Innovator Article

Nilisha Agrawal ’08 Establishes Student Award in Finance/Accounting

Image of Nilisha Agrawal ’08 Establishes Student Award in Finance/Accounting

by Anya Reid ’04, Assistant Dean of External Relations and Development

Not long after her graduation, alumna Nilisha Agrawal ’08 approached the Graduate School of Management to explore how she might give back to her alma mater and at the same time help others pursue their UC Davis MBA.

Those conversations eventually led to the establishment of the Nilisha S. Agrawal Award, which supports a UC Davis MBA student in strong academic standing with a concentration in accounting or finance. “I saw great value in my MBA, and I want to help others achieve that,” Agrawal explained.

In January, second-year MBA student Bryan Jacobi was named the first recipient. “Nilisha’s gift is extremely generous and demonstrates growing alumni commitment to the GSM,” said Jacobi. “Creating support and encouragement for students who pursue a career in finance makes the concentration a much more attractive option.”

Agrawal came to the School with a strong background in finance, as a chartered accountant with experience in investment banking. She was looking for a top-ranked business school that could offer her leadership opportunities. She says UC Davis seemed the right fit and exceeded her expectations.

“When considering an MBA, many people go through a return-on-investment process,” she said. “But they often leave out some of the more intangible benefits from their calculations…. the experience you have—and the value that the program adds to your personality and leadership potential—are extremely important.”

Now at a strategic position in the Risk Assurance department at Equinix, Agrawal stays in regular contact with her former professors and credits the GSM experience with providing her strong, life-long personal and professional relationships. “My MBA gave me the tools to grow and develop as career opportunities present themselves—and the confidence and ability to go after those opportunities.”

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