Lauder Student Spotlight: Serene Darwish

We are delighted to share profiles of our new Lauder Class of 2022. Lauder students are gifted, driven, and exceptionally academically talented. Students share their stories, offer advice, and discuss their reasons for joining the Lauder program.

Photo Credit: Sagar Chopra (WG’22) in Rittenhouse Square

1. Where you are from and what were you doing before Lauder?

I am from the Chicago area. Since my undergraduate years studying Economics and Statistics at Northwestern, I spent my time in consulting at Accenture, primarily for financial services clients. I also mentored Middle East based high school students as part of the LEO Scholars program, helping them secure admission & scholarships at US universities to study STEM.

2. What made you decide to pursue Lauder along with Wharton as part of your graduate studies?

The Lauder-Wharton combination was very exciting to me for a number of reasons, namely the tight-knit community, interdisciplinary research opportunities, and, more generally, the space, network & resources to integrate my interests.

3. How are your courses going so far? How are you balancing doing two degrees at once?

Tactically, I use my calendar for everything – I have never been so married to my calendar as I am now, for better or worse. I try to allow time and space for spontaneity as well by not booking too many commitments. More philosophically, no matter what class I’m in or event I’m dialed into, I try to stay rooted in what brought me to Wharton and Lauder in the first place so that I can stay true to myself and work toward my own goals.

4. Are there any events, experiences, or conversations that you’ve had so far that have been especially meaningful to you?

To elaborate on what I mean when I say Lauder allows me to integrate my interests, I’ll share a bit about my Global Knowledge Lab (GKL) group and topic. Selecting a group and topic admittedly felt like a frenzy, as the process picked up rather quickly upon my arrival in Philadelphia. I had done both research and non-profit work on refugee resettlement a while before my time at Lauder and thought it could be really interesting and timely to hone in on migration and study its impacts on the economy & innovation. I discovered that were four of us who all had experience with or interest in this area of research, each compelled to the topic for our own reasons. We are truly at the intersection of business, politics, economics, statistics, international relations, technology… And we get to work together! I’m grateful that Lauder brought us together and excited to see what we learn in the coming months.

5. What do you enjoy the most about being a part of the Lauder community?

We are all so different on paper in terms of where we come from, what language we speak, what work experience we have and more, and at the same time we have so much in common in terms of interests, values, sense of humor, how we want to spend our time… I’m incredibly grateful that I have this community to tap into and form bonds within.