Swati Chopra, WG’19, says mentorship is “critical” to encourage more women to pursue higher education and unlock their potential.

Growing up in Delhi, India, Swati Chopra, WG’19, took what she describes as an “alternative path.” Financial hardships and family struggles fueled her ambitions. She explained: “I went to college to earn undergraduate and master’s degrees in finance, and became one of the first females in my family to get a professional job and work outside of the house.”

Self-taught in the growing field of cybersecurity, Swati focused on security for financial institutions in India. When her husband’s career took the couple to California, she worked for Cisco and then the startup Bitglass.

Throughout these changes, she never lost sight of her long-term goal of starting her own company. “I had worked at companies of all different sizes — from large to mid-size to startup — but I knew I needed an MBA to augment my experience with the skills required to set up and grow my own company. Wharton has the rigor, reputation, and an unmatched network of accomplished alumni that I was looking for,” she noted.

She also applied for and received a scholarship from the Financial Women of San Francisco (FWSF), which awards scholarships to female students at Bay Area universities pursuing education in accounting, finance, or financial services. In addition to the scholarship, recipients connect with mentors in the organization.

Swati standing with women with flowers on their lapels in front of a glass paneled door
Swati was one of 12 FWSF scholarship awardees in 2018.

“I am honored to join this group of smart and supportive women whose goal aligns with mine to uplift other women. The mentorship program of FWSF has opened up new opportunities and perspectives for me. My mentor has been instrumental in helping me both professionally as well as personally,” said Swati, who has a six-year-old daughter.

She emphasized that mentorship programs are “critical” to encourage and support more women to pursue business careers. “Education is the greatest gift one can give anyone. Scholarship and mentorships programs can help encourage more women by supporting them in MBA programs and their careers.”

Swati with a group of women posing in a lecture hall
Swati with fellow Wharton EMBA women.

As a second-year student, Swati currently helps the FWSF spread the word about its scholarship and mentorship programs. She is leading the FWSF scholarship program at Wharton to help support her fellow students. And at work, she makes a point to attend “women in technology” conferences and events to connect with qualified women, mentor them or recruit them.

She noted: “I now have the knowledge, tools, and network to achieve anything. I am humbled by the opportunity to guide and enable more women in the Bay Area unlock their potential.”

Swati has made some recent changes in her own career. She explained: “I found a high-impact job at McAfee as a director of customer success for the company’s largest customers. Wharton education has helped me to own the P&L responsibility at the new role and add this much needed skill to my profile. To further my entrepreneurial goals, I also work as a venture associate to evaluate new cybersecurity investment opportunities at the VC firm Illuminate Ventures — that was made possible by the Wharton network.”

Swati leaning against a railing with her husband and daughter with a lake and mountains behind them

Swati added: “Not only am I accelerating my career, but I’m also setting an example for my six-year-old daughter about the value of education and mindset of lifelong learning. My daughter wants to become the first female president of America and I encourage her to believe that with education, hard work, and mentorship, she can do anything!”

Learn more about the FWSF scholarship and check out Forté MBA Fellowships for women.

— Meghan Laska

Posted: March 7, 2019

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