Shruti Khetan, MSF '18, recently sat down with us to detail how she made the most of her time in graduate school - and how her efforts and extracuriculars are paying off.
Tell us a little more about your background.
I was born and brought up in the financial capital of India and was raised in a business family. Money and investing were common breakfast conversation topics. As a high energy child, I tagged along with my grandfather at several annual general meetings of large publicly listed companies. I did not understand much then, but it laid a solid foundation for my love for the markets.
I have an undergraduate degree in Business Management with a major in finance. I also pursued a Master in Accountancy and worked at India Infoline, an investment research firm and among the top seven conglomerates in India. Working there developed my interest in equity research.
To gain some global experience, I decided to pursue a Master in Finance from the Stuart School of Business. At Stuart, I was involved in four major activities apart from academics. I was the Fund Manager of Stuart Investments, a student run, long-only, equity endowment fund and managed $750,000 AUM. Apart from preparing quarterly reports, I trained a team of 40 students to make stock recommendations. I served as the Finance Advisor on the Finance Board, Student Government Association at the university and approved budgets to the tune of $200K for student orgs. I represented my school at the McGill International Portfolio Challenge, an asset management competition and stood second globally. I also competed in the the CFA Research Challenge, a global equity research competition and the team was in the top 10 out of 440 teams at the Americas final level.
I interned with Barchart, a fintech data solutions company in Chicago, as a data analyst for six months. One of the projects I worked on was building a commodities database to identify automation avenues over APIs to enter the 300M commodity research market. I also worked on a short project at Health IQ, a startup in the San Francisco Bay Area. I had only heard about the vibrant startup culture, but now, after getting a chance to work directly with the Director of FP&A, the CFO and other highly motivated individuals, I experienced it!
Outside of work, I like to write. Two of my articles on pre-IPO offerings by startups under the Reg A+ have been published in the Modern Trader magazine. I co-authored the Chicago Fed Letter in 2018. I speak English, Hindi and French. I am also very passionate about hiking and have hiked in four continents.
What drew you to study at the Stuart School of Business?
The Stuart School M.S. in Finance program is ranked 5th in the U.S. Stuart has a very unique course offering and I had heard a lot about the outstanding faculty. I was drawn to the investment management concentration and the university location. Chicago, the land of futures, is among the top financial hubs in the U.S. Stuart encouraged students to participate in various competitions including the CFA Research Challenge and McGill International Portfolio Challenge. I believe these competitions are a great way to apply theoretical knowledge gained through the course. Cherry on the cake, I received a scholarship!
what motivated you to take advantage of opportunities and how did you work these into your busy academic schedule?
There was a buzz on campus about Stuart Investments, the CFA Research Challenge, and the McGill International Portfolio Challenge. I heard from seniors and faculty members about the importance of these and I was determined to participate. I also love networking, attending conferences, volunteering but it became increasingly difficult to manage everything together. Sleepless nights and caffeine marked those days. However, it’s so important to have an effective time management schedule and to take advantage of the strong support offered by the outstanding faculty, which eventually made everything fall into place.
As you think back on your time at Stuart, what experience stands out as most transformative for you?
I think being a part of Stuart Investments all four semesters stands out as most transformative for me. I started out as a sector leader from the first semester itself and got a chance to present at the board meeting early on. Later, I was promoted to Fund Manager. Not only did I get a chance to train students to pick stocks but also was a part of the quarterly board meetings. The learning was substantial. Learning from mentors like, Professor Rybak and other industry professionals, was an added bonus. I certainly grew as a person and it further developed my interest into equity research. I also got a chance to apply all the learnings while on the CFA Research Challenge team.
How did you learn to network? How did you find networking events?
I realized early on that networking is indeed the name of the game, which was emphasized by the Stuart CMC and ACE program. Every person out there had some advice to offer. It took a few events and some informational meetings to get over some nervousness and now, my confidence is skyrocketing.
At ACE, the instructors highlighted some websites where you could look up relevant events. The ones I used regularly included eventbrite.com, meetup.com, CFA Society Chicago events, 100 Women in Finance events.
You just graduated in May 2018, but have already done so much. What are you most proud of professionally?
It was a great honor to co-author the 2018 Chicago Fed Letter titled ‘Digital Innovation, Generational Shifts, and the Transformation of Financial Services’.
What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would like to start out as an equity analyst and go on to becoming a successful portfolio manager. Maybe start my own company a few years down the line.
What advice do you have for students?
Networking, Networking, Networking! Can’t stress enough on the importance of networking. It is going to be overwhelming at first, but don’t give up!