M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, ‘15
Growing up in India, Saumay Khetarpal had a lot of influences that prompted her interest in organizational psychology—chief among them her businessman father.
“My father would ask me a lot of questions regarding his business,” Saumay explains. “He would give me scenarios, ‘If an employee did this, what would you do’, and challenge me to think about relationship dynamics and behavior between coworkers.”
These questions piqued young Saumay’s curiosity, and led her to wonder what psychology’s place was in the workplace.
“Most people spend a large part of their lives at work—they have to find a job that is worth it for them,” she says. I wanted to learn how to create ‘wow’ moments for employees; I wanted to understand how healthy workplace dynamics are formed.”
Following in her older brother’s footsteps, Saumay decided to pursue graduate education in the U.S. Finding a program that paired theoretical study with practical training was a big deciding factor. The Chicago School’s emphasis on hands-on training and field experience opportunities clinched the deal.
“The Chicago School offered me the opportunity to do volunteer and practicum work throughout my entire journey here,” Saumay says. “In India, it’s all theoretical learning, but at The Chicago School I was able to go out into the real world and work on actual cases.”
Saumay has also come to appreciate the relationships she established with professors and faculty while attending The Chicago School and remains in contact with many of them after graduation.
“The professors make The Chicago School unique,” she says. “They were always ready and willing to work with me, even if I had to go back ten times. They made me feel welcome. I’ve never had that kind of relationship with a teacher before.”
One project that Saumay is especially proud of happened outside of her coursework. She saw that international students “could use a helping hand” and wanted to do something to make their transition to the U.S. a little easier. With the help of a small group of friends, Saumay founded the International Student Association in 2014.
“We wanted to help new students with little things like opening a bank account or getting a cell phone,” she says. “We then expanded to broader things like connecting international students with professionals in their programs, organizing job fairs, and identifying what jobs are available.”
Currently, Saumay is working as a data analyst in the health care industry as she completes her optional one year of practical training allowed on her student visa post-graduation. Ultimately, she’d like to open her own consulting practice.
“Because of The Chicago School, I have connections here that will allow me to take my work global,” Saumay adds. “I’m excited about my future.”