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Undergraduate | BPE in Practice: Vidula Joshi, BPE '14

Vidula Joshi, BPE '14

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in the Philadelphia area to parents who immigrated from India. As a child, I had the opportunity to visit family in India a number of times, and I was struck by the economic disparity I observed between suburban PA and Bombay. This sparked my interest in economics and politics. 

What is your current position?

I am the Chief of Staff for Bike & Scooter Policy at Lyft.

Can you guide us through your career trajectory?

Immediately upon graduating from BPE, I joined the Strategy & Operations practice at Deloitte Consulting, based in NYC. I stayed there for about 3 years before taking a job with the New York City Economic Development Corporation as a Project Manager for their Smart & Sustainable Cities team. There, I managed a portfolio of city investments in growing the local manufacturing sector. In December 2019 I joined the Public Policy team at Lyft, specifically working on policy for bikes and scooters (Lyft owns Citi Bike and other major bikeshare systems). While I was happy with my decision to pursue management consulting as my first full-time job, I realized pretty quickly that I was interested in roles that fit more squarely with my interest in economic development. In my role at Lyft, I have the opportunity to shape public-private partnerships for shared micromobility and work on projects that have a real impact on the urban built environment.

How was your study abroad experience?

It was great! In my year, we were required to spend our full sophomore year in London and the junior fall semester in Shanghai. Learning about the economic development of the European Union and Asia while living in those locations was immensely valuable and added a whole other dimension to my educational experience. I also gained a lot from the engaging classes I took at SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) and the University of London. I wish I had done an extra semester abroad through IBEX or some other non-NYU program.

What is your advice for current BPE Students?

1) While you can, take the opportunity to explore subject areas, topics, and experiences outside your comfort zone. 2) Relatedly, take a class (or two or three) that "scratches an academic itch" and isn't part of your main course requirements - like an art or music or history class, for example. 3) Don't stress too much about recruiting! You will eventually end up where you belong.

When you look back on your time at Stern, how did the BPE experience influence your career decisions and professional development?

I am grateful to have gotten so much exposure to other cultures and countries through my BPE experience. I was very interested in economic development going into it, and that thread has continued through my career to this day. I loved the coursework and small group discussions that led to a very enriching intellectual experience overall.

Vidula Joshi

Vidula Joshi