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Stern Singles Presents: Jeetendra Khilnani7 min read

Spring is almost here, and we have another edition of Stern Singles for you. If you would like to nominate a classmate (or yourself) for future features of the Stern Spotlight, please email the Oppy staff at [email protected] or fill out this form.

Meet Jeetendra, MBA1, originally from Mumbai, India, who came to Stern to pursue a career in investment banking or consulting. When he is not recruiting for every industry, you can find him relaxing at the nearest AMC. He describes himself as “a film critic gone wrong.” More on that to come…

Jeetendra! What a pleasure. What brought you to Stern?

Three things brought me to Stern – New York, Broadway, and Sternies. I was in New York for three days in 2015, doing the most cliché tourist stuff – Empire State, Statue of Liberty, Intrepid, etc. But there was something that made me fall in love with NYC and I decided that someday I would be back. Then there’s Broadway, which I just can’t get enough of. And finally, the Sternies I spoke to during my admissions process made me feel that Stern was the absolute right fit for me (and they were so right!).

It’s funny. I grew up in NYC and never thought of the Intrepid as one of those stereotypical tourist attractions. What have been some of the highs and lows of b-school so far?

The high is definitely experiencing New York City and being in-person. I had been dreaming of this for years and it has finally turned to reality. It still feels surreal sometimes, so my favorite thing to do recently has been to just walk around. I leave home or school and just start walking in a new direction, seeing buildings, parks, people and everything else around.

My low was during Fall recruiting, every time I realized a failure, no matter how big or small it was, it took a toll on me.

Is there anything that truly surprised you about the MBA experience?

I never expected so much warmth from so many people at once – irrespective of our differences, so many people were helpful, kind and welcoming. I was honestly floored. I was very anxious coming into the MBA program, having moved out of my comfortable home for the first time and uprooting my whole life to start afresh. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone for making it such a happy and smooth transition.

What are some of your goals post MBA?

I am on a journey of self-discovery and I’m yet to figure out many many things about me and my life. My career ambition is to lead a Fortune 500 someday. Besides that, I know I want to travel A LOT and fill up my passport pages with all kinds of stamps.

Remember us small people when you accomplish that. Okay, enough with the shop talk. Tell us more about you and why all these handsome men should be swooning for you. Let’s start with hobbies!

I love any and all hobbies – because I want to experience a lot of new things. So any hobby is exciting to me!

What are some of your big bucket list items?

Before graduation: A solo trip to Alaska, a trip to Turkey

Long-term: Travel to New Zealand for adventure sports; skydive over the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, UAE; revive my blog about movie reviews; write a movie!

That is a legitimate list. What are some of your biggest strengths?

I can remain calm amidst a storm. I’m a keen observer and remember tiny details about people (sometimes to the point of offending them).

I love when people are direct and to the point. What’s the best thing that has happened to you lately?

I found peace in solitude. Until very recently, I would be ill at ease if I was alone or doing something by myself. But I took a walk by the East River by myself one evening, and it was the most peaceful experience I ever had. The realization that I can actually enjoy my own company has been the best thing that has happened to me lately.

I’ve gotten myself into some embarrassing situations lately so now I love to ask people their most mortifying stories. What’s yours?

I was a teacher in India. Once, I could not pronounce a really hard last name in one of the attendance sheets, so I asked the student sitting in the first row to help me out and said “I don’t know who the f*** this person is. Can you please call this name out?”. And he said, “that’s me!”

And a response like that is precisely why I love asking that question so much. Now…the good stuff! Let’s talk boys. What are you looking for in a partner?

My one ask is to be on the same (or work towards the same) intellectual wavelength. I need my partner to have an ambition/goal in life and work towards it, whatever it is. Some things that can help with that are emotional stability, kindness and rationality. Other things I’d love are openness, honesty, self-assurance, inclusion and warmth.

What are some of your pet peeves?

Vanity is my biggest pet peeve.

Are any of them dealbreakers?

Someone who is full of it.

Favorite date plans?

A movie or a play, followed by a late dinner and a walk around Times Square at 2AM! Or we could start with dinner, followed by a late movie and then walk around Times Square.

Do you like to pursue or be pursued?

I have never been pursued, so I’d love to experience it for once.

Is there anything that someone who wants to date should know about you first? I feel like that should be a question that all dating apps include. Like an “I’ve been married twice and have a couple of kids” response would be a real time-saver for me.

I believe very strongly in stability. I want a home to come back to every day, I want a family and dogs (that’s plural).

I love ending with a good sprint to the finish. Are you ready?

Let’s go!

Let’s go. Favorite drink?

Hot chocolate.

Too cold or too hot?

Too cold.

What are you watching right now?

TV: Inventing Anna

Movies: The Oscar Noms (Belfast, Westside Story, Licorice Pizza)

I LOVE INVENTING ANNA! Who’s your favorite celebrity crush?

NPH (Neil Patrick Harris).

He’s yum. Dogs or cats?

Dogs, forever and ever.

Amen to that. Favorite food?

Indian street food at Kailash Parbat NYC

Favorite place to vacation?

New Zealand (it’s a dream).

It won’t be when you’re making those post-MBA dollars. Favorite professor?

Prof. Jennifer Wynn (Difficult Conversations, Stern)

Prof. Matthew Lee (Strategy, Stern)

What scares you?

Dying alone.

You’re too cute to die alone. But kidding aside, do you need a hug! Favorite pod?

Not really a podcast person!

Favorite movie?

The Toy Story Series (1-3 only; 4 was not as good).

I could make an entire interview on that answer alone! Favorite book?

The Harry Potter Saga (particularly Half Blood Prince).

Now we’re talking! Weirdest habit?

I eat a lot of kiddy candy – 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, Baby Ruth, Dairy Milk Eggs etc. (sometimes in the middle of the night).

That is not a weird habit at all to me. If you want to hear weird…when I’m on night shift, I sleep-eat junk food and will wake up with cookie crumbs all over my bed.

Jeetendra Khilnani: kind, smart, self-assured, driven, and most importantly, emotionally stable. In this day and age, the last quality is surprisingly rare! If interested in getting to know him more, message him on Teams or Stern, or check him out on LinkedIn!

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