Experiential Education, from India to NYC

Johnni Medina
March 7, 2023
Chinmay Bonde, wearing a colorful shirt, stands in a crowd

Chinmay Bonde ’23 already had a wealth of marketing knowledge before he left India to pursue an MS degree in marketing analytics as a Pace graduate student. But before he arrived in New York City, he gained experience that shifted the way he thought about how companies did business and emphasized the importance of building his own skills.

While still in India, Chinmay worked for California-based IT company Cloudalyze. During the pandemic, Chinmay’s company asked that employees donate one percent of their work hours towards voluntary work for nonprofits. “Organizations that donated their expertise to nonprofits could earn the Impact Partner certification, which is the highest tier of the Salesforce platform in the nonprofit industry,” he explained.

His experience in system development, graphic design, and customer success came together as he worked with nonprofits across different industries—from healthcare, education, energy, and beyond. Throughout his pro bono work, he felt there were three major takeaways. “First, my organization received a high achievement tier within Salesforce, which is huge because everyone uses Salesforces,” he explains. “Second, it was a bonus for me on a personal level by enhancing my skillset, and it’s great to have the experience on my resume. And the third thing is that the nonprofits were able to save a lot of money and time they would have had to invest in a paid consulting firm if we hadn’t stepped in.”

I found really amazing professors at Pace with such great experience.

Chinmay estimated the pro bono work he did saved nearly $100,000 for nonprofits during a difficult financial time. “Many were so impressed and so happy with the work done, they were ready to pay us back and enroll in full-time support,” Chinmay says. His company even created new cost-effective support plans specifically aimed at nonprofits as a result of their work together. To sum it up, “Everybody wins.”

Now, Chinmay is further expanding his skill toolbox at Pace as a graduate student. When he was choosing schools in the US, he focused his research on faculty, looking for professors who had industry experience that resonated with the work he wanted to do. “I found really amazing professors at Pace with such great experience,” he says. “I’m on my last semester and my marketing knowledge and skills have really been enhanced to a level it wouldn’t have otherwise, especially because of those amazing professors.”

I have become the boss of my own life just by living over here, and Pace University is the reason I have been able to achieve all of that.

Chinmay prides himself on his market research, and he noticed something especially interesting about Pace. “I looked at nearly sixty colleges before I made my decisions and had a few offer letters.” According to him, “Pace seemed to be the only college program with a STEM-designated MS in social media and mobile marketing which is a huge thing in today’s time. Especially for international students who want to come to America.” Even though he didn’t enroll in that program, it was one more thing that impressed him about his future school.

As an international student, moving to New York City was a daunting prospect but has proved to be one of the most beneficial aspects of his time at Pace. “It’s such a vast, overwhelming, fast-paced city,” he admits. “But I made the best decision of my life. I’ve become the person that I am today because I came to New York City and Pace University. Not just from just a career and knowledge perspective—I think it’s entirely changed me as a human being.”

From nonprofit work in India to the classroom in New York City, Chinmay’s journey emphasizes how education comes in all forms, whether it’s on-the-job, in school, or through new experiences. “I have become the boss of my own life just by living over here, and Pace University is the reason I have been able to achieve all of that,” he says. “It’s changed my life in such a short amount of time.”

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