When Sahiba Baveja (W ‘23) arrived at Penn, she had two goals: to find a community and to help people, and it would be even better if she could do both at once. Four years later, she’s checked these goals off her bucket list. All the while, Sahiba has led tour groups for Kite and Key, planned events for the South Asia Society, and mentored first years through Wharton Undergraduate Advising. Sahiba is known for being an incredible mentor, leader, and friend who meets every commitment, challenge, and bucket list task with compassion and care. 

Name: Sahiba Baveja

Major: Finance and Health Care Management

Hometown: West Palm Beach, Fla.

Activities: South Asia Society (SAS), Kite and Key, Wharton Undergraduate Finance Club, Wharton Investment & Trading Group, Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club, PEER Mentoring Program, Wharton Undergraduate Advising, Asian Pacific American Leadership Initiative (APALI)

Can you tell us about your work with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations on campus?

I basically got involved with [the on–campus AAPI community] my first day at Penn. I knew when I came here that I wanted a South Asian space. I got super involved [with SAS], and it mainly involved going to events and helping plan shows. Then I joined the board in January of 2020, which obviously is when everything went crazy with COVID. So, my exposure was pretty limited to the people who were on SAS Board or friends through SAS I’d already met. In 2021, it was a lot of the same thing, but I got back into the groove of things during the fall semester. I realized there are so many cool people in the South Asian space at Penn, and [many of us] knew each other because we have a lot of mutual friends. 

[Last fall,] I got into event planning and making sure that every person, especially first years, had a person to reach out to or had friends in the community so it wasn’t super overwhelming, because it is a pretty large club. And then last year, 2022, I was [SAS] president, which was super exciting. It was definitely a lot of exposure to [the] funding [and] event spaces and working with outside venues. But I think one of the biggest things I realized is the disconnect between South Asians and the greater Asian American space at Penn. Just from what I had noticed, there wasn’t involvement of [South Asian students] in broader organizations, like APALI or PEER or the Pan–Asian American Community House (PAACH). That’s why I decided to get involved in the PEER Mentoring Program, which is for Asian American seniors who are mentoring first years. I spent a lot more time at PAACH. I think the fact that I was able to use SAS as a leverage into the broader Asian space has been really nice.

What’s been the most valuable part of your mentorship work? 

When I came to Penn, I had a lot of different mentors, whether it was academic, professional, or just social mentors. I knew that was something I really wanted to continue doing. I’m the training coordinator for Kite and Key, so every semester, I have 30–35 kids whom I mentor and help to develop tours. The same goes for Wharton Peer Advisors … it’s always just mentoring students in classes and how to handle a heavier workload. PEER is [another] mentoring [organization]. … I have a mentee who’s a first year. It’s really nice that I feel like every day I have the opportunity to share advice or just listen to someone and kind of pass on the wisdom of the past four years.

You’re a Wharton girl! How did you land on majoring in health care management? 

I came into Penn and I was vaguely pre–law. I thought I liked the idea of it, but in reality, I think I took Legal Studies 101 and [realized it wasn’t] for me. Then, I joined [the] WITG health care team. I think I really liked that it showed an intersection between health care and finance. As finance bro–ey as it seems, I think it actually convinced me to like health care a lot more than it convinced me to like finance. So then, I pivoted from the typical finance and business analytics to explore health care management. 

Since then, every year, I’ve worked with a different health care startup. It’s not been a lot of big work or anything like that, but I think it helps me see what it looks like to actually be in the health care space. I also think being a Wharton peer advisor helps me integrate [my coursework,] because I’m always using my classes or my professional background to help students there.

How have your involvements at Penn impacted your sense of community?

When I came to Penn, I was definitely overwhelmed by the options, and so I really emphasized [joining] clubs that I could meet people in and have the opportunity to expand my overall network of people that I knew in. That’s why I became a Kite and Key shift captain, because I was meeting all the people in my shift or messaging them. I think on the point about community, that’s been the one thing that I really tried to emphasize in all of my club involvements. Even when I was in the Wharton Undergrad Finance Club, I was a teacher through our case team. It was all virtual, but I’d still try to host study hours or connect with people by helping them with their pitches. 

It’s been a nice way to showcase that especially in the Wharton sphere, when everyone’s going into these very high–pressure jobs, the ability to forge connections with [the people you meet] is honestly one of the most underrated skills you can develop. I think community comes in a lot of different forms and showcases itself in certain ways. I’ve also benefited from the fact that all of my clubs have communities, and I have people to help me with my bucket list, and things like that.

Okay … tell me about this bucket list. 

I think last [summer], I realized there was a lot that I wanted to do, [and hadn’t before], because of COVID or because I didn’t really have a motivator to help me explore more. I really like lists, so I decided to make this Notion bucket list. [It has] academic [goals], like doing a case competition or taking a professor to lunch, and Philly things, like going to Linvilla Orchards and the Christmas Village. [It also has] general Penn things, like my first–year roommate and I knocked on the door of first–year room and tried to meet whomever is living there. I think it’s good [for me] because I like checking off boxes, which is a little Penn, but I think it helps me motivate myself to do more.

Once you’ve checked off all the boxes, what’s next? 

I’m going into banking in San Francisco. I’m on a health care team. I was there this past summer, and I really liked it, and I think SF is also a really great city. I think you have to seek out adventures and things like that a lot more than you would in a place like New York, but I just really like how open and relaxed [it is].

Lightning Round

No–skip album?

The Divine Feminine by Mac Miller

Favorite movie? 

La La Land

Favorite Philly restaurant?

Hummus Grill 

Early bird or night owl?

Early bird

There are two types of people at Penn…

The people who walk down Locust to see their friends, and the people who take Walnut or Spruce to avoid the crowd. 

And you are?


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.