Work always seems incomplete without a zest of creativity and passion. That is especially true when you’re in marketing or advertising. Today, we bring you the story of a creative and passionate soul, who hails from Gurgaon, Haryana. Her story includes everything from working for brands and ad agencies, to personally starting an awareness campaign for the street dogs in her locality. Her creativity and drive are what placed her amongst India’s 50 Most Employable Graduates of the Class of 2020!
The following is Serena Panesar's set of responses to a questionnaire floated amongst MBA graduates to determine the top-50 most employable MBA graduates of the Class of 2020. Amongst the massive number of entries and responses being evaluated by the Founder of InsideIIM-Kampus Konversations, Serena’s story and profile stood out. Here's her story in her own words.
“I am a driven and optimistic individual; coming from several rather competitive spheres of academia (Delhi Public School, Delhi University and, MICA), who knows the importance of balancing working hard with enjoying the pleasures of life. I enjoy reading and watching crime-based stories. I have an untamed love for life underwater, and scuba diving in exotic locales is my ideal holiday plan. I’m a forward thinker and am always scouting for the next project or adventure that I can immerse myself into. Most of all, I give 110% of my abilities to everything I do.”
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.
This was during my summer internship with L’Oreal. I had consciously chosen to not apply for a sales role because I knew my shortcomings in the area. I was a reserved person and took the time to speak to people and develop professional and/or personal relationships. My project for the summer internship required me to do extensive research through visiting salons in Mumbai and deriving qualitative insights from hairdressers and consumers. I had to get over my qualms about talking to people and quickly, given that I had only 2 months to finish my project. In the end, I did succeed, with the Vice President of L’Oreal’s Professional Division lauding my efforts for being able to find such accurate insights in such a short period of time.
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
Not too long ago, the colony I live in, in Gurgaon, started getting rid of the stray dogs that lived there. The neighboring societies did that as well. The reason given by the RWAs was that the dogs attack children. Now, I fed most of these dogs on nearly a daily basis and I knew firsthand how friendly they were and that they were incapable of attacking anyone. Thus began my campaign to raise awareness about the dogs and get them vaccinated and neutered. The poor stray dogs had no fault here and were being removed only because of an incorrect notion that existed in people’s minds. It was important to remove the bias first and then get the RWAs on board with letting the dogs live there. I did this by getting existing dog owners and dog lovers to speak to the RWAs, and by convincing a neighborhood pet hospital to vaccinate the dogs at a subsidized cost.
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
When I was working as a Digital Media Executive for WatConsult, one of the brands assigned to me wanted to execute an influencer marketing campaign. Once we started working on the brief, there was an internal conflict regarding which influencers to recommend, since it was a priority campaign for the brand. To resolve the same, we got executives who worked on a similar brand from the same domain (makeup) to give their views which would be unprejudiced. Following this, the team was able to come to an agreement and carry out the campaign without any further glitches.
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?
I am an avid artist and have previously pursued the same as a business venture. I worked mostly with watercolors and calligraphy (both digital and non-digital), and often made commissioned artworks as well. I had a small venture called ArtCouture that I ran independently in 2017-18, that retailed notebooks and prints along with bespoke work.
If 10 Million Dollars (approximately INR 75 Crores) is given to you to use it any way you deem fit what would you do with this corpus?
I would start my own digital advertising and media agency. I have worked with 2 different digital ad agencies in the past, which were a part of 2 major advertising groups (WPP & Dentsu) and have experience in working for a brand as well. I believe I understand the dynamics of the digital world, having taken it as a minor in my MBA, and will be able to create a successful venture from the ground up.
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