Mihir Garud utilizes external financial partners and an after school enrichment Business Club to give students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned outside of the classroom. His early career in the private sector as a financial analyst gave him a unique perspective to teaching financial literacy, allowing him to apply his learnings into a classroom environment.
“Increasing financial literacy in my school and community is my educational passion. Personal finance is a subject that I teach every single day to students who now understand how to navigate their finances in an increasingly complex world,” explains Mihir.
Mihir formed a partnership with the accounting firm Grant Thornton, providing mentoring to students on college/career tracks, entrepreneurship, leadership and personal branding.
Mihir had a significant role in making the Consumer Education program at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (IHSCA) the success that it is today. The quarter-long course is a graduation requirement at the school, and as the sole Consumer Education teacher, Mihir has taught nearly 1,000 students in his four years of teaching. IHSCA’s teaching model provides education focused on preparing urban youth and their families for success after graduation.
For the vast majority of students, his course is the first time they are learning about personal finance concepts. However, Mihir has found his students are able to quickly pick up the lessons with the help of relevant activities that bring topics to life and meet them where they’re at in life.
Students fundraised for the Puerto Rico Schools Solidarity Project, where Instituto students raised funds to help a Puerto Rico school affected by Hurricane Maria.
Understanding that every student learns differently, Mihir has tailored his course to cater to all learning styles. He achieves this by incorporating a wide variety of teaching methods, including lectures, group work, writing, videos and individual work. “I have an understanding that everyone learns and expresses themselves differently. It gives them an outlet to express and applying what they’ve learned,” says Mihir.
The most important lesson he teaches students is to budget and live within their means so they don’t run into financial problems down the road. "I cover how we can apply all of the concepts we’ve learned to become a conscious consumer. Students go out with knowledge of being an informed and conscious consumer, as well as looking out for identity theft and other scams," explains Mihir.
Business Club students visited the British Consulate General's Chicago offices where they discussed global trade, career options and college majors with embassy staff.
Mihir created the first ever Business Club at his school in 2016, offering students an opportunity to attend seminars with community partners and receive mentoring opportunities. By fostering relationships with community partners in the greater Chicago area, students from underrepresented groups are given opportunities to propel their careers with internships and other work possibilities.
For the past two years these partners, including the City of Chicago Treasurer's Office and the accounting firm Grant Thornton, talk to students about business topics such as women in leadership, personal selling, entrepreneurship and career advancement. Students in the club have taken college trips, participated in stock market competitions and visited the UK’s Department of International Trade where they learn about how countries trade together and the impact on consumers.
Students engaged in Grant Thornton 'Friday Business Talks' in the boardroom.
“Students are able to see exactly how it’s useful for their life. I’ve gotten feedback that it has made a difference in how they shop. If they get birthday money, they could use it on shoes and headphones, or instead use it to save for college and make better choices with the money that they have,” explains Mihir.
Practical Money Skills would like to commend Mihir Garud on his ongoing efforts and commitment to financial literacy at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy.
Mihir participated in a Chicago Board of Education meeting.