Class of 2018 >>

SGA president looks to business career, while always striving to help others

By Keith Farner | Emory Report | May 8, 2018

Story image

Goizueta Business School student Gurbani Singh hopes to one day start a business to provide post-secondary educational opportunities for people with intellectual or developmental delays. Emory Photo/Video

Gurbani Singh doesn’t hesitate to point to her main mentor in business.

Her father, a native of New Delhi, India, moved to the U.S. in 1990, earned an MBA from University of Texas-Austin, and has made a 25-year career working for FedEx in Memphis, Tennessee, where she grew up.

He’s who she aspires to be in every area, including being humble, ethical, faithful and committed to a career. Her parents also once told her that whatever direction she chose to go, make sure that she helps people.

“He’s enjoyed FedEx more than anyone I’ve spoken to about any other company they’ve worked,” she said.

Undecided when she entered college, Singh said she has zero regrets looking back on a college career where she majored in finance and information systems and operations management at Goizueta Business School, a career path that matches her personality. 

Singh got a taste of the business world last year working as an intern for SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, where she worked as an investment banking summer analyst assisting in the execution of initial public offerings within the Equity Capital Markets Group.

“It’s important to focus on your strengths and see where you can be happy with the things that you’re good at and how you can emphasize those to capitalize those assets,” says Singh, who believes in building a network of supportive people. “You know people well enough that you can help them, they can help you, and then they have other people that they know and you can connect with them, and it just builds and builds and builds.

“I think one thing about my personality that has really helped me in business so far is I’ve been able to connect with people really well, whether they’re similar to me or not.”

Leading Emory students through SGA

One of the highlights of her college career came when Singh was integral to a transition of Emory’s Student Government Association structure for the first time in 50 years, following a split that created a separate graduate SGA.

Singh said the student activity fee split percentages were allocated arbitrarily, and, as SGA president, she set out to make it more equitable. With her finance background, she used data to gather feedback and met with divisional presidents to relay the importance and value of this data in allocating resources, programming and improving outreach. It’s one of many lessons Singh learned from extracurricular activities. 

“I have been able to draw parallels between getting the opportunity to be the leader of SGA this year and running a business as a CEO, operating a $1.45 million budget and managing multiple divisions and teams of people,” she says. “It's the best hands-on experience I could have asked for both inside and outside of the classroom. … 

“That’s the best part of Emory — there’s this great intersection between academics and your activities and, it’s not separated at all. They all just mesh together.”

Giving people opportunities is one reason why Singh joined Goizueta — she wanted to understand the foundation of businesses structurally. She aspires to start her own business one day to develop a post-secondary education system for people who are intellectually or developmentally delayed. She noticed the void for people over age 22 as she volunteered in high school, and remains passionate about that, although she admits it’s a long-term goal.

In the mean time, Singh has accepted a position at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in the Leveraged Finance Group. She said it’s exactly the environment she wants to be in: working with positive, outgoing people who want to be there.

“My parents always told me to be surrounded by good people, whatever you do, be a good human being and help people,” Singh said. “I’m really excited for that next step.”