Focus on Finance
- © 2017 Tamzin B. Smith
Shreyas is taking every opportunity at Washington College to learn about American business and finance.
Shreyas Suresh traces his fascination with finance back to his childhood in Mumbai, when his father’s bedtime stories featured not fairy tales, but stock market news. His early passion has blossomed at Washington College into a focus on microfinance.
“I’ve seen people in India who don’t have access to basic banking,” Suresh says. “There are a lot of people who are talented but don’t have access to resources. Just trying to bridge that gap between the knowledge and the talent and the resources—that’s what I want to do.”
He came a long way to do it, landing in America for the first time the day before freshman orientation. “Coming from a city of 20 million people to a town of 5,000 people—it was a big change,” he says. “It took me a while to adjust, but now I love the place.”
Majoring in business management and economics with concentrations in finance and accounting, Suresh has settled in with the signature WC support.
“What I love most are the relationships that we’re able to form with anybody at any level in the College,” he explains.
“If I have a question about my visa requirements, I can just walk into the [Global Education Office] and say, ‘I need help with this.’ I’ve had dinner with a professor at his home. Mr. [Thomas] Crouse, who’s on the board, invited me and a friend to his house in New Hampshire to talk about our experiences as international students. That’s something you would never find at a bigger school.”
As early as his freshman year, Suresh found his purpose in Enactus, an organization of students using entrepreneurship to solve social issues. He now serves as its president. “We have this project called Soap With Hope. Initially we were making soap in the dorm rooms and selling it. The end goal was to raise money for a trip to Haiti so we could establish a soap business and help with sanitation there. Now the people at the Kent Center, who are developmentally disabled, make and package all of it. We see how happy they are to make the soap, and we’re giving them a source of income. That makes me feel like I’m doing something important.”
In January, as part of a small group of business and economics students, Suresh traveled with then-President Sheila Bair to meet the Oracle of Omaha. “Meeting Warren Buffet was an incredible experience,” he says. “We actually got to sit down with him for lunch, and we got to learn so much. His question-answer session was incredible.”
Not one to wait for opportunity to find him, Suresh has big plans for his senior year. “I’ll be going to the Philippines this summer for an internship, an eight-week program where I’ll be placed with a grassroots NGO that works in economic development. I’ll help women get small loans to set up businesses. And I applied for a Cater grant for an internship in Ghana in December. After people receive a loan, I’ll work with them to make sure their businesses are successful.”
With scholarship funding, Suresh has made the world his classroom, from advising overseas to planning in Kent County, where he is the student representative on the Economic Development Commission. “The most learning I’ve gotten is through internships,” he says. “I’ve applied for a lot of scholarships, and I know if I didn’t get that money, I wouldn’t be having these experiences.”
President, WC Enactus
Enactus U.S. Service Leadership Award
Co-Chief Investment Officer, Corporate Governance, Brown Advisory
Student-Managed Investment Fund
Project Director, Soap with Hope
Treasurer, Phi Delta Theta
Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows
Omicron Delta Upsilon International Economics Honor Society
Sigma Beta Delta International Business Management Honor Society
Sustainable Finance Colloquy
Student Member, Kent County Economic Development Commission
Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting 2016
Q&A with Warren Buffet 2017