All in the Numbers - Undergrad alum extends her study of finance to grad school

Priscilla Gracia, a native of Jakarta, Indonesia, knew she wanted to study in the United States for her undergraduate degree, she just wasn’t sure where. After considering both Penn State and Purdue, she chose to become a Boilermaker and pursue her education at the School of Management.

“Purdue has a great reputation in Indonesia and attracts a lot of international students,” she says. “That diversity and the school’s strong alumni network were big factors in my choice.”


After earning her BS in Finance and Marketing in 2021, Gracia took the next step toward her future by joining the school’s MS in Finance (MSF) program. “I realized I wasn’t ready for the workforce yet, so it made sense to continue my studies in finance as a graduate student,” she says.

Gracia’s interest in finance actually began at home in Indonesia, where her family owned an Airbnb property. “I managed all the income and expenses to measure its profit and loss,” she says. “That really planted a seed.”

As an undergrad, Gracia completed an HR internship with Daelim Industrial Co. in Seoul, South Korea, followed by a product and project management internship at PT Smartfren Telecom in her hometown of Jakarta.

“It’s been interesting doing internships in fields outside of finance,” she says. “I’d eventually like to return to Asia to work in telecom or the media industry, but I’ll probably stay in the U.S. for a few years first.”

Gracia is also a veteran of several case competitions, including the 2021 Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) Financial Modeling Case Competition, a case study where participants play the role of a financial advisor asked to provide advice to their client on strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value.

“Purdue has a great reputation in Indonesia and attracts a lot of international students. That diversity and Krannert’s strong alumni network were big factors in my choice.”

“We were only a couple months into the MSF program when we formed a team for the CFI competition,” she says. “We didn’t win, but we learned a lot about financial modeling and had the opportunity to apply our skills in a real-life context.”

Another impactful experience for Gracia was serving as a graduate assistant to Clinical Assistant Professor Fabrício d’Almeida, academic director for the MSF program, whom she helped to revamp both the undergraduate and graduate-level courses tied to the Student Managed Investment Fund. “We also worked to build an alumni network of MSF graduates,” she says.

Gracia particularly enjoyed a pair of courses taught by finance professor Huseyin Gulen on investments and portfolio management. “They were difficult courses, but he is very passionate about finance and really wants students to understand,” she says. “He’s also one of the top researchers in finance, so it’s great to learn from the best.”


Outside the classroom, Gracia enjoyed spending time with her cohort and other students in the MSF program. “I’m a fresh graduate, so it was very helpful to interact with students who had different backgrounds and different levels of expertise in finance,” she says. “We had students from China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Latin America, so it was great when people from other countries brought their own ideas.”

Although she initially struggled with English as a second language, Gracia says her undergraduate coursework helped her learn to communicate more effectively — lessons that proved even more valuable during her time in the master’s program. “Purdue is good about letting students express themselves without judgement,” she says. “I found that refreshing.”

As she begins her career as a project consultant with USC Consulting Group, Gracia is appreciative of the support she received from the school's professional development center. “They offer a lot of resources to make the process easier,” she says. “I’m looking forward to putting my degrees to work.”

By Eric Nelson

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