Countries. Cultures. People. Relationships. I love to embrace the new! Being the daughter of a public sector employee with frequent job transfers, I have lived in five different cities in the 27 years of my life. Adapting to different environments and finding beauty in myriad new cultures, comes naturally to me! I have made meaningful and valuable personal connections beyond culture, religion and linguistic commonalities, valuing people for being who they truly are. However, unfortunately, struggling with the Imposter Syndrome, I fail to make a similar deep-bonded connection with myself.
Travelling to new countries, I have learnt about different people and how to empathize with them. Since childhood, my fearless, politics-and-business journalist mother always encouraged me to be bold and interact with people beyond social boundaries, beliefs and affiliations. This ability to connect with individuals, without inhibitions or preconceived notions, today, is my greatest strength!
Studying at the National Institute of Fashion Design, India’s top fashion college in the heart of Mumbai, I have helped several small-towners feel at home, by taking them on city tours, and assisting them with their English and internship applications. I have also been the confidante to quite a few of my classmates, standing by them through thick and thin. During the pandemic, when I joined Shopee, a leading E-commerce platform in the Philippines, as a first-time manager, this same trait helped me adapt to the Filipino work-culture and connect with my colleagues better. I spent time learning basic Tagalog to make my team understand that I was genuinely interested in understanding their culture, winning good friends from a different nationality, even without meeting them in person.
While I adapt to different cultures and scenarios with flair, I struggle to empathize with myself, suffering from the Imposter Syndrome which makes me question my capabilities. I have suffered from high-functioning anxiety since childhood, a reason why I froze on stage during a school performance despite months of practice. Ever since, I have pushed myself to become better, surrounding myself with people who are better than me on paper academics and professional qualifications. This in turn has resulted in feelings of not being good enough, turning me into a workaholic. Though my obsession for work does help me achieve great feats, it makes me lead an unhealthy lifestyle, leaving me exhausted!
However, it is never too late to change! Enrolling in Toastmasters helped me overcome stage fright, while meditation and daily affirmations aid me in dealing with self-doubt. Today, I speak confidently and hold trainings, without the fear of being judged. Most importantly, I have found peace within myself.
At INSEAD, I want to leverage my ability to adapt, to interact and build lasting relationships with people from different backgrounds, and add value to my cohort. The global MBA program will not only introduce me to a diverse multinational audience but also help me take a step back and go through the basics of a business education, building my confidence and helping me find strength within myself.