A top Greek newspaper has included Davidson international student Thanos Petkakis '16 as one of its "30 Under 30 to Watch." Petkakis was pictured among others selected on the cover of the April 3 edition of the paper, Kathimerini, and profiled inside.
Petkakis is a mathematics major with an emphasis on applied economics and finance who has a long-term interest in helping his homeland reestablish a strong economy.
Following commencement, he will be joining the Athens office of a leading global strategy consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He worked for that same firm last summer, and in summer 2014 he worked for Deloitte's Strategy & Operations practice. He said he aspires to next earn an MBA, and study public policy.
Petkakis grew up in Thessaloniki and attended Anatolia College for high school, where he learned about Davidson during a visit to his school from the college's international recruiter, Wookie Payne.
Petkakis didn't set foot on campus until orientation, and admitted that his adjustment to a new culture and Davidson's academic rigor were initially difficult. However, he found that faculty members and friends offered support both in the classroom and outside.
"I was struggling in Professor Kumar's Econ 101 class," he recalled. "He recognized that and invited me to spend Thanksgiving with his family. It was beautiful!"
Though he didn't major in economics, he participated in several opportunities in that department, such as Competitive Advantage, Training the Street and the Avinger Scholars Competition. He also represented Davidson at this year's Yale European Students Conference, where he and students from 52 other institutions prepared policy papers on the European economy.
Petkakis studied abroad during the 2014-2015 school year at the London School of Economics (LSE). During that year, he conducted political and economic research on Greece at the Hellenic Observatory and the Department of International Relations. He was one of the vice presidents of the LSE Hellenic Society and chief organizer of the third annual Hellenic Forum on "GReform: Our Vision for Greece."
This year he has served as president of Davidson's Pre-Business Society, assisted Kumar with his senior session, titled "The Greek Debt Crisis," and developed an informal mentorship with Ed Kania, the college's vice president for finance and administration. He also has been involved with colleagues from several institutions in submitting a paper on public sector entrepreneurship facilitation to an economics competition in Greece.