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Senior Wisdom: Mrinal Mohanka

Name, Hometown, School, Major: Mrinal Mohanka, Calcutta, India, Columbia College, Economics and a concentration in Sustainable Development

Claim to Fame: I’m guessing I got this nomination because of my involvement with a few different Columbia organisations/activities… So that counts? If not, I’m sure I’ll be famous by association in a few years because of the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet here.

Where are you going? Staying in NYC and joining the big and apparently bad world of consulting. (I swear it’s not like Will Smith makes it seem in Hitch, or the way it’s portrayed in House of Lies or the Varsity Show!) Only for a few years though since the plan is to get into economic development (and try to save the world) eventually.

Three things you learned at Columbia: Americans sound funny and make a lot of fun of New Jersey; you’ll be pleasantly surprised and find you’re passionate about and really enjoy things you had no idea about (Art History and British Literature were my two big ones); not to stress because as bad as four finals in a day can be, it’ll be over before you know it and all will be well.

“Back in my day…” Ferris was quite gourmet and had all-you-can-eat Sushi, white sauce/hot sauce or yellow rice/spicy rice hadn’t come to this part of town, and Jeffrey Sachs actually came to class instead of skyping in.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less: I think I was fairly successful in conning people into believing I had a British accent for four full years.

Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? You can do whatever you like as long as you’re smart about it. Roofs, tunnels, unlimited intoxication, whatever, there’s really no limit. As for me, I may or may not have spent a night at a South African police station during the 2010 World Cup. Maybe for inappropriate public behaviour. Maybe for nudity in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’ve never been a fan of cheese; seems like a solid reason to give it up.

Advice for the class of 2016: Be prepared to change in the next four years and don’t worry when your idea of who you are is different from what you thought it would be, it’s a part of the awesome journey you’re embarking upon; do things for no reason, you’ll appreciate them more than you think; take classes far removed from your major (Econ majors should take British Literature, Nobility and Civility, and Renaissance Art); take the bartending course and try to join the agency (it’ll be fun and you’ll recover the investment in one assignment); when doing a senior wisdom make sure you keep in mind that your employers and children could see it some day since the internet is probably not dying anytime soon.

Any regrets? It’s been an amazing four years but I probably should have studied abroad, I probably should have spent more time reading for Lit Hum and CC, and I definitely should have gone to more office hours. (I also want to say I wish I had been more involved in organisations, but I think that’s more the problem of hindsight rather than a practical regret.)

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Had this guy as a TA and he’s an all-around class act. He knew all our names in about 30 seconds and to this day never misses an opportunity for a nod n’ smile.
    Thanks for being a warmhearted soul in this oft cold campus. I wish you the best.

  • Finn says:

    @Finn He’s too modest to list what ‘organisations’ he was involved with, but they included being sports editor of Spectator, one of the organizers of Columbia Community Outreach, and I believe the co-chair of the Global Recruitment Committee. He also produced XMAS!6 last December, among I’m sure many other things I don’t even know about.

    Mrinal, thanks for being a mentor, a friend, and for teaching me what professional meant. What will we do without your sexy accent?

  • Rebeka says:

    @Rebeka You are actually one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and you made this campus seem that much warmer and smaller. Thank you so much for being kind and for being a fantastic mentor—one that was always willing to help us out along the way, no matter the circumstances. Columbia couldn’t get advice from a better person.

  • Lilly says:

    @Lilly Mrinal I will miss you so much!
    Thanks for teaching me, helping me, and being awesome. I’m so glad I got to know you this year and you’ve been a wonderful friend.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous “organisations,” classic
    but actually, mrinal is a delightful human being

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous haha, little buddy, you are a wanna-save-the-world kid joining consulting? good for you, little kid. i wanted to save the world once, too, but trust me, joining a consulting company as a wanna-save-the-world little kid will make you invaluable except to random consulting companies and a few banks. enjoy your non-ideal life, wrong initial career choice ;)

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous i see a lot of these seniors who profess to have an interest in ‘saving the world’ but then go into consulting first? just curious, is that a normal career path? why do people do this?

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Unless you’re one in a million, you can’t really save the world at 21. Consulting probably helps in teaching you skills that are easily transferable and keeps all your options open.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous then why is the poster above calling consulting a bad initial option?

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous the word invaluable, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  • Patrick McGuire says:

    @Patrick McGuire Mrinal is a great human being.

    When I first did things for spec Mrinal sent me this wonderful email me welcoming me and just overflowing with emotion about how willing he’d be to help me if I had any problems.

    It took me about three months to match up the person with the email, because in my time at Columbia I’d never met someone who was legitimately cool in real life who had felt a need to be overwhelmingly nice and welcoming online or any other way.

    So I’m sorry, Mrinal, it took me a long time to connect you with my first e-contact because you’re a baller human being who’s nice to everyone and my years at Columbia left me completely unprepared for that. Seriously, Mrinal, your talk to ballerness ratio is the greatest of any person I know.

  • Sidd Bhatt says:

    @Sidd Bhatt I met this superstar before starting freshman year and was blessed to do so! He is always looking out for the new kids on campus and has been a great mentor. I think is only flaw is the fact that he has not taught me that oh-so-famous accent of his :(

    You will be missed Mrinal! Come around campus often and good luck with them economic development goals you have for yourself!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous mrinal! a deserved senior wisdom. so glad youre staying in NYC :)

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Mrinal is the greatest :)

    Everything everyone already said and more. Best of luck!

  • Mrinal you says:

    @Mrinal you Are genuinely one of the best people I have met at Columbia. I will miss you around campus and in class, but I am so glad that you are staying close by :) I wish you nothing but the best

  • dqueezy says:

    @dqueezy Mrinal is one of the kindest, snarkiest, and most lovable people I have met at Columbia. He has accomplished so many wonderful things here, but most of all, he has touched so many lives here. He has been a wonderful role model and friend to me and I am going to miss him just so much next year. Spec won’t be the same. Congratulations and thanks for even more great advice! Love always from your favorite finance director!

  • dont know you says:

    @dont know you but laughed. :)

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Mrinal, I think you have interesting thoughts and can be engaging. But, pretending to be more outlandish and concerned than you naturally are is painful to read, and is an injustice to what seems like a unique character beneath all of those layers of posturing.

    Reading this senior wisdom left me with a mixture of both discomfort and embarrassment. He’s a nice enough guy, but doesn’t do enough either way to get on anyone’s bad side. I’m not sure if this makes him a kind person or not, just more bland.

    He happens to be one of the few people at this school who uses social situations to mention his wealth and how lavishly he lives. I’ve lost track of the number of group settings where I have heard him reference how many flights he took the previous summer, how shocked he was to be sitting next to this star, or that celebrity on a flight or at a soccer match. I have felt uncomfortable in how readily he asks others about their summers as a means to then compare his jet-setting to their experience. I think he might not realize how offensive this activity is to others, but that doesn’t make it appropriate. Snarkiness is fine, but using it to synthetically create hierarchies seems abusive.

    Also, I find his senior wisdom senior closely aligned with his senior shenanigans column this semester. It’s pretty obvious he’s not a natural extrovert, and because of this, his column felt forced. Mrinal never breaks rules, no matter how inane or contrived by Columbia administrators, and proactively works not to do so. He actually comes off as immature as a result. Attempting the 116 list was a great idea, but Mrinal refusing to push his boundaries in a number of the attempts was disappointing for both his personal development and the reader. So yeah, his use of an experience at the World Cup in this senior wisdom, which almost certainly was not as drastic as he insinuates, screams hyperbole, and serves a similar purpose as his senior shenanigans. It makes him seem edgy without him having to actually describe the true scenario and blatantly lie to make it seem crazy.

    I don’t object to Mrinal writing a Senior Wisdom in the least. He’s a senior, writes well and has some pretty sound advice (“you can do whatever you like as long as you’re smart about it” is the absolute truth at Columbia). What I do object to is that he seems to still feel the need, even as a graduating senior, to validate himself through claiming marginally illicit activity and feigning humility. Sadly, it’s eerily reminiscent of the freshmen who felt it necessary to ask about SAT scores and boast about all the illegal things they had done during their high school years at the first hall meetings and the first few hall parties freshman year.

    1. Friend of Mrinal says:

      @Friend of Mrinal I’m not quite sure why you felt the need to post this online. Seems like you have some personal problems with Mrinal, but why you feel like this is the correct environment to share them, versus taking them up with him yourself (especially since you address this comment to him personally) or even just keeping your thoughts to yourself considering he’s graduating in a week and will probably never have to see him again, makes you much more “immature” than your criticisms of him. Obviously as my pseudonym suggets, I’ll count myself among the number of Mrinal fans who have already commented here. It’s absolutely fine that you’re not. But this sort of passive aggressive move, again, is more “like the freshmen who boast about all the illegal things they had done” than Mrinal. For what other reason would you post this than an attempt to seek the same justification of your own feelings that you accuse him of?

      1. Smallbeks says:

        @Smallbeks Word up. Mrinal, you’ve been a great friend and just an all-around wonderful human being. It was so much fun working with you at Spectator.

    2. Dear Person says:

      @Dear Person You literally suck. There is really no other way of putting it. Suck Suck Suck. F@#$ you.


      P.S. You literally suck. There is really no other way of putting it. Suck Suck Suck. F@#$ you.

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous i second all of the replies. i’ve known mrinal for four years and with 100% certainty can say that all of his friends are laughing at how ridiculous this comment is- it couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • dabest says:

    @dabest You mad bro?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous is so incredibly nice! go mrinal!

  • best human says:

    @best human ever. forget shepard, mrinal would actually save us from the reapers.

  • CARMAN 4 says:

    @CARMAN 4 represent!

  • I don't know you personally but says:

    @I don't know you personally but I felt the need to tell you not to regard the venomous comment above, and don’t kill yourself trying to figure who this person is. The person has a beef with you; but know that it must come from a place. This place is also known as ‘jealousy’.

    All the best to you in the future, stranger.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Mrinal is a genuinely lovely chap. Smart, humble, kind and extremely funny. One of a kind and destined for great things, I am certain. Very privileged to have spent some time with him. A gem.

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