Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight: Ankit Vadher

Second year volunteer Ankit Vadher (pictured in the thumbnail above) was born and raised in Chicago – the Rogers Park/Ravenswood area – before moving to a northwestern suburb (Wheeling) at age 9. He lives back in the city now, and when asked why he loves Chicago, is almost at a loss for words. “The different neighborhoods… the culture… the people… that friendly Midwestern attitude… there is so much to explore.”

Ankit breezed through high school, graduating in just three years. He regrets the decision now, saying that a full four years of high school helps you truly appreciate what is expected in college. He was not mentally prepared and thus did not take college as seriously as he should have early on.

Nonetheless, Ankit says college was “one of the best experiences of my life.” He graduated from University of Chicago at Illinois (UIC) in 2003 with a double major in finance and information decision systems (IDS). His first job upon graduation was as a bond trader at a proprietary shop.

He traded with partners’ money, so there were no customers per se, and he was able to make trades based on his discretion. All this was done electronically, so he was not on a trading floor, but he was moving plenty of money (millions!). There’s much more to it, so if you are at all interested in stocks and bonds, talk to Ankit!

Now, Ankit works on the other side, for a company that makes trading platforms for traders. He has worked there for five years in three different positions. Currently, he is a relationship manager for all clients in the Midwest.

In his spare time, Ankit likes to work out (especially running), hang out with friends (hosting parties), and cook (“experimentally”). He also loves traveling. “Next stop: Eastern Europe.”

Ankit is South Asian and culture is a big part of his life. He says, from a young age, “it was all about education and schooling.” The expected trajectory for kids is to become a doctor or engineer, get married, and have a family. Job security is very important, which is partly why he is no longer a trader (a job he loved).

At Cabrini Connections, Ankit co-leads Art Club, which meets on Monday nights from 5:30-7pm. They work with pastels, watercolor, pencil… whatever you want! This year they plan to screen-print t-shirts, collaborate with Video Club on a photo project, and more. How do you join? Just show up!

Ankit’s advice for students is, “Try to live outside your comfort zone and you will experience a lot more in life.” He also says, “Don’t have expectations. Expectations take the joy out of life.” You are a wise man, Ankit. We appreciate your service.

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