International Student Living Out a Wall Street Dream

The St. John’s University Executive-in-Residence Program (EIRP) did not just prepare Chand Kalra ’22MBA for life as a financial professional—it helped him land that all-important first job.

Chand Karla infront of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business
Chand Kalra ’22MBA
  • Finance, Master in Business Administration in Finance
  • The Peter J. Tobin College of Business

Having completed his Master in Business Administration degree in Finance in December 2022, Mr. Kalra will begin his career with Sia Partners in Manhattan as a consultant in the wealth and asset management business unit. He secured the position after posting a 4.0 grade point average and excelling in the EIRP, which is directed by Christopher P. Long, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.

“Chand is deserving of every success,” Dr. Long said. “I’m sure he will add tremendous value to the efforts Sia Partners is making to expand its US footprint.”

Mr. Kalra is a native of Indore, India, a city of three million people in the west-central part of the Indian subcontinent, 400-plus miles from the capital city of New Delhi. To say he came a long way to attend St. John’s tells only half the story.

“Coming to the United States is a dream my grandfather sought for me,” Mr. Kalra said. “When I got my visa, he cried. He passed away the day before I was to leave for the United States, but he said to all my relations, ‘Do not stop him. This is my dream, too.’"

“I used to see tours of the St. John’s campus on YouTube,” Mr. Kalra continued. “I would interact with people on and off campus. That is how I found St. John’s.”

With a heavy heart following the death of his grandfather, Mr. Kalra departed for the US, New York City, and St. John’s in January 2021, settling in an off-campus apartment in Jamaica as the University was continuing to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. He attended only one class in person his first semester; the rest were virtual. He did not meet any classmates in person until virus precautions eased that fall.

“You could count the cars in the parking lot. Sometimes, there were only five or six,” Mr. Kalra said of those early days. There was pin-drop silence on the campus. Finally getting to really meet my classmates was a great feeling.”

Mr. Kalra excelled in his M.B.A. program, but eager for real-world business experience, he applied to the EIRP, which is among the most competitive programs at Tobin. A maximum of 18 students are selected to each class. Students take part in actual problem-solving with area businesses and nonprofits in a mix of in-class instruction and on-site observation.

Among the firms that have sought help from the University’s student-consultants are Fortune 500 companies Merrill Lynch Inc., Sony Corp., and Henry Schein, Inc. Nonprofits such as Covenant House, the Developmental Disabilities Institute, and Goodwill Industries also have taken part.

As a consultant with Sia, Mr. Kalra helped the company enhance its use of artificial intelligence and identify and repair issues in its social media marketing. That did not surprise Dr. Long, who called him a “stand-out consultant” and an ideal representative of the possibilities that exist for students in EIRP.

Sia was rightfully impressed as well, offering Mr. Kalra a full-time position that begins in January 2023. The company has already secured him a three-year work visa. He says he enjoys the same cultural fit at Sia that he felt at St. John’s. 

“People at home used to talk with me about what I wanted to do with my life. This is it,” Mr. Kalra said. “The education I received at St. John’s allowed me to develop foundational knowledge, as well as the technical and developmental skills that will help now that I have graduated. That is priceless.”