In high school, Ish Panwar used her talents in public speaking and leadership to run a non-profit organization teaching those skills to young adults. That approach to life – simultaneously ambitious and concerned with helping others – served her well at UConn, where she forged connections with mentors, developed new skills, and discovered that, for such a big university, UConn has a close-knit, supportive field. After graduation, she heads off to New York City, to put her skills to use in the finance industry.
Why did you choose UConn?
I will always remember my visit to campus as being the moment that I decided UConn was the place for me. Not only was campus buzzing with opportunity, but instantly, I felt uniquely connected with the students I met during my visit and resonated with many their experiences. In conversations with faculty during my visit, I was very pleased with how invested they were in my experience here and the guidance they already offered me. It was a very spiritual decision for me in the end, I felt a sense of belonging at UConn that I did not feel at any other University. Looking back, I could not be happier with my experience here and how it has set me up for continued success in the future.
What’s your major or field of study, and what drew you to it?
During high school, I was very passionate about public speaking and leadership. I spent my high school years running a non-profit organization that aimed to equip young adults with public speaking and leadership skills. Though I was quite passionate about the cause, I quickly learned that running such an organization is not an easy task. My biggest failure at the time was not having a proper understanding of how important finances were to keep the organization afloat. Following that experience, I was eminent on majoring in finance in college to learn about the role of money in ideas such as mine, and the broader economy at large.
Did you have a favorite professor or class?
It’s hard to pick just one. I would say that all my professors and classes at UConn were very meaningful and memorable for me. I can say with full confidence that each professor had an impact on my journey, and I would not have landed at my current position without their patience, guidance, and investment in me. One of the best parts of being a student is realizing how truly invested the professors and faculty is in students’ education. In every moment that I have sought their time for extra help, advice, or even just to get to know them better, they have welcomed me with open arms. I will forever be grateful.
What’s one thing that surprised you about UConn?
How close-knit the UConn community is. At first, attending such a big school I was afraid that it would be more difficult to meet people and find my place on campus, but over time I realized how small the campus community is and how easy it is to meet people. As I walked through the business school, I would run into so many people I know! While UConn is a massive campus, the community is small and close-knit making the UConn experience so fulfilling.
What are your plans after graduation/receiving your degree?
Following graduation, I will be starting as a Private Equity Analyst at Isos Capital Management in New York City. I am very excited for the future and grateful to have the necessary tools to navigate life beyond UConn.
How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?
UConn has provided me with much more than the necessary education to be successful in the next phase of my life. Particularly, the many experiential-learning opportunities I was able to gain during my time as a student gave me insights into life after college. Through such experiences, UConn exposed me little by little to what I can expect and what I can being doing early to prepare myself. As I approach the next chapter of my life now, I am not fearful or anxious of what could be. Instead, I have a sense of what to expect, and the tools to handle any challenge that may come my way. Most importantly, UConn has given me the network to ensure that my success continues beyond college. Having meet the students, faculty, and alumni during my time as a student gives me the wings I need to fly. Moreso, it provides a safety net if things go wrong as I know the community I have met here will forever be by my side. I am ready to make UConn proud in the next chapter of my life.
Any advice for incoming students?
Upon arrival, discover mentors. They could be upperclassmen, faculty, alumni, or anyone else but place an emphasis on finding a mentor during your time in college. Not only will those people help you navigate difficult situations or decisions during college, but they will offer their own experiences to help you learn about your passions and interests. With so much opportunity at UConn, it is hard to choose which is best for you and how it will help shape your future but having mentors will allow you to ask others for help and guidance to make those decisions and take full opportunity of your time at UConn. In conversations with those mentors, do not be afraid to admit what you do not know, what makes you afraid, or what you aspire for in the future as you will find that being open and transparent will lead to more meaningful conversations and help you grow into your full potential.
What’s one thing everyone should do during their time at UConn?
Attend at least one basketball game! Even if you’re not a sports fan, being around the UConn community in such an environment makes you realize that outside of your life as a student you are a part of something much bigger. Seeing so many parents, alumni, and even future huskies at those games makes me realize that even when I leave UConn, the community will always be with me. I have never felt more of a sense of belonging and pride than around UConn fans! While the location in which we cheer for UConn may change, the passion and dedication we have to UConn will live on forever.
What will always make you think of UConn?
The people. As I move forward, I am not only walking away with a degree but with a massive community of my closest friends, dearest advisors, and treasured mentors. I am excited to take them along in my journey, and as I continue to remain close to them all, I will think back on my time as a student at UConn. More importantly, I am eager to pay it forward as an alumna and help other students just as so many have done for me—which will keep me thinking about UConn too.