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This story is part of our news archives, prior to July 2010.

spring break in new orleans

Soham Banerji ’10

Hometown: Family origins in New Delhi and Calcutta, India. Lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for 16 years.

Majors: Economics and International Studies

After Mac: Research analyst with policy research firm Optimal Solutions Group in the Washington, D.C., area.

Special interest: Microfinance and international economic development, with study abroad in Bangladesh, where he worked with Grameen Bank volunteers. Grameen Bank broke new ground in finance, giving credit to the enterprising poor without requiring collateral.

Micro-finance leadership: Banerji was one of 50 student micro-finance leaders chosen from around the world to attend the April Africa-Middle East Regional Micro-Credit Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. There he discussed issues such as field training for borrowers and ethics in lending, and spent a day with Nobel Peace Prize-laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank. Support to attend the conference was provided by a Macalester Travel Grant, President Rosenberg, the Economics Dept., his parents, and a scholarship from MFI Connect, which gave scholarships to five students attending from the U.S.

Finding a job in a tough economy: “Perseverance, networking, and a bit of luck.” After an enriching summer internship in D.C. with Dexis Consulting Group under CEO Mihir Desai ’89, Banerji decided to move to Washington after graduation, with or without a job. With the help of the Career Development Center, his professors and classmates, and the MacDirect database, he contacted dozens of alumni in Washington. For two weeks before spring break, he emailed personal notes, seeking to set up meetings with D.C.-based alumni. He is grateful to economics professors Sukhatme and Egge, his friends, and his parents for encouraging this networking blitz.

Every day of spring break he met with three or four alumni to ask advice and discuss job prospects and internships. Brandon Newbury ’06 and Erin Twamley ’09 were extremely helpful connections to Optimal Solutions. He considers his airfare to D.C. his best $350 investment yet.

The results: “It was through these meetings that I got my first and second round interviews, and it worked out brilliantly. I couldn’t have asked for more! It certainly took some initiative on my part, but also a whole lot of luck as well.”

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