Student Profiles

Prakash Mishra, M&T '19

Hometown: 
Waxhaw, NC
Engineering Major: 
Systems Engineering
Wharton Concentration: 
Business Economics and Public Policy, Statistics
Minor: 
Chinese, Certification in Public Policy

Why M&T?

M&T for me meant flexibility. Coming into college, I had a strong interest in policymaking, but I also enjoyed organizational psychology and had an interest in bioengineering. M&T allowed me to orient my career towards using lessons from managerial settings in the private sector while gaining a strong data background and integrating both into smart policy decisions. I like M&T because it integrates an important technical skillset with a business-minded worldview.  The combination of these two is powerful. It created a versatility of skills with a virtually limitless application.

FAVORITE CLASS

ESE301. It was difficult but extremely rewarding. Professor Venkatesh weaves such an interesting narrative that I couldn't help but fall in love with the course content.

LIFE AT PENN

Outside of the classroom, I like to spend my time in research. I'm currently working on a cool project with Professor Benjamin Lockwood in the BEPP department that integrates economics, machine learning, and behavioral insights into analysis on the US tax code.

My favorite pastime is definitively spending time in the Philomathean Society Halls, where there's no shortage of time to discuss really arcane topics like evolutionary programming and connecting them to ideas like “the Absurd”. It's a melting pot of ideas and has been central to my Penn experience. When I'm not in the halls or doing research, you can find me cooking a meal or making a dessert in my apartment kitchen.

M&T COMMUNITY

It's so diverse! And that's the key to it: every person has a different passion and cares about taking that passion all the way. M&T has people who have devoted time to behavioral finance research while simultaneously maintaining an Instagram account about the squirrels here at Penn. Each person has so many layers, and the M&T Student Board does a great job of getting holding a number of different events, from social to professional, all with a lot of free food. These events help us meet each other and strengthen our awesome community. The fact that all of it is just a Facebook post or a Sunday study session away really make the M&T community an invaluable asset.

ACTIVITIES AT PENN

Other than my research, I am a designer for the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative and a Director of Strategic Marketing for Wharton's Public Policy Initiative Student Group. This entails designing infographics, promoting our annual publication, and managing a new weekly digest initiative while publishing some articles for the group. 

One of Penn's strength is that you can really dabble in a lot of other efforts. A friend of mine is starting up an on-campus magazine outside the boundaries of any club and has just put out an open call for writers and organizers, so that's yet another way to get involved on campus!

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

I started off my first semester at Penn in a lab developing new methods for working with nanoparticles and trying to target them for specific diseases. The professor I worked with was actually an industry leader on the topic. However, the experience helped me realize I wasn't the kind of person who could work in a lab and conduct research in the conventional sense. So, that spring I worked with Dr. Maurice Schweitzer on a variety of projects related to emotions and negotiations in the Wharton school. Now, my research is really coalescing around my public policy career goal, with my current tax code project occupying most of my time.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT PHILADELPHIA

The food scene in Philly is underrated. A lot of really good restaurants have half-price appetizers and the like and have expansive tasting menus where you can really get a stereoscopic view of that restaurant's cuisine just for a few bucks. A lot of great chefs have come out of Philly, and it's always cool to say you have been to the restaurant of the "next big chef" before anyone else knew about them!