An Associate for Morgan Stanley’s Risk Team, Chawla interprets and derives insights from data to assess how economic and policy decisions can affect the bank’s risk.
Headshot of Geet Chawla
Geet Chawla

In 2018, Geet Chawla, MPP'21, was working with a team of researchers for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Evidence for Policy Design. They were studying the challenges India’s underprivileged population faced entering the formal financial sector. “I led focus groups with people who lived in underprivileged areas and whose income was below the poverty line. My goal was to diagnose the gaps that exist for populations living below the poverty line in accessing the available government-run safety net programs."

During this work, he realized a solution might come from something everyone had in their hand—a phone. “Even though these people were really poor, they were able to use the phone in their hands to access resources. I saw that something as simple as a mobile phone can do a lot of good." 

Ever since that moment, Chawla has been interested in using technology-driven solutions, and he considered Harris the best place to gain the data analytics and quantitative skills necessary to pursue his goal. “I liked the focus on quantitative tools. Plus, the ability to take electives in other schools at the university was appealing.”

Now an Associate for Morgan Stanley’s Risk Team, Chawla assesses the bank’s risk levels at any given time. "My studies at Harris deeply impacted my ability to understand how economic and policy decisions can affect the bank’s risk. Whether it’s analyzing the impact of the war in Ukraine or understanding the effects of inflation, my Harris education has provided me with a comprehensive perspective."

Chawla added that part of Harris’ comprehensive perspective included the flexibility to focus on multiple policy areas, which encouraged him to pursue a Certificate in Data Analytics.

“Plus, I had the opportunity to combine my interest in geographic information systems [GIS] and econometrics while taking a Spatial Regressions course.”

Chawla gained recognition for his GIS work when he and fellow Harris alumni Parth Khare, MSCAPP’21, and Samiul Prantar, MPP’21, were selected as Clinton Global Fellows for their project that used satellite images to track the existence and density of disease-causing pathogens in bodies of water. “It was something we thought could help local governments, non-governmental organizations, and health care companies to deploy resources before an outbreak,” Chawla said.

Chawla also succeeded in his internship search while at Harris, holding a remarkable three internships in one summer. He worked as a Bartlett Fellow at the Energy Policy Institute at UChicago (EPIC), studying how providing money to migrant workers in India impacts their spending behavior, and how the pandemic impacted these workers’ ability to provide remittances. Chawla also worked for Assistant Professor Emanuele Colonelli at the Booth School of Business, studying the startup ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa to better understand what sectors stimulate the greatest investment. Finally, he served as a Lead Teaching Fellow for the International Policy Action Lab, teaching R to students attending China’s Peking University.

"One key aspect of my Harris experience has been the importance of analysis beyond coding and running regressions. Technical skills are essential, but as automation and tools like ChatGPT become more prevalent in statistics and coding, the ability to interpret and derive insights from the data is what sets human analysts apart."