What matters most to you, and why?

What matters to us the most also defines us the best, and, I believe, my choices truly mirror my personality. Born as the younger child in my family, I craved for attention and competed with my older sibling in literally everything—grades, extracurriculars, and even trivial family games! My hunger to be better than the rest, spurred me on in my quest to triumph always. Though its definition for me has evolved over time, “winning” makes me a go-getter and still remains the most important thing that matters to me. Emerging victorious in anything I do, triggers the dopamine in my brain, leaving me feeling good and satisfied in a way that nothing else does!

As a child, though it all began with winning against my sister, joining elementary school swiftly opened doors to swimming tournaments. I practiced hard all afternoon only to win that favorite candy from the concession stand! I eventually started participating in debates and soccer matches, too. I won the admiration of my peers, a pat on the back from other parents, and great self-satisfaction of having met or exceeded my parents’ expectations.

I eventually went on to win the Built by Girls Future Founders Challenge—an event that introduced me to another aspect of winning. My team and I innovated a helmet capable of detecting concussions on the field while playing sport and was invited to present the device at the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. This was the first time I had worked in a team with a coherent strategy and mutual understanding, winning an accolade worth praise. The meaning of success turned a completely new leaf and evolved further when I joined Carnegie Mellon and was elected as the Club President for American Statistical Association. Once again, I realized that while working in a team, success didn’t depend on me alone but on the performance of each individual member of the group. Winning in this capacity evoked a sense of ownership in me and taught me to find my triumph in the joys of my teammates.

Years later, co-founding Mila, an app that curates matches based on compatibility, was a humbling experience. I won the confidence of my friends to join and support my venture, and worked hard to make it a success, despite being warned that 90% of startups fail. I implemented my innovation and for the first time ever, I had won as an entrepreneur!

The desire to win has never made me forget to apply my restraint and pragmatism, whenever required. I believe in winning the right way—no short-cuts, no unethical means, no compromising with my integrity! As a board member of Carnegie Mellon’s Undergraduate Consulting Club, I once chose not to select a person who came highly recommended by my best friend because I thought the person wasn’t deserving of the post. I lost my friend, but I never lost my self-respect! I never let myself get swayed by emotions.

My zeal to win has, over the years, made me extremely patient, methodical and organized. Most importantly, my spirit of winning has made me tough, mature and persistent. Winning for me, now, is like any other habit that I have cultivated over time. A practice that I will continue to perform during my time at GSB and beyond!

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