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Flash Forward Alumni Spotlight: Paras Singh

  • Alumni Spotlight
Flash Forward Alumni Spotlight: Paras Singh
Alumni Paras Singh, TAF@Saghalie c/o 2019


Paras Singh 
TAF@Saghalie – Class of 2019 
Highline Community College – AA Class of 2019 
University of Washington Foster School of Business - BBA, Finance, Class of 2023 

Paras Singh, TAF@Saghalie graduate of 2019, has accomplished so much in a short period of time for a young adult of his age. Paras started kindergarten at Mark Twain Elementary before an abrupt move to live with his grandparents in India for four years. His experience there highlighted India’s jarring wealth disparity, and when he returned to FWPS, Paras’ ambition for success was activated, coupled with a greater appreciation for access to resources within the states. He went on to complete his secondary education at TAF@Saghalie (formerly TAF Academy), our 6-12th grade project-based STEM school, where he was able to explore a variety of interests and find his career passion in financial investment. We recently had the chance to talk to Paras about his journey and how he cultivated and leveraged relationships to accelerate his growth and position himself to achieve his goals. 

FWPS: How did you end up at TAF@Saghalie, and why did you decide to stay through high school? 

Paras: We were going around touring schools and when we went to TAF, they had this Makerspace and this entire robotics program. Being a ten-year-old kid, I thought, ‘This is so cool. They're building robots and coding these and having competitions against one another.’ It kind of drew me in and I was like, “Okay, these kids are really bright.” 

Smaller class sizes were always attractive to me, but also, I knew that if I stayed at TAF to the end, with the exposure I would have to faculty and the relationships I already had, I could get great opportunities. Something that solidified my decision was back in my freshman year when I was given the opportunity to work on a project and present it to the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella.  

FWPS: So, I read this article, which noted you wanted to be an athlete in sixth grade. How did your career interests change over time? 

Paras: [Laughs] So, when I was young, I was playing with people my size and I was pretty decent at playing basketball. But, when I got to middle school, I realized the kids were way faster and bigger than I was, and I thought it might be time to make a shift. Then, I wanted to become an architect, which was very heavily influenced by my engineering teacher, Mr. Diaz, who came to TAF and talked about how he’d traveled the world, and about design and architecture – that really drew me in. But, as I worked with my family’s businesses, I found a spark in finance. I wanted to know where money came from, how it comes to us, and where it goes after – the entire circulation.  

FWPS: What types of activities did you participate in during middle and high school? 

Paras: I was part of the Engineering Club, president of the Chinese Club – that's when we took a trip to Taiwan – and I did the ACE Mentorship Program my sophomore year. When I became a junior, I went to Running Start at Highline because I thought that I would double major in something like finance and computer science. I wanted to dip my feet in it a little bit and I always wanted that extra push in life. 

FWPS: And, how was that? Running Start? 

Paras: It was a big adjustment at first because you don’t have people guiding you all the way. I was a little worried – my grades weren’t excellent for some of my first classes. After some time, I started speaking to professors and making more friends within the college, too. That helped me a lot. 

That’s also where I took a few computer science classes and realized, ‘yeah, this isn’t for me.’ Where I did find interest was when I took business classes from a professor who used to be a financial advisor. It kind of opened the doors to a huge world of finance. I searched for careers within finance and business and came across investment banking after getting that exposure. 

FWPS: How did you end up at the University of Washington? 

Paras: I was the president of the Business Club at Highline. We competed at [UW Foster School of Business] for one of their Russell Investment case competitions. I thought it was really exciting stuff. This is a time when I was still applying to business schools and when I was walking around the building I was like, “I want to go here.” I applied and got direct admission to the business school. I ended up doing four years because I realized that I would get the full benefits of being there to form good relationships. And then with investment banking, I realized the recruiting cycle would not be in my favor if I only stayed two years. I mean, I was interviewing in April of 2021 for the internship that I had that started in June of 2022. You traditionally work for investment banks your junior year or summer, and then they give you a full-time offer to come back. 

FWPS: How did you land a position at Jefferies? 

Paras: I realized midway through my investment banking recruiting cycle that I was really interested in aerospace and defense as a sector. So, I started searching aerospace and investment banking and came across the defense and space group at Jefferies. I LinkedIn messaged one of the VP's there and he got back to me. I was thrilled because in my peak recruiting time, I was sending about 20-30 emails and cold LinkedIn messages at the minimum and sometimes up to like 60 a week and with a very low hit rate. But we immediately hit it off and he pushed me through to the people in charge of recruiting. I was just like, was just like, ‘okay, it's time to sell yourself. Now's your time. After rounds of interviews I was able to land the [internship] role for that next summer. 

I was the only one that got a return offer in my group to join them full time. I just got my apartment, and my mom and I are going to take the road trip to Charlotte in the middle of July so I can start work. 

FWPS: Any last words you’d like to share? 

Paras: My time within the district at TAF was like a big definer of who I am today and an adult. I personally don't think my career and my life would have turned out the way it did if I hadn't gone through that. To students, whether it's networking or you meet somebody new and you want something like as in ask for career advancement or some kind of help, like just make the ask, don't be afraid to because the worst they can say is no and or they just don't have time, which is true in many cases. 


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