Priyam Bhargava ’08

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If you look on LinkedIn, you can find this Class of 2008 Scottie as Priyam Bhargava, Esq., and as Priyam Bhargava, Miss India USA. Between her business law career and international pageantry, Priyam is a global achiever in both her worlds.

Graduating with an Economics-Business major in 2008, Priyam spent a year teaching English in Spain, and then studied for the LSAT while working for an Atlanta City Council member, learning about local legislation and public finance. In law school at George Washington University, Priyam participated in the International Moot Court, interned in Argentina on international human rights and spent a month in China learning about Chinese law.  

Over time, however, she discovered a passion for business law. “While I appreciated these experiences, I felt like my work had been too theoretical, not really touching individual people. I decided that I could make a humanitarian impact in other ways, while pursuing a more satisfying career.”

On her business law path, Priyam has served as corporate counsel for a CPA firm, as a law associate involved in IRS negotiations and criminal and corporate tax cases, and as an in house counsel for a publicly traded company  in financial services dealing with hedge funds, private equity and regulatory filings.

Today, Priyam is a consulting Sourcing Manager at a global French Bank, Société Générale Corporate and Investment Banking.  She combines her legal expertise with her business background by reviewing and negotiating vendor agreements for the Americas and Brazil, providing legal advice and negotiating procurement commercial contracts for consulting, software licensing, market data and IT infrastructure.

"To have such high-achieving alumnae shows the caliber of the Agnes Scott education and what the college expects from us."

“Working for a European company, without the American expectation that we’ll all work day and night, I have time to enjoy New York City more,” she says. “I have a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline from my office, and at the end of the workday, I go home to the East Village and appreciate my walkable neighborhood. There’s so much to do in New York; I’m always exploring.”

Priyam also keeps one foot in her other world: pageantry, acting and the runway. She feels that anyone who deals with the public would benefit from the training she has had, which has helped her with articulation, poise and delivery.  As a favorite pastime, Priyam loves Broadway shows and is looking at taking acting and/or improve classes in New York.

Priyam had never participated in pageantry growing up in Tennessee, and even turned down an invitation to compete for the Miss India Tennessee as a sophomore at Agnes Scott, in favor of an internship at Merrill Lynch. “Then, when I was in law school, a co-worker who encouraged me to participate, pretended she was me and called the Miss India DC organization. Next thing you know, I receive a call back and I find myself submitting my application on a whim, and got in!”

“I was so surprised,” she said, “Friends told me just be yourself, treat it as a job, and be professional. So I did! The question and answer part was easy for me – debate and discourse was what I had been trained to do. I was more concerned about falling in my gown and heels!”

Priyam won Miss India USA 2012, and the title has brought her amazing opportunities, including riding in an India Day parade float in front of more than 100,000 people, and being featured in an MSN article among some very important individuals, including Human Rights activist, Anna Hazare.

She keeps the law and entertainment worlds apart, and remains wary of overexposure. “I try to maintain a separation, and to change the stereotype of the pageant queen, although some attorneys have discovered my title and at times it has even helped a negotiation,” she said. “And the experience of building my own brand has been applicable to many aspects of my career.”

She credits her Agnes Scott education and friends for her determination. “Agnes Scott’s mission was very influential to me, and I want to be that engaged woman and find my own excellence. To have such high-achieving alumnae shows the caliber of the Agnes Scott education and what the college expects from us,” she said.