It was the ‘Pre-Joining Meet’ at JBIMS when I saw her for the first time. A bright, confident, expressive person, somehow I knew she was very special. As the time went by, I realised I was right.
Radhika Vyawahare is indeed a unique personality in itself. A gold medalist Textile engineer from Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Radhika redefines the word ‘academic excellence’. She has consistently achieved high grades in her academic life. A recipient of ‘Sir Ratan Tata Trust Scholarship’ for excellent academics during graduation, she is an ‘OPJEMS scholar’, a laurel awarded to 1 out of 20 Indian B-School students excelling in academics & leadership. But, is it only the academic section where Radhika excels? Not at all!
She has represented India at San Francisco, USA and was the Regional Global Finalist for HULT Prize 2016. She has also won the prestigious HUL Enterprisers’ Inc’16. She was Regional Finalists at L’Oreal Brandstorm’16.
She was the Co-Founder of ‘The Chemical Web’ at ICT and member of the Catalyst Forum and Consulting Club at JBIMS. She has learnt Braille language and translated books for blind students.
A former Product Specialist at Pidilite, Radhika interned at the most sought after consulting firm ‘McKinsey & Co’. Owing to her exceptional performance during internship, she was awardeda Pre Placement Offer.
Right from the age of 17, in pursuit of higher education, she has lived away from family. She is also a solo traveller and loves to explore new places. Radhika believes that, staying independently and travelling extensively has given her a plethora of experiences and played a significant part in shaping her personality.
Her all-round performance fetched the prestigious ‘Sabina Bakshi Best Female Student’ award at JBIMS.
A powerhouse of inspiration, thus I decided to interview Radhika.
1. What was high school like for you? How did it contribute to your personality/ the person you are right now?
The change from a younger shy reserved me to the current extroverted me who loves to taste new experiences started in high school. It is hard to believe for many, that my personality has undergone this quantum of a change. High school helped me transform into a more disciplined, focused and a go-getter person; few qualities I hold dear till date.
2. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Much to my happiness, I’ve been raised in an environment and a family, who have instilled a thought process through example, to not make money the centre of my actions and life decisions. Although I would love to travel widely, read extensively, and have a plethora of varied experiences, I believe these can be achieved with the right career path, disciplined time management, smart prioritisation and correct investment choices.
3. What advice would you give to a 5-year-younger you?
If I could, I’d tell my 5-year-younger self the golden mantra: ‘If it won’t matter 5 years from now, don’t spend more than 5 minutes fretting over it.’
I’d advise her to invest more of her time in non-academic activities and carefully choose things to spend energy on. I’d also ask her to indulge more in smart work in addition to hard work and try to make her understand the importance of self-belief.
4. How do you think women are better equipped to deal with problems as compared to men?
I fail to look at men and women differently. Personally, the ability to deal with problems is a function of various factors such as upbringing, social conditioning, street smartness and common sense amongst others. Gender has little or no role to play in this.
5. 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 do understand the importance of a batch that has gender diversity; it imparts a learning that cannot be taught from a textbook. I, however, don’t think awarding points on a platter for a factor like gender (a factor you have little influence over) is fair.
6. Name one incident that you encountered where someone told you, you couldn’t do something because you’re a woman.
While working for my previous organisation, the sales profile involved me having to visit parts of the country that weren’t very women friendly. This was a big deterrent for the employers while hiring me, however, I convinced them to not consider this as a deterrent and made sure that I worked well enough for my being a woman to never be a concern.
7. 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 prefer to split the bill as the focus of being on a date is spending time with each other and not on money (either one spending on the other). For those, I’ve gone out with several times, even if one pays, the next time the other one does and averaging takes care of the rest.
My taking time to understand the person I’m going out with before agreeing/asking him out has ensured an easy and understood splitting of the bill. In case, discomfort persists even after talking about it, there would be no further dates.
About the Author:
Aniket Patil is a student of MMS Batch of 2018 at JBIMS. He is also a member of the 'InsideIIM Student Team 3.0'.