From Hamlet to Harvard: How I leveraged my interest in drama on my business journey

Growing up, I was a risk taker in a family of worriers. I learned early that I had to push my parents to allow me to try new things, from playing a new sport to auditioning for a kid’s television show, and so I did, working hard to maintain a schoolwork-extracurricular activity balance. Despite the common attitude in India that things outside of the boundaries of academics are distractions, I was confident that pursuing my passions would benefit me, and they have, both as a person and as a professional.

My interest in performing on stage has helped me build the collaborative skills and communication abilities that have guided my career. In college, theater helped me find my community and led me towards student government, where my ability to wear many hats and balance responsibilities allowed me to shine as I organized performance events and led teams of other students. As a consultant with a global firm, my theatrical abilities helped me better read and appreciate context, understand and communicate with diverse stakeholders and slip into a new situation seamlessly. As a result, I could effectively deliver on projects while maintaining employee satisfaction and respecting each company’s culture. Moving into venture capital, my strategic skills, coupled with my hands-own approach, motivated me to use unconventional approaches to investment research, which have paid off for our firm.

When I was interested in pursuing a business school education, I applied on my own the first time, but was unsuccessful. I decided to continue working and prepare for the next round of applications the following year, but this time with some help. Working with The Red Pen, I was able to re-frame my narrative to really reflect the combination of skills and passions I bring to the table, while staying true to my personality, in and out of work. Moreover, the process taught me the concept of fit and I was able to reflect on the qualities I already had in spades, like the ability to work with teams, and communicate in effective yet empathetic ways, and the ones I want to cultivate, like leadership.

Joining the Harvard Business School Class of 2019, I’m excited to have found the right place for me, where I can cultivate new skills and continue preexisting ones in a new place. As I learned early, when it comes to new experiences, the rewards outweigh the risks.

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The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?