Precious Nwankwo '07

Category Alumni Spotlight


Authored on October 30, 2022


In our alumni spotlight series, learn about Harvard graduates' most meaningful experiences from college, and how Harvard impacted their professional and personal paths after graduation.

Hometown & Current City: Rahway, NJ; Maplewood, NJ

House Affiliation: Adams House

Concentration: History and Science

What was your professional path after college? 

After college I worked at a consulting firm in San Francisco for a few years before leaving the U.S. to do development work with the Clinton Foundation in Accra, Ghana. Upon completing my project with the foundation, I returned to the college to work as an admissions and financial aid officer at the college and co-director of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative. It was an incredibly rich and fulfilling experience and I loved being back on campus. I also proctored in Canaday and worked as an assistant residential dean at the Harvard Summer School. I left the admissions office to go to law school, but continued my close connection with the college, serving as a pre-law resident tutor in Quincy House. After graduating from law school, I moved to New York City where I have been practicing as an employment, executive compensation, and benefits attorney.

Company/Organization: Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

What fills your time now - professionally and personally? 

In addition to my busy legal practice, I have two beautiful children, Olivia (3.5) and Lucas (2). We spend the weekends visiting the zoo or library, or going for long walks around our neighborhood.

What were you involved in extracurricularly? 

I worked at Widener library, was a research assistant at the Kennedy School, and a student coordinator for the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative. I was also on the Varsity Fencing Team all four years and a member of an on campus social club, Pleiades.

How did your extracurricular activities impact your Harvard experience? And have they had an impact on your post-grad life? 

My extracurricular activities formed the richest part of my Harvard experience. I had my most incredible moments surrounded by the people I met through those activities. I found that being a part of extracurricular activities brought me closest to the best part of Harvard - the people. As a former admissions officer, I know how much thought, care, and attention goes into picking each class and I was so lucky to be on the receiving end of those diligent efforts during my time as a student.

What advice do you have for someone applying to college?

As challenging as the college admissions process can be, I think it is really an exercise in introspection, and we don't often have many opportunities in life where we are forced to take a long hard look at ourselves. I think the best advice I can offer is to take a step back to assess some of your core identities - your interests, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses - that make you who you are. Take the time to write down your dreams and goals, favorite classes and activities, and ask your friends and family to describe you. Putting together a picture of who you are can help you get to the essence of what you want to tell a college about yourself and show them how you would fit in on their campus. Engaging introspectively can help you properly frame a picture that will provide a cohesive narrative throughout your application, from the teachers you ask to write on your behalf to the activities you choose to list and the personal statement you write.