#WeAreElliott: Debolina Saha

#WeAreElliott: Debolina Saha

Debolina Saha, Master of International Policy and Practice, 2023, #WeAreElliott

Debolina Saha is a multilingual dual-qualified lawyer, (qualified in England & Wales and India) and a graduate from one of India’s top law schools, the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences Kolkata. She is currently an Elliott School graduate fellowship recipient at the George Washington University, and is pursuing a master’s degree in international policy and practice (MIPP) since January 2022.

Additionally she is the Founder of Internship Bank and until May 2020, Debolina was a Senior Associate at Dorsey & Whitney in Hong Kong and was a core member of Dorsey’s India Capital Markets desk. Prior to this, Debolina held the position of a Senior Legal Counsel with Cantor Fitzgerald’s Hong Kong office and was a Capital Markets Associate at Allen & Overy Hong Kong for almost 5years. Also, she has worked for several well-established law firms both in India as well as in London where she gained experience in equity and debt capital markets, general corporate law, and banking and finance law.

What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you choose the Elliott School?

While I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in over a decade as an international capital markets lawyer from some of the world’s best known law firms, the last past few years of my life have shown me how disconnected I am from the societal changes I most want to affect, and the legacy I want to leave behind.

Through my own struggles, I have learned that women face unique challenges that their male counterparts never have to deal with. And how a woman navigates those obstacles successfully determines just how far she can advance in her career. In fact, those were the very experiences that led me to start Internship Bank.

While Internship Bank has been my first quest for bringing about gender diversity at work places in India, it won’t be my last project. And to build my passion of giving wings to more gender diversity projects, I know in addition to my activism I would need to learn how to shape and influence policy globally to help create a better world for women.  In short, that’s why I decided to join the Elliott School.

Elliott School was a natural choice for two reasons. The School’s top ranking reputation in training tomorrow’s world leaders and its decision to award me an Elliott School graduate fellowship.

Where do you currently work, intern or volunteer, and how does it fit in with your career goals?

I am best known for my work as Founder of Internship Bank. I started Internship Bank in mid-December 2019 with the idea to connect first generation female students coming from lesser known colleges with internship opportunities mainly provided senior women professionals. In this way the platform helps women launch their careers in a safe working environment and gives them access to female mentors they can emulate and seek guidance from. In a little over two years Internship Bank has secured over 275 internships, awarded scholarships to 20 female students, hosted many industry-known leaders over its Youtube Channel, listed more than 100 live internship opportunities and gained more than 18,000 LinkedIn followers. 

Also, I have taught capital markets law to students at various premiere law schools in India (in the capacity of a guest lecturer), attended discussions as panelist on various topics in the area of law, regularly mentored students for a career in law, and trained junior lawyers working in top tier law firms.

Ultimately, I want to become a.foreign service officer and combine what I learn in my studies with my life experiences to help women throughout the world. And that is where I believe my above experiences fit in perfectly with my long term career goal to help women everywhere.

What tools/strategies have proved most helpful in making the most of your time at the Elliott School?

The best strategy is to keep an open mind and be on the lookout for any opportunity that you can participate in. Participation in different activities will highlight to you your strengths and give you an opportunity to improve upon your weaknesses. Also it is important to help other students and make new friends and connections.

What advice do you have for students for staying motivated at work or in class?

I think as long as you are passionate about your goals and what you would like to accomplish in your life, staying motivated should be an easy task.

What has been your most memorable experience while studying at the Elliott School?

I just started studying at the Elliott School in January 2022 and so I think it is still a little early to answer this question definitively. However, I recently organized an Indian cooking class for the MIPP students and we had a lot of fun cooking Indian Dal. I am told this was the very first time that any such online cooking class was conducted by a student of the Elliott School of International Affairs. This comment definitely helps make this memory very special.

If you could take a selfie with anyone in the world (living), who would it be and why?

This is not an easy question. I adore two women and it is difficult to choose between the two. So I am being greedy here when I say this but I would definitely like a selfie each with Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama. Both of them inspire me to become my best version and that is why I would really like to get into the same frame with them (Touch wood someday for sure!)

Want to connect with current Elliott School students and alumni? Click here to see how!

Find out more about this program by creating a CustomViewbook!

Join us for an information session, RSVP here!

Click here to apply to the Elliott School!

Twitter · Facebook · Instagram

The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.