced. A lot of clubs and organizations on campus have been spearheading the work to make sure that people are informed about general things, like the different backgrounds people come from and the experiences they have, to the point where the campus is very understanding and embraces those differences and similarities. It’s honestly one of the most open and welcoming places I’ve encountered.
How strong is the South Asian community on campus?
I think it’s very strong. In terms of numbers, it’s not as large as some other places, but it’s extremely tight-knit. Almost everybody knows each other and people tend to stick together because of that common bond. [For the 2017-2018 academic year, about 9% of students were Asian.]
How would you describe the student body?
Extremely diverse. Georgetown is a place where you have a mix of people who have lived in the United States all their lives along with people who are coming to the States for their first time. You have people from all kinds of different family situations and different cultural backgrounds. It’s a very diverse place and I don’t think anybody’s experience coming in is the same. I think that’s the biggest asset of the school, it fosters a place where you can learn from everybody’s experiences because they’re going to have something different to contribute. [About 53% of students are White, 12.5% are international, and about 9% are Asian.]
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
The career center is more so the formalized channel for finding jobs and interviewing, while the alumni are a lot better for understanding their experiences in certain industries and field and using that information to go to the career center and figure out what path you want to pursue. Because we have alumni in so many different areas of work, both public and private, they are really useful in figuring out where you see yourself in a few years.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
The career center has been very helpful. I use them for resume workshops, on-campus interviews, mock interviews. The business school has an undergraduate career office as well. I’ve used both and they’re both very helpful.
Have you learned any computer programs or languages that will be helpful to you professionally?
The business school heavily uses Excel. There are a lot of classes where they focus more on the business programming languages, like Python and VBA.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew before about Georgetown when you entered as a freshman?
People at Georgetown are very accomplished, and, while it may seem tough at times to be at a place where you’re not at the top of the class, but there is a lot to benefit from those different experiences. It’s important to embrace the ups and downs in a place that challenges you like Georgetown. Going into my last semester I can say [the challenge] was worth it.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
If they’re visiting during the school year, there’s something called Chaplains’ Tea that happens every Tuesday at 3PM in Healy Hall. It’s a time where the chaplains from all the different religious groups on campus are available to talk. It embodies Georgetown’s approach to interreligious dialogue and making sure people know that they have the chaplains for both spiritual advice and general life advice. It’s a unique approach to religion and faith that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Reasons to attend Georgetown:
1) The diverse student population and the different experiences they bring to the table. [About 53% of students are White, 13% are international, and about 9% are Asian.]
2) The balance that the school fosters. It’s a tight-knit community across campus, whether that’s in academics or extracurriculars. It’s small enough that you get a chance to make those meaningful friendships, but big enough to where you’re not necessarily feeling like you’ve exhausted all of your options.
3) The location. D.C. is a great city to be in. You have access to it when you want, and you can stay on campus when you want to take a break from it.
Reasons to not attend Georgetown:
1) This is generic, and not necessarily a reason not to come, but something to keep in mind. Georgetown is a place that challenges you and you will be stressed out at times between the course workload and the extracurricular workload. Be ready for the challenge and the ups and downs that come with it. There’s a lot expected of you, but you have the resources to make that happen.