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Talking With Kanwal Khandwala, MBA Candidate ’21

Profiles | Mar 10, 2021 |

By Claire Curry

Kanwal Khandwala is a second-year, full-time MBA student concentrating in Management and Information Systems. She serves as Treasurer for the Student Advisory Council and was selected for two academic honor societies, Alpha Sigma Nu and Phi Kappa Phi. Kanwal is the recipient of a Dean’s scholarship as well as the James N. Fernandez fellowship. After interning at Verizon, she accepted a job offer from the firm which she will begin after graduation.

What is your Gabelli School story?

Growing up in Pakistan, I always thought about what opportunities existed for me abroad. With over seven years of work experience in the insurance industry, I wanted to further my career and build the knowledge, skills, and connections that would benefit my personal and professional life. I chose Fordham because I wanted to be a part of a small program, with a strong alumni network.

If there’s one thing that you want people to know about the Gabelli School, what would it be?

What I love about the Gabelli School is the diversity of the student body and its sense of community. Many of my classmates are international students, and it is a great way to be exposed to different perspectives. As a cohort, we have developed a strong and supportive bond, which is unique among MBA programs. It is incredible to see the collaboration on group projects amongst my classmates, who are always eager to help each other learn and grow.

What motivated you to be part of the Student Advisory Council?

Since my father is an accountant, numbers seem to be a part of my DNA, and it felt like the right decision to run for Treasurer of the Student Advisory Council (SAC). I wanted to work with like-minded individuals to contribute to Fordham’s mission of developing compassionate business leaders. I have practiced my leadership skills through collaboration with different student-run clubs. As Treasurer, I help manage their funds so they can best serve the Fordham community. One of the events I am proud of hosting with SAC was the Gabelli Giving Games, which brought together students to play virtual games to support nonprofits. 

How would you describe or define the role of women in business today?

Where I come from, in Pakistan, the traditional views of the capabilities of women are very different. Despite being in a managerial position, I was at a disadvantage because of my gender. The need for gender equality in leadership roles is still an ongoing conversation across various industries throughout the world. This summer, I saw strong female leadership during my internship at Verizon, which made me proud to be a woman in business and inspired me to be a part of Verizon’s diverse community. I am excited to join Verizon post-graduation. It’s a company that not only values its employees but also takes pride in its female leadership. 

What is the best thing the Gabelli School can do to better support women seeking careers in business?

Personally, one of the most exciting activities for me is being a part of the Fordham Women in Business (FWiB) club. FWiB passionately connects students, alumni, and area professionals to create an open forum of mentoring and teamwork. I believe if all of the Gabelli School students and staff can work together to create opportunities and find mentors, it can better help support women seeking careers in business. I would encourage students and staff to continue to uplift the voices of women around them.

Who is a woman who has been most inspirational to you?

I can think of many women I admire, but the one woman that has been most inspirational to me is Malala Yousafzai. She is an activist dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for females. The one thing I find really inspirational about her is how brave she is. She had a passion for increasing gender equality in Pakistan, and she stuck to her values, regardless of the consequences. Malala stands strong in her convictions, she values education, and fights for equality. I think she’s one of the most resilient, inspiring, influential, and powerful young adults. I am inspired by Malala’s resilience and will work to increase opportunities for women at Verizon and in my future career.

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