Rick Gandhi ’04
B.S. in Economics and Information Technology, 2004
M.B.A., the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 2010
Research Analyst, Investment Management, Fidelity Investments, Boston, Mass.
Parikshit “Rick” Gandhi grew up in India, in the city of Patna, and his family now lives in the small town of Rourkela. He flew to America to attend Guilford College, and his story has been golden ever since. After graduating from Guilford in 2004, Rick went to work in New York City for the global financial services firm Morgan Stanley. In 2008 he enrolled in the internationally acclaimed Booth School of Business, a graduate school at the University of Chicago, where he earned the master’s of business administration in June 2010. He now serves as a research analyst for the prestigious investment firm Fidelity Investments in Boston, Massachusetts.
Quite a journey for a young lad from India? Rick credits Guilford College with making it happen: “There was never a doubt in my mind that Guilford was the place for me to accomplish my goals,” he says. He says that he and Guilford College were a good match from the very beginning. “Even from the first days, I knew that instead of the Guilford experience being one of ‘Oh, I’m a foreigner here; they won’t listen to me,’ it was the opposite. They were especially interested in my thoughts because I was a foreigner.”
He adds that Guilford fosters an atmosphere of support: “There are so many people among the faculty and staff — as well as other students — who are always there to support you, to talk to you, even to invite you out to eat. Of course, you have to make the effort to learn the culture and to fit in, just as Americans would if they went to India.”
Rick says that after high school, he had several options for schools in America — very large schools as well as small ones like Guilford College, but large was not the answer. “If Indian students go to an American university with 40,000 students, there’ll likely be 100 other Indian students there. And then the tendency is to be with those Indians, to stay within your comfort zone. But if you’re going to study outside your own country, you’re seeking an education and what I call the softer skills of life — making new friends, learning about different cultures. At Guilford, you’ll step out of your comfort zone … and reap the benefits.”
He adds that the work at Guilford College was significantly different from that of his high school in India. “In my high school, 100 percent of the grades come from examinations. So you can take it easy till the exam time, study enough to ace the exam and then forget everything you’ve learned. Not at Guilford.” He explains: “Guilford’s small classes mean it is impossible to hide. You’re engaged, always, in class. The professors listen to everyone, and the classes are fun. You never fall asleep from listening to a dull lecture! At Guilford, you’re constantly learning.”
That kind of learning prepared him for his job at Morgan Stanley: “My Guilford economics classes dealt directly with the content of that job … and how to think and analyze. In fact, whatever led me to perform well in that job came from Guilford College.” The same goes for his graduate studies. Rick says that the writing skills he gained at Guilford were especially helpful, and overall he always felt completely competent. “I wasn’t surprised [at being successful in grad school], because my Guilford College professor with a doctorate from Stanford University said I’d do well at any graduate school in the country. That builds great confidence.”
Naturally, he has fond memories of Guilford College, including “wonderful times with friendly professors” and his golf team. “In 2007 five of us from the golf team, now scattered around the country, flew in to Greensboro to hang out together and to play on several of the local courses. It was great fun.”