Class of 2021 Senior Spotlight: Amy Bangad

Adding Value: A Mentor, a Student Leader, and a Future Woman on Wall Street
By Claire Donahue ('22, RBS/HC/DRC), HC Media Team Lead Features Developer

Amy has an approachability and a steady calmness that instantly makes others feel at ease. It is exactly why she has served as a Mentor-in-Residence at the Honors College for the past three years, helping to guide first-year students through the challenges of adjusting to university life. Through her time as a student, she has served in multiple leadership and mentorship roles, pushing herself to learn and grow, making lifelong friendships, and continuing to discern what opportunities “add value.”

Does this add value? This is the question she has constantly asked in both her professional and personal life. Although her friends may joke about this question, she says that this mindset has been quite important through her years in college. Her two criteria for things that add value: 

Does it make me happy, and does it make me a little uncomfortable and push me to do new things? “That’s where your horizon of potential expands so much more. Yesterday you couldn’t do this. Now today you can do a little bit more. And slowly and slowly your capabilities and comfortability increase. There are skills to be gained and transferable experiences everywhere.”

She tells me, “There are only 4 years that you get in college, so you should gain as many experiences as you can and get the most value out of it.”

Amy, who has an unwaveringly technical mind that is naturally expressed in her double major in finance and computer science and a minor in math, shares her philosophical approach as she talks of extracting value, yet she is the living embodiment of someone who has added tremendous value to the Honors College community.

As a senior in high school, it was her Honors College acceptance that drew her to Rutgers. She saw the Honors College showcase and such genuine camaraderie and connection between the HC students. She decided this was exactly the place for her. “You have all the diversity and opportunities of a really big school, but you also have that sense of belonging in a smaller community.”

When asked what her favorite part of Rutgers is, she says, “I like that you can get anything you want out of it in terms of the communities you belong to. You can find your little niche because there are so many people and so many opportunities.” She emphasizes that the mobility found at Rutgers is not easy to come by at other universities.

Amy highlighted all the ways she has grown from a social perspective in college. She developed not only more academic knowledge but also life and leadership experience that helped her to become more confident. As a freshman, Amy was majorly impacted by her own Mentor-in-Residence. That is why her biggest pivot point of all was becoming a Mentor-in-Residence herself. In that role, she was able to gain a platform to help other students and give back to the community that built her up.

Over the years, Amy has also served as an HC Undergraduate Student Affairs Intern, an SAB Professional Development committee member, a Professional Development Council member, a Civic Responsibility mentor, Lead Mentor-in-Residence, and more. In Rutgers Quantitative Finance Club she served as both treasurer and vice president. She has focused a lot of her time on professional development as it relates to mentorship, working closely with the dean for professional development to identify the needs of HC students and helping to bring professional development resources to them.

“I became a part of a network of student leaders who all had such diverse experiences and so much value to add. Learning from and being friends with them led to a lot of personal growth.”

Amy has truly embraced an interdisciplinary approach to her education. As a student in both Rutgers Business School and the School of Arts and Science, she is driven and curious, fascinated by machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the way her areas of study overlap. Working on Wall Street post-grad, Amy will join Citigroup as a Quantitative Analyst. Enthusiastically, she explains to me that her finance role has tons of computer science and math applications from developing pricing tools to creating algorithms. “From a nerdy perspective, I am very excited about that,” she jokes.

Over the past year, Amy has missed the hustle and bustle of campus life, but she has also taken this time to focus on gratitude for everything she has. She has realized the importance of taking breaks and doing the things that genuinely make her happy. Like many others, she has also realized that so much can change without notice and that the universe is not obligated to keep going the way it is. It has inspired her to focus on keeping in touch with her mentees, friends, and peers in new ways virtually. As the Honors College Alumni Society Co-Chair, she is working hard to maintain a strong HC network to help other seniors in her class transition to alumni status.

Her parting piece of wisdom? “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out to people —especially upperclassmen. They are more than happy to help.

Nothing you learn in the classroom is going to make up for real first-hand experiences from people who you can learn from. That’s the key,” she says, “Use the social capital that you have around you to help you figure out what your path is.”

It is abundantly clear to anyone who has had the good fortune of crossing paths with Amy, that her professional path will continue to be just as impressive as her academic and leadership path. With her bold curiosity, knowledge, and purpose she will continue to add tremendous value wherever she goes.