Akhil Bery '09
Why did you decide to attend F&M?
When I was doing college visits with my dad, he had heard about F&M and we chose to stop by. After visiting the campus, I recognized that this was a place I would be happy at. Of all the colleges I was accepted to, it was a no-brainer to accept F&M.
What are you favorite memories of your time on campus?
The people. Some of my best friends are from my time as a student on campus -- I still get together with them on a regular basis.
What activities did you participate in as a student?
I was a member of Phi Kappa Psi, the College Entertainment Committee, served in student government, and was an orientation planning director for MBT (also was an HA and judicial chair for MBT).
Tell us a little bit about your career path and your current job.
After graduating from F&M, I took time to work with a startup in India, where I rotated through the various aspects of the company. After leaving India, I spent a year in Tokyo working with Japanese companies and advising them on market entry strategies for India. I eventually made my way back to the U.S., where I joined McLarty Associates, an international strategic advisory firm.
I spent 5.5 years there, first as an intern and then as the lead researcher for the India & South Asia practice, conducting research and helping clients understand and navigate the political regulatory environment in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. More recently, I have joined the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting firm. I am the analyst for the South Asia practice, helping clients understand the political environment in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and what risks they need to be cautious about.
Do you have any activities or hobbies you do outside of work (separate from F&M volunteerism)?
I enjoy trying new restaurants in the D.C. area -- for a little bit, I had a food blog, but unfortunately graduate school got in the way of maintaining it!
Why did you decide to volunteer for your alma mater?
After spending time in Tokyo and not being connected much to F&M, I recognized that there was an opportunity to continue to build relationships with international students who attend F&M. After returning to the U.S., I was invited to be an ad hoc member of the alumni board, focusing on starting up our alumni chapters overseas. Since then, my role on the board has evolved, but I've tried to maintain a focus on helping international students feel like they have a home at F&M.
What would you say to fellow alumni who are on the fence about volunteering with F&M?
Recognizing that F&M is not perfect, volunteering has been a way for me to help accentuate the positive aspects of F&M, while also having a chance to work with the administration on bettering some of the weaker points. Volunteering has been a way to help F&M grow as an institution while also remaining connected to some of my best friends.
Do you have a favorite moment/highlight of your time as a volunteer? If so, what was it?
When we had the initial chapter event for the Mumbai chapter of F&M. We had a good turnout, and it was extremely satisfying to see it come together.
Favorite book or quote?
Interesting fact/something people might not know about you?
I've traveled to over 40 different countries. As I mentioned before, I also once had a food blog reviewing restaurants in D.C.
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