‘Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken’ – Sharmili Adhikari – IIM Bangalore – Celebrating Womanhood On InsideIIM

Taking a chance to celebrate the women who are pursuing MBA, here we have Sharmili Adhikari’s take on womanhood and life. Sharmili is an MBA student at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. She calls herself an amateur professional and a professional human being.


What was high school like for you? How did it contribute to your personality/ the person you are right now?

A person is known by the company she keeps and I have been extremely fortunate to grow as an individual in the company of caring faculty and an excellent peer group. My various stints at positions of responsibility, sports, inter-school competitions etc., helped hone my oratory skills, taught me the importance of teamwork and helped boost my confidence in more ways than once. I do not remember having a stage fright ever!

If money was no object, what would you do all day?
I always make time for doing the things I love and my day is pretty much eventful as it is. However, if it were really so, I would perhaps invest more time in gearing up to be a tourist to the International Space Station.

What advice would you give to a 5-year-younger you?

I am a major movie buff and several of my biggest life lessons have been learnt from them. I would like to particularly mention this quote from a popular movie – “I learned a long time ago that there’s no sense gettin’ all riled up every time a bunch of idiots give you a hard time. In the end, the universe tends to unfold as it should.” Sublime.

How do you think women are better equipped to deal with problems as compared to men?

I am an advocate for equality. However, in my personal capacity, I feel women are stronger emotionally. Having said that, one is necessarily not alone. If a problem does crop up, and as the recent ad campaigns teach us- “Share the load!”.

Many IIMs and other b-schools award extra points for being a woman. What is your take on that? Do you propagate the concept OR Have you faced any backlash for the same?

I am cognizant of the strong opinions that arise from the execution of such a system. As for me, I feel one should not be awarded points for being a woman or a man, but for being herself/himself. It is indeed as they say- “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken!”.

Name one incident that you encountered where someone told you, you couldn’t do something because you’re a woman.

My twin and I are avid football fans and as young girls trying to break long-fortified bastions in being one in India, we would encounter remarks downplaying our association with the sport. Words such as “You kick like a girl!” or “You are a girl, what do you know about football?”, believe it or not, strengthened our resolve to “be different” further and with time and support from our family and friends, I believe a woman is equally capable of doing most things usually considered to be performed by the opposite sex.

If you are out on a date, do you prefer to pay yourself? If you insisted that you want to pay for yourself, how did the other person react?

I “go Dutch”, accept or I pay the amount myself, depending on the situation. Today, the society is more progressive than before and any reaction to my making the payment is mostly a promise to repay in the next meal.

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