2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Aditya Darshan Gandhi, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Aditya Darshan Gandhi

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

A focused, hard-working, resilient, reliable, intellectually curious leader with a passion for stocks and soccer.”

Fun fact about yourself: I played soccer for Manchester United’s academy in the under-14 and under-16 categories and FC Barcelona’s FCBescola academy in the under-18 category in Mumbai, India.

Hometown: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

High School: Lilavatibai Podar High School (ISC)

Major: Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance as well as an Additional Major in Economics and Statistics (Quantitative Economics and Econometrics)

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Investment Analysis

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: (

Extracurricular Activities and Leadership Roles:

  • President of the Research and Asset Management Academy, January 2020 to May 2021
  • Member of the Research and Asset Management Academy, August 2018 to January 2020
  • Vice-President of the Tartan Student Fund, January 2020 to May 2021
  • Portfolio Manager of the Tartan Student Fund’s Industrials Sector Team, August 2019 to January 2020
  • Analyst of the Tartan Student Fund’s Consumer Discretionary Sector Team, August 2018 to August 2019
  • Teaching Assistant for 70-391: Finance taught by Professor James Albertus, January 2020 to May 2020 (Spring 2020)
  • Teaching Assistant for 70-495: Corporate Finance taught by Professor Matthew Denes, January 2021 to May 2021 (Spring 2021)

Academic Awards and Honors:

  • Tepper School of Business Dean’s List: Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020
  • Inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society for Economics, April 2020
  • Inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Honor Society for Business, October 2020

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Equity Research Summer Intern covering Healthcare Technology & Distribution at Wolfe Research, LLC, located in New York City, New York, June 2020 to August 2020 (Summer 2020)
  • Equity Research Summer Intern at Kotak Securities Co. Ltd. located in Mumbai, India, June 2018 to August 2018 (Summer 2018)
  • Asset Management Summer Intern at Kotak Asset Management Co. Ltd. located in Mumbai, India, June 2018 to August 2018 (Summer 2018)

Where will you be working after graduation? Post-graduation, I will be working as an Equity Research Associate at Wolfe Research, LLC, located in New York City, New York.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Burton Hollifield, under whom I learned Investment Analysis, is my favorite professor. Professor Hollifield utilizes illustrative examples, often drawn from recent real-world data, to explain concepts. Furthermore, Professor Hollifield supplements his lectures with pre-lecture videos and slides to ensure that his students acquire a good grasp of the material before attending lectures. Moreover, he tailors his course to real-world events that occur in financial markets.

When I studied Investment Analysis under Professor Hollifield in the spring of 2020, he dedicated a few lectures to discussing and understanding the volatility in financial markets induced by the Coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, I appreciate how Professor Hollifield’s homework assignments and examinations test the application of course material to real-world data. Outside of class, Professor Hollifield is always willing to answer questions that go above and beyond his course material, discuss projects, research, and financial markets, and give academic and career advice. Lastly, as faculty advisor to the Tartan Student Fund, Professor Hollifield has worked closely with me to implement the initiatives of rebalancing and reweighting our portfolio to maximize Sharpe ratio, initiating weekly updating of recommendations and watching over the Tartan Student Fund Summer Analyst Program. He also supported our strategic initiatives of developing a website for our student investment fund and expanding coverage by splitting up teams into more granular subsectors. I have been able to rely on Professor Hollifield to brainstorm potential equity investment ideas, understand movements in financial markets more profoundly, and to get a different perspective on market movements.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I gained from studying business is that attention to detail and focusing on fundamentals are key while considering outcomes and the bigger picture simultaneously. Irrespective of the nature, features, and life-cycle stage of the business, solving problems boils down to reverting to the basics and examining issues empirically. It is crucial to ensure that you don’t neglect minor information since it might significantly impact outcomes and the bigger picture in the long-run.

It is also vital to analyze problems from different perspectives, consider the international implications of your business decisions in today’s global economy, and extensively evaluate the long-term consequences of your business decisions through scenario analysis and sensitivity analysis. Business is fraught with ambiguity and vicissitudes. This is because business leaders are often forced to make decisions based on incomplete or unavailable data, which often leads to uncertain, imperfect, and non-optimal outcomes. However, in order to truly scrutinize and solve an issue, business leaders need to develop a comprehensive and profound understanding of their business environment, the limited information available, and resources at hand. They do this by rationalizing and logically thinking about every aspect of the problem and weighing their options before making calculated decisions.

Solving business problems also requires being a lifelong learner. Since the business world is dynamic, evolving, and evolutionary, it will render your skills obsolete if you don’t keep up with it. Only those business leaders who are intellectually curious, and motivated to learn and continually innovate will succeed. The most successful businesses are run by business leaders with a thirst for learning and a passion for gaining knowledge.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?

1. Business is a broad and extensive area of study. Learning various business concepts equips business majors with an inclusive skillset and a knowledge base to enter a wide variety of industries. Irrespective of the type of career or market you operate in, business is truly applicable to every realm or field. Therefore, it is essential to leverage every opportunity to learn and keep exploring. Business involves constant learning since markets are always moving, industry norms are ever-changing, and there are limitless events and cases to analyze. It is also crucial to always have an open mind, be willing to learn different concepts, and learn how to adapt and apply or implement these concepts to the industry where you want to operate, since every sector has its own unique functions.

2. It is vital to explore all your options for your business career in the near-future that commences after completing your undergraduate business degree. More importantly, avoid falling into the trap of following the herd and focusing entirely on the two major possibilities of financial services (investment banking, in particular) or consulting. Seek out opportunities to see what other areas of business have to offer and gauge your interests. I highly encourage any student to decipher whether they are genuinely interested in an industry, what is most important to them, whether they consider the nature of the work fulfilling, and whether they see themselves being in an industry in the long-term.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? In my experience, the most surprising aspect of majoring in business is the tremendous importance of networking and interpersonal skills. Since business decisions are made by individuals and not corporate entities, networking, identifying your target audience, and tailoring your message to your target audience are crucial in order to persuade, convince, and influence decision-makers. The connections you make with every individual you encounter, whether in a formal or informal setting, are vital to your future, career, and reputation. The connections you make and the network you build are an investment since you never know whether a connection that you make today could be significant in the future.

Although networking might feel awkward and unnatural initially, that first cold call can eventually turn into a meaningful mentorship and even an internship or job opportunity. It is essential to treat networking as a two-way stream that facilitates the exchange of values, experience, and guidance. It is imperative that you reciprocate the advice you receive, and I hope that I can pay the assistance I received forward whenever I’m presented with an opportunity to do so. I’m incredibly grateful to the Carnegie Mellon University and the Tepper School of Business community because it produces leaders in every industry, enabling students to have integral opportunities to network, gain exposure, and learn from alumni who are always eager to engage with undergraduates.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m most proud of having served as the Vice-President of the Tartan Student Fund from January 2020 until my graduation in May 2021. Working my way up from serving as an analyst helped me gain not only valuable equity research and investing skills, but also efficient management and articulate communication skills. Furthermore, my journey with the Tartan Student Fund enabled me to foster and expand my professional network by engaging and networking with underclassmen, upperclassmen, and Carnegie Mellon University alumni working in the investing industry. It also provided me with a platform that facilitates learning from these alumni’s invaluable industry experience. Moreover, mentorship opportunities to train analysts, assistant portfolio managers, and portfolio managers in stock screening and picking, equity research, financial statement analysis, valuation and financial modeling, and portfolio management helped me repay my mentors by paying their guidance forward and made my overall experience personally fulfilling.

Additionally, my initiatives of initiating weekly updating of recommendations and watchlists, weekly coverage of portfolio holdings, and the Tartan Student Fund Summer Analyst Program in the summer of 2020 were professionally fulfilling since they lent augmented credibility to our student investment fund. Lastly, the Tartan Student Fund’s returns of ~23.5% compared to the S&P 500’s returns of ~15.2%, representing an outperformance of ~8.3%, from September 2020 to January 2021 during the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as our initiatives to rebalance and reweight our portfolio holdings to maximize the Sharpe ratio, and develop a website for our student investment fund. We also expanded coverage by splitting up teams into more granular subsectors (for example, splitting up Airlines, Aerospace & Defense, and Chemicals from the Industrials Sector Team or splitting the Healthcare Sector Team into Healthcare Facilities & Managed Care, Healthcare Technology & Distribution, Life Science & Diagnostic Tools, Medical Supplies & Devices, Pharmaceuticals, Therapeutics, and Biotechnology). Together, these were gratifying testaments to my endeavor and commitment to pilot our student investment fund to a positive future outlook.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire my classmate and peer, Pranav Muthigi, most. In addition to his masterful academic performance, I think highly of Pranav’s commitment and devotion of substantial time and energy to the Tartan Student Fund as President and the Investment Banking Academy as a mentor – as well as the timely and proper execution of his responsibilities in these roles. Furthermore, I respect Pranav’s mentorship efforts to train analysts, assistant portfolio managers, and portfolio managers of the Tartan Student Fund in stock research and portfolio management; his assistance to underclassmen to prepare for finance interviews; and his guidance as well as his sound career advice to underclassmen drawn from his personal experience.

I also commend Pranav’s endeavor to establish, maintain, and expand an alumni network for the Tartan Student Fund and the Investment Banking Academy. Moreover, I appreciate that we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses as President and Vice-President of the Tartan Student Fund and that I can rely on him for a second opinion on my academic and career decisions when necessary. Despite his academic commitments and the Coronavirus pandemic, I admire how Pranav was able to undertake a research project in the fall 2020 semester in which he applied his computer science and coding skills to real-world financial data. I look up to his computer science and coding skills, which he applies to real-world financial data and his networking abilities, and I hope to learn from him in these aspects.

Who would you most want to thank for your success?

I would most want to thank my father for my success because he is my role model and I learned my unrelenting work ethic and conscientious morals from him. Furthermore, he has always been incredibly supportive of my academic and career aspirations at every level of education and every stage of my life. Moreover, my father has been my pillar of support through my academic, professional, and personal difficulties since I have always been able to confide in him without the fear of being judged and rely on him to give me sound advice.

Whenever I’m in a dilemma or my mind is clouded, I can always run my thoughts and ideas through him and rely on him to reason through them and devise a plan together to tackle the situation. His support has helped instill confidence in me to fearlessly and feverishly pursue my academic and professional goals knowing that I have someone who believes in me even if I fail.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1. Eventually, I aim to establish my own investment fund that is focused on long-term value creation and capital gain by employing a combination of fundamental and quantitative (“quantamental”) investing strategies, and practicing a mix of value and growth at a reasonable price (GARP) investing philosophies.

2. After gaining a few years of experience in the equity research industry, I plan to earn a Master’s degree in computational finance or financial engineering from a top-ranked university, become a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholder, and possibly earn a Ph.D. in Financial Economics.

What are your hobbies? I relish watching and playing soccer. I’m also fond of running, swimming, and playing badminton. Furthermore, I savor reading sports biographies and autobiographies, sports science writing, finance and economics literature, as well as crime and detective novels. Moreover, I rejoice in listening to pop and rap. Additionally, I enjoy watching comedy movies, sports movies, crime and detective thrillers, and documentaries. I’m also fond of traveling and tasting new cuisines despite the limitations imposed by my vegetarian diet. Occasionally, I like indulging in art and gaming.

What made Aditya such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Aditya is an outstanding student – both in UBA and his double major in Econ Stats. We worked closely together on the Tartan Student Fund and he impressed me again and again with his thorough attention to detail, his insights, enthusiasm, and work to improve the club for all the members,”

Burton Hollifield
Head of the Undergraduate Business Administration Program
PNC Professor of Finance
Professor of Financial Economics


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