A self-proclaimed “go-getter,” Deepika Senthilnathan showed strength in economics and math growing up in suburban Connecticut. During summers, she shadowed a financial adviser and developed a desire to pursue a career in finance. Senthilnathan was determined to attend a university that provided a collaborative and supportive environment within a rigorous academic program. She found those qualities in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Even as Senthilnathan pushed herself to complete her undergraduate degree in just three years, graduating in May 2020, she managed to participate in internships with BlackRock and Deutsche Bank. She also found a promising future in a specialized area of finance. This May, Senthilnathan will graduate with her master’s in quantitative finance and risk analytics.

“As a field, finance is tough for people to grasp,” she said, “but quantitative finance is a tool that can help investors, managers, and the general public to engage more intelligently with investing in our future and to build better portfolios.”

Senthilnathan’s college experience has benefited from a proactive approach to forming new connections — on campus and off — and building a network that has enriched her education and will serve her well in her career.

“Business at RPI is very unique when compared to the program at a typical business school,” Senthilnathan said. “Every day, you can have interactions with biologists, or chemical engineers, or gamers, or philosophers. I think that’s just an exceptional experience that has enabled me to think about certain practices and certain ideas in a different light. It’s proof that the curriculum here in Lally, whether it be qualitative or quantitative, is robust and it’s definitely helped me become the person I am today.”

In addition to her educational foundation, Senthilnathan’s Rensselaer experience was shaped by participation in clubs and activities that provided unique leadership opportunities.

As director of programming of the Women at Rensselaer Mentorship Program, Senthilnathan organized events that encouraged women throughout campus to connect with one another. An active participant in the student-run Roebling Investment Club, she joined other finance-minded students in applying what they learned in the classroom to different competitions and challenges. With the Red and White student-alumni organization, Senthilnathan helped to organize this year’s virtual homecoming.

Her most rewarding work was as a resident assistant (RA) tasked with leading first-year students during the pandemic. Guiding younger students, even in times of social distancing, she stressed the importance of networking.

“I primarily became an RA because I was interested in giving back and helping students out when they needed it,” Senthilnathan said. “With the public health guidelines in place because of COVID-19, it’s very different now with some clubs online and some in person. But I always tell students that it’s important that they join groups on campus within these clubs and meet with people however they can so that they gain an understanding of what the RPI community is really like.”

This fall, Senthilnathan will work as an alternatives analyst for BlackRock in New York City.