Harshil Goel, an ISyE junior (BSIE 2017) is the recipient of the nationally awarded John. L. Imhoff Globalization Scholarship from Alpha Pi Mu (APM), the IE honor society. He currently serves as president of the Georgia Tech chapter of APM. As an international student from India, he also serves as president of the Georgia Tech International Ambassadors.
In this interview, Goel talks about giving back to the Georgia Tech community through his work with these two organizations and why that’s important to him, and how his IE training strengthens his leadership roles.
Why did you select Georgia Tech and ISyE for your undergraduate work?
Before coming to Georgia Tech, I was fortunate enough to go to an international high school affiliated with the University of Cambridge, UK, in India. As a result, I had a multicultural experience that motivated me to go abroad for my undergraduate education. I wanted to choose a school that was not just challenging and prestigious but also really diverse in terms of its student body and the opportunities it offered. Georgia Tech was the perfect choice since it met all my expectations.
As far as choosing ISyE, I had never heard of this major until I got accepted into Tech. I stumbled upon the ISyE curriculum while browsing through the list of available majors. As someone with a passion for problem solving and the desire to gain business knowledge, I felt like the ISyE curriculum was designed perfectly for my needs. And here I am pursuing my undergraduate degree in a school that has been ranked No. 1 in the nation for the 21st consecutive time.
You’ve said, “Coming to Georgia Tech as an international student from India, I was also motivated to pursue leadership opportunities on campus and make my own impact.” Why is making an impact so important to you?
Being an international student here at Tech, I have always considered myself to be blessed to have the opportunity to pursue my education in one of the most prominent universities in the world. When I think about how many people get such an opportunity in life, it makes me realize the value of using the resources around me to make a difference in other people’s life. And there’s no place better than your own campus to start giving back to the community.
Describe your work with both Alpha Pi Mu and International Ambassadors. Why did you select these organizations as places to focus your time and energy?
As organizations, Alpha Pi Mu and International Ambassadors are both very different from each other in terms of their goals, target audiences, and operations. In Alpha Pi Mu, our goal is to increase the professional development of our members and the overall ISyE community at Tech through the form of several on-campus events. In International Ambassadors, our goal is to help the Office of Undergraduate Admissions promote an accurate and holistic view of Tech around the world and to bring the best international talent on-campus through the form of several off-campus international outreach efforts.
Having said that, I have always believed in channeling my energy in a few things rather than trying my hand at everything. Personally, I resonated with the core values of both these organizations. While one allowed me to passionately serve the ISyE community at Tech, the other enabled me to give back to the international student community outside Tech. Essentially, it was these different core values of both my organizations that made me choose them as places to focus my time and energy.
How does your background in IE contribute to your leadership roles?
The ISyE curriculum has a lot of classes that involve working on projects in order to solve complicated issues as a team. The ISyE program does a great job of teaching critical thinking and interpersonal skills. It’s these acquired skills that then contribute so much to my leadership roles, since they enable me to think through a problem or challenge in a comprehensive manner and then brainstorm ways to tackle it with my team.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on schoolwork?
The best part about being in a different country is that you can spend so much time exploring the city, trying different food cuisines and just socializing with your friends. And that’s what I do when I am not working on schoolwork. I am also a brother in Alpha Kappa Psi, the largest co-ed business fraternity on campus, and our chapter always has some form of social, philanthropy, professional or fundraising events every week. I love spending my free time with my brothers at these different types of events.
You’ve mentioned that one of your interests is cricket. How do you follow the sport while at school here in the States?
I have a lot of friends at Tech who’re really passionate about the sport and follow it very actively through the help of social media and by watching cricket matches online. I do the same whenever I get time.
What does the future hold for you?
I am currently looking into consulting as a career path for my future, since it gives you the chance to work in a variety of different industries. Furthermore, I strongly believe that the combination of ISyE and consulting is a great opportunity to solve real life problems
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Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering