Swathi Nachiappan ’20 on Community, Communication, and Commencement

Swathi Nachiappan ’20 delivers student commencement speech for Class of 2020.

Swathi Nachiappan ’20 is accustomed to moving. She has lived in nine houses in five countries. “Hopping from place to place has basically been my whole life,” she says.

But, since arriving at Babson College from her family’s house in New Jersey, she has found a place to call home forever.

Nachiappan comes from a finance family. Her father first discovered Babson College while reading an article in Money magazine about the best return on investment for colleges, and he urged her to apply. She did and received the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) Scholarship, offered to undergraduate students who are selected based on their academic achievement and demonstrated leadership in school and community activities.

“I wanted to be a part of that strong group of women, that was a huge part of it,” Nachiappan said. “And, once I came to the campus, interviewed, and stayed overnight, I realized that I really loved the Babson.”

Now working in investment banking for Raymond James and living in Tampa, Florida, Nachiappan is returning home to deliver the undergraduate Commencement address to her fellow Class of 2020 graduates.

The Elements of Success

Nachiappan’s Babson journey encompasses academic achievement, community, and networking.

At Babson, Nachiappan dove in headfirst. She did the Glavin Global Fellows Program, going deep into global issues. She was accepted into the Admission Fellows Program, where she worked in the admission office and shared her Babson experience with would-be students. And, she was part of ONE Tower, a community where students from different origins come together to share a journey and give back to society. She also ran track for her first two years at Babson, competing in hurdling.

Nachiappan landed a desirable job offer with Raymond James before leaving Babson.

“Starting from the beginning, Babson prepared me to be a better public speaker and better at communicating my thoughts, so that was the number one thing that Babson gave me.”
Swathi Nachiappan ‘20

“For my job, one of the big things is communication,” she said. “Starting from the beginning, Babson prepared me to be a better public speaker and better at communicating my thoughts, so that was the number one thing that Babson gave me.”

Babson also has world-class career services at the Undergraduate Center for Career Development (CCD), helping students with coaching, advising, networking, and tapping into Babson’s alumni network—43,000 strong—in a meaningful way.

“The second thing Babson taught me is the power of networking, and what that actually means. The Career Center is phenomenal. CCD does a great job of teaching kids what it actually means to network,” she said. “And, that is something that I still pass on to current students as well when they call me, that the Babson network is incredibly powerful if you can use it right.”

Babson’s professors also help in this area, working tirelessly to prepare students for professional success.

“(Professor of Finance) Laurie Krigman was one of my great influencers,” she said. “She’s a powerful woman in finance, so learning from her and being in her class a couple of times, really showed me that I could also do that. Seeing her do it, and learning her story, definitely encouraged me to be in the finance world even though it’s surrounded by men.”

A Message of Appreciation

Now, Nachiappan returns to deliver her Commencement address during the digital ceremony May 8.

In early 2020, Nachiappan responded to a call for those interested in becoming the student Commencement speaker. She submitted a few pages of what she wanted her speech to be about. “My thoughts on Babson, graduation, and what all of this means together, and from there I got chosen to submit a video recording.”

Watch Babson’s virtual Commencement ceremonies at babson.edu/watchcommencement.

Shortly after, the pandemic swept across the world, and that experience for her and her classmates has helped shape her remarks.

“In my speech, I really tried to tie in the fact that we are from all over the world. And, we all came together at Babson’s campus. No matter what, even if we had to leave a couple of months early, Babson will still be our home,” Nachiappan said.

“And, even a year later, even though we’re having graduation a year later, I want to remind our class that Babson was a major part of our lives, and we’ll always find a home there—no matter what.”

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