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Student & Alumni Spotlight of the Month

January 2014

Avi Nagaraja (BS '12)

Avi headshot 2014
“Global travel was an essential part of my education,” expresses Stern alumnus Avi Nagaraja. “Visiting different countries and interacting with people who have varied world views helped me learn to communicate effectively with others and gave me a better understanding of the global interconnections of business.”

Avi’s interest in diverse cultures began in middle school when he participated in international soccer tournaments. “Seeing the uniqueness of each region made me realize at a young age that I wanted to explore the world further,” he says. “One of the reasons I chose Stern is because of its emphasis on global business and its encouragement of international study. As part of my academic program, I had the opportunity to live and study in three of the world’s key financial centers: New York, London, and Hong Kong.”

After starting with three semesters of coursework on Stern’s main campus, Avi immersed himself in two very different international study experiences. In London, he continued taking business classes from the Stern curriculum while also studying British history and culture alongside fellow NYU students. “I enjoyed visiting museums in London and throughout Europe, mingling with the locals to hear their perspectives on world issues, and of course, attending English soccer games!”

After a semester in London, Avi sought to learn on yet another continent. “I wanted to experience living in both Europe and Asia since there is a clear dichotomy between the two in terms of growth and future prospects. I chose Hong Kong, a gateway city to China and one of the fastest growing economic centers in the world.” Through Stern’s International Business Exchange Program (IBEX), Avi enrolled in Hong Kong University during the fall semester of his junior year. “IBEX injects students directly into the local culture,” he explains. “By living, studying, and spending time with local residents, I learned about their lifestyles as well as some not-so-overt facts about their culture. I also met other exchange students from around the world, with whom I formed lasting friendships.”

While studying in Hong Kong, Avi volunteered through his university to help teach English to middle school students. “What stood out the most is how driven the students were. They set themselves lofty goals at a young age and were sincerely determined to improve their English. It reiterated for me the importance of embracing learning opportunities and continuing to expand my knowledge beyond my own borders. My experiences, both in New York and around the globe, have taught me to always be open to new ideas and sparked a broad set of career goals that include finance and investing, an interest in emerging markets, as well as a strong desire to work abroad.”