08 May 2019


Fellowships Enable Students
to Broaden Their Impact

Rishabh Agarwal (MBA 2020)

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Rishabh Agarwal (MBA 2020)

As a high-frequency trader in Chicago, Rishabh Agarwal (MBA 2020) worked the American markets from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., then the Asian markets from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. But something was missing in his life, so between shifts he coached a girls’ JV high school basketball team and ran a tutoring program. “I realized I was happier doing that and wanted to be in education full time. That’s what I’m passionate about,” says Agarwal, who took a leap of faith and landed at Success Academy, a network of charter schools in New York.

Working on the data analytics team, he brought to the nonprofit his solid background in behavioral economics from Emory University and his financial acumen from his trading days. Agarwal’s goal was to use data and technology to help make the schools and administrators more effective. He also wanted to understand the human side of education, and after shadowing principals in different schools, Agarwal became one of Success Academy’s leadership fellows. He started by teaching fourth grade—“It was definitely harder than trading,” he laughs—and eventually became a middle school principal.

The experience helped Agarwal realize that he needed to pursue an MBA to broaden the impact he wants to have, possibly in the ed-tech space. “I think a floodgate is about to open where education reform is going to become exponentially more effective. I want to be part of that,” says Agarwal, who is grateful for the Matt Wallach (MBA 1998) Fellowship and MBA Class of 1940 Fellowship that enable him to further his dream.

“My fellowships have provided me with the opportunity to pursue my goal and never have to second-guess my career path. That is a rare, rare privilege.”

Photo credit: Susan Young

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