Global Citizen

Feb. 26, 2019Raghav Malik ’13 has spent a lifetime traveling the world. A native of India, he moved with his parents from Delhi to Bangkok to Miami and back to India, all before attending Grinnell College.

Today his home base is London, where he’s a product owner (also known as a technical product manager) for Mastercard. He visits with Grinnell friends in London and attends College events in the city, which is quickly growing into an active alumni hub. He’s met with Grinnell-in-London students, and was a class fund director from 2015-18.

Malik originally heard about Grinnell from graduates of his small, international boarding school and applied.

Raghav Malik ’13
   Raghav Malik ’13

“I wanted that community feeling where you feel like you mattered, rather than being lost amongst a sea of faces,” he says. “And people who knew me thought it would be a good fit.” With financial aid that made Grinnell possible, the choice was clear, “and I ended up having a lot of good times in the cold and snow.”

As a math and physics major Malik excelled, earning a United World College Scholarship. But his sole focus wasn’t science.

“My brain wants diversity and variety,” says Malik, who was also close to having enough credits for a theatre major and a few courses short of a religious studies major. “I always felt I could have spent another couple of years at Grinnell doing three or four other majors.”

He joined Mastercard in New York City immediately after graduation, and spent two years training and networking in different parts of the company, from strategy to product development to marketing and communications. Though he loved New York City, Malik jumped at the chance to move to London, an assignment that was supposed to last six months but has since lasted three-and-a-half years.

As product owner focusing on digital payments, he’s like a CEO. He’s at the center of all the spokes that make online payments with a card work, from technical designers, user research, and finance to marketing and sales.

“My job is to understand what people want and why they want it, and build software that delivers,” he says. “I have a team that writes code so I’m expected to understand technology, but I also speak to our customers and understand business strategy and where we’re headed.”

Malik also is pursuing a master’s degree in software engineering at Oxford, spending a week at the university every three to four months. With his busy work travel schedule and traveling for pleasure, it adds up to 116 days spent away from London this past year.

“I’ve gotten to see so much more of the world now that I’m near continental Europe,” he says. “I’m closer to home and have been able to take several trips to beautiful and historic places that I had never previously visited. In fact, I just got back from a four-day ski-weekend in France.”

Since graduation Malik has also made ongoing gifts in support of Grinnell financial aid, the Pioneer Fund, the Innovation Fund, and the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS).

“I feel like I owe Grinnell,” he says. “The value of my education is a lot more than what I paid for it.” And unlike a lot of his peers, says Malik, who served as SGA treasurer, “I got a chance to look under the covers and into the books. I sat in on Board of Trustees meetings so I had an inside view to see what it takes to fund the entire enterprise that’s Grinnell.”

Malik also appreciates the fact that people before him gave, allowing him to attend the College.

“Grinnell is a good part of why I’m here today,” he says. “Whether it’s $5 a month or $50,000 a year, somewhere on the spectrum is an amount of money you are happy to give back to a cause that is valuable.”

—by Anne Stein ’84

For your information:

International travel and experiences have helped played a role in the careers of many Grinnell students. The Institute of Global Engagement is one of many areas of support donors can direct gifts toward.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive.