SmartTALK with Nupur Parekh Flynn

On Nov. 11 at 7pm, McDaniel alumna Nupur Parekh Flynn, class of 1994, returned to McDaniel for one of its SmartTALKs.

Flynn was a pioneer of international studies at McDaniel. She states that in her days at McDaniel there was no set program for international studies, so she self-designed the major. This was a factor in the Political Science Department becoming the Political Science and International Studies Department.

In an opening speech, Flynn stated that her parents, being very well-educated themselves, pushed her family members to attain at least master’s degrees; however, what was most important was a thirst for knowledge–not making it to Harvard or Yale.

It was this mentality that brought Flynn to McDaniel. She stated that it was nice knowing a professor would notice her absence if she missed class. Even more interestingly, despite her great success, she asserted that she was not a straight “A” student, but took a lot of opportunities.

At one point, Flynn mentioned that she would prefer to go to the beach during the summers, but her parents would make her do internships and the like. At the time, these were unpleasant for her, but Flynn is ultimately grateful for the opportunities.

After graduation, Flynn was given the opportunity to intern in Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s office on Capitol Hill. She submitted her senior thesis to them and they loved it.

An especially ambitious undertaking by Flynn was her application to Institut d’Etudes Européennes de l’Université Libre de Bruxelles. At this institution, she would pursue a M.A. in European Studies, specializing in policy. When her acceptance letter arrived, she claims she could not fully understand the paragraph, which was in French, despite completing a French minor at McDaniel.

Flynn arrived at the university and had a great challenge ahead of her. Many hours were spent listening to recordings of the lectures and transcribing them to English. Flynn states that she almost flunked out in her first year of the program. Ultimately, however, she gained fluency in French, graduated with distinction, and moved back to the U.S.

Her first career came in the form of being a political appointee as part of the Clinton administration at USAID in the Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs.

After three years in the capitol, Flynn decided to move to Baltimore and pursue a career at DLA Piper, a global law firm. This was followed in 2004 by a career as a partner at Brown Capital Management, an institutional investment firm that manages billions in assets. She states that she had no understanding of finance and math, but her employers figured that if she could make it through an all-French graduate program without initially understanding the language, she could figure anything out.

Now, she is in charge of bringing new business to the firm and engages in contact with people from all over the world. She credits her experience in the liberal arts for helping her grow as a person and be ready to take on the real world.