The Fed Challenger
Salil Ahuja ’19, an Economics major on the NYC Campus, is no stranger to competition. He’s a member of Pace’s award-winning Federal Reserve Challenge Team, a recent intern at Credit Suisse, and a salsa dancer in training.
Salil Ahuja ’19 is an Economics major on the NYC Campus and the second in his family to attend Pace. “I initially came to visit my sister here, who just graduated,” Ahuja said. “I stayed over with her in the dorms for a few days, and I really liked the area.” For many prospective students, the NYC Campus is a bustling hub of energy and opportunity. For Ahuja, it reminded him of home. “Before moving to a small town in New Jersey, I grew up in Mumbai, which is a pretty big city in India. It was natural that I was [drawn] to NYC.”
He was also drawn to one major in particular, although his path toward that decision came as a surprise. “I actually decided to major in Economics after [taking] ECO 105, Introduction to Macroeconomics, with Professor Weinstock,” Ahuja told us. “I interacted with him quite frequently after class, and learned more about the department from him and the other professors, and I figured I might as well go for it.” That decision would set him on the path of an incredible journey—one that would champion over the likes of students from NYU and Harvard.
You might have heard about it. The big news was celebrated all throughout the Pace Community last year when the Federal Reserve Challenge Team (often shortened to “Fed Team”) won first place at the 14th annual national College Federal Reserve Challenge. That’s a big deal for any college student, but for our Setters? It practically makes them economics rock stars.
“The Fed Team was definitely the experience that changed me the most in college,” he said. Ahuja went on to describe an intense preparation process where he and his teammates worked “almost daily” leading up to the competition—a challenge in and of itself when you’re a college student trying to balance other coursework at the same time. And that’s not all.
Ahuja added that, “A lot of it [depends on] team-building and becoming closer with the people you’re seeing every day. I mean, personally, the people I’ve met through the Fed Team have become some of my closest friends, and that includes the professors. I credit a lot my development—academic and personal—to the Fed Team.” For a behind-the-scenes look, catch the latest issue of Pace Magazine.
Never one to slow down, Ahuja recently completed an internship at Credit Suisse, too. He worked in their Investment Banking division, specifically Corporate Lending, which was “a hell of an experience.” (Ahuja’s words, and very apt indeed.)
“The learning curve is so steep that you’re really thrown in there,” he continued, explaining that there was so much for him to learn and tackle head-on. “What I took away from it was being able to perform under pressure and deliver, especially since we’d be getting documents sometimes at 8:00 p.m., and would have to have the summaries by the next morning.” It was demanding job, he said, but one that he absolutely loved.
Something else he loves? Coaching soccer. Ahuja has been playing the sport his whole life, and he started refereeing as early as age 16. He even coached in high school—a deeply rewarding experience that he attributes to his professional skills today. He said that the sport “definitely contributed to my leadership skills and my ability to work in and take initiative in teams, which is all transferable to business.”
He’s also learning how to salsa. “I’m not very good at it,” Ahuja admits, “but I practice quite frequently with a friend I met through an economics class.” One thing’s for sure: he never stops moving!
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International Education Week 2019