‘I Do Not Believe That Any Act Is Truly Selfless’ – Sahithi Vinjamuri, IIM Shillong – Best30 – Class Of 2019

Hailing from Andhra Pradesh, Sahithi has done her schooling and spent her formative years in Mumbai, Chennai and Dehradun.  She graduated in 2016 from Shiv Nadar University where she pursued electronics and communication engineering with a minor in English. Her experience at IIM Shillong has been extremely enriching in that she has had good exposure to lessons from professors in classes, competitions, PR activities as a member of the Public Relations Cell, her summer internship in the Global Business Operations department at VMware and the considerable learnings from interactions with fellow students there.

Name an instance where you wanted something and went out of your comfort zone to achieve it OR Tell us the biggest risk you have taken so far in your life.

One thing that I have wanted since my high school days is to get over my inhibition of speaking in public and in front of larger groups of people, particularly in formal settings. Getting there has involved having to go out of my comfort zone several times. I made it a point to participate in MUNs etc. and also helped conduct corporate events that were held on a large scale during the training period of my job which required addressing several people. The activities have not been easy to perform and I haven’t been the best speaker at any of these events, however I find myself more willing now to take on such activities and not back down when approached to participate or conduct when required, which I see as being on the path towards what I really wanted.

 

When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else – a truly selfless act.

I do not believe that any act is truly selfless. Even in cases of doing something for someone where one may not get any direct benefit in terms of appreciation, rewards or recognition, one always takes away some form of satisfaction or joy. The takeaway may not be immediately recognizable sometimes but definitely shows up somewhere in building one’s life. 

That said, the closest I have come to such an act is when I decided to take up teaching some of the children of household helps of our buildings for some months, post their school hours. It started with just the two children who I used to teach English and Maths to each evening, but slowly over time, we had more children of different ages join in. My aim, while I was teaching there, was to try to bring these students to a level where they would have their basics cleared in order to study and practice on their own as well and help them get a proper grasp of the things being taught in schools. This was particularly required for two siblings who had very discontinuous learning with them moving back and forth between their village and the city. 

Those couple of months were the ones where I gave my time with possibly no expectations of return but it definitely did give me great satisfaction whenever any one of them did well in their tests or even understood concepts they didn’t earlier as a result of my efforts.

 

What is the one thing you can claim to have some level of expertise or depth of knowledge in – it could be anything – a subject, a sport, a hobby, a venture, an initiative which has led you to do deep work in that field?

One thing I feel I have developed some amount of substantial experience and knowledge in is primary and secondary research. I got an early exposure to conducting primary surveys in a structured manner during my under-graduation studies when I took part in conducting the ASER survey in villages of Uttar Pradesh to assess education levels. The elaborate questionnaire and defined manner to conduct the survey which was explained to us was quite a learning experience. Post that, using those learnings, I conducted some of my own primary and secondary research while I was studying Online and Blended forms of learning for a paper that I had presented at a national conference. The understanding of research methods, gathering of data and learning of qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis has only further been enhanced through my MBA study. Several courses, group projects and my summer internship project have helped me learn and implement these techniques further.

 

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