Economics Senior Spotlight - Mallimalika Gupta, BMC '12
Bryn Mawr College student Malli Gupta ’12 made the decision to attend college in the United States for one main reason - higher education in India is streamlined into the Arts, the Sciences, or Commerce. Being from Mumbai, India, she would not have had the opportunity to enroll in courses across the disciplines.
Not ready to focus her education on one course of study, Malli knew she wanted a Liberal Arts education that would provide her with a wide platform from which to explore and learn. Narrowing her college search to the United States, she focused geographically on the Northeast because of its plethora of colleges and universities, making the expensive trip from India her senior year of high school that much more productive.
Having attended a small boarding school in high school, Malli opted to apply to small liberal arts schools. Being near a large city was paramount. After visiting the Tri-Co she applied to Bryn Mawr College for a list of reasons including; the smart and motivated people she met when she visited; its reputation of being academically strong; and the generous financial aid packages offered to foreign students.
Initially Malli considered a major in Chemistry since it was her favorite subject in high school. However, she was not interested in becoming a doctor, or working in a lab. As she progressed through her college years she settled on a major in Economics at Haverford College with a minor in Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College. She enjoys the broad applications of Economics, using it to answer real-world problems with its use of analysis, math and econometrics. She also appreciates the balance in qualitative and quantitative reasoning that Economics provides.
While taking Economics courses at Haverford with Paul Cichello (Africa Through an Economic Lens) and Shannon Mudd (Advanced Corporate Finance), she was drawn to the department. Serving as a Research Assistant to Dr. Cichello further strengthened her commitment to the department.
In fact, Malli’s thesis stems from Paul Cichello’s aforementioned course. She was drawn to the course’s study of research on informal insurance networks where students read a number of papers by Esther Duflo, a member of the group who collected the data that Malli is using for her thesis. Her thesis, The Effect of Ethnic Fragmentation on the Formation of Informal Insurance Networks in Villages in South India, will look at how likely a person is to ask for help – that is, money, rice and kerosene – based on the ethno-linguistic fractionalization index (ELF) of the village. She will also look at other defining characteristics of the individual such as religion, caste, mother tongue, education status and gender. She hopes to determine whether people in a more ethnically fragmented community are more or less likely to form informal insurance networks. This will have implications for research in microfinance, social network formation, and development studies.
Malli’s summer internships are reflective of her commitment to economics and creative writing. As a rising sophomore she spent the summer in Bombay working in the communications department of Habitat for Humanity. Using her creative writing skills she elevated the marketing and communications content of both their website and their donor material. She also cleaned up and refined one of their databases by re-writing and clarifying victim stories of post-tsunami hardships.
As a rising junior, Malli engaged in two internships in India. She worked in People Magazine’s Style, TV and Books sections, coordinating cover shoots and photo movie shoots. She also conducted interviews and wrote reviews of television shows and books. Later that summer she worked in the Advisory service line of PriceWaterhouseCoopers where she researched public health systems in Brazil, India, Bangladesh and Thailand. She worked on a project compiling NGOs and trusts focused on the healthcare innovations for the poor, targeting organizations with the potential for scalability and increased outreach: for example, identifying organizations with the potential to move from reaching 30 people to reaching 300. In addition, Malli completed a report on public health systems and worked on a project related to an Urban Health Mission in Maharashtra.
The summer following her junior year Malli lived in Boston working for the Transfer Pricing team of Deloitte Tax. Transfer Pricing is an area of tax regulation for large companies that involves analyzing the pricing policy of intra-company transactions for tangible goods, intellectual property and services. Companies can price products or services to increase or decrease profits in an attempt to manipulate the amount of taxes paid to a government. As a result, multinational companies are required to abide by Transfer Pricing regulations. Malli conducted benchmarking of companies, and collected and analyzed financial data of client competitors. She also did an internal project involving independent industry research on biopharmaceutical and biotech industries.
On campus, Malli has been a member of Mayuri (a Bryn Mawr College based South Asian fusion dance team), and worked for the Bi-College News, where she served as Managing Editor. She has a passion for travel, food, writing and reading.
Malli is currently interviewing for consulting positions. Following graduation she hopes to work for two or three years. Then, she plans to enroll in an MBA program in the United States.