“I’m and always be a small town girl”, An AMA with Aishwarya

Ghaziabad 2010–2014 | 99%ile at CAT | MDI Gurgaon | PepsiCo

What is common between 7up, Nimbooz, Kurkure, Mirinda, Mountain dew, Tropicana, Himalayan, Aquafina and Quaker oats? Their parent PepsiCo.

KIET was a big step up surprise to Aishwarya Singh as all the 6 schools she’d been to, were your typical small town schools in Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Gazipur, Baharich and Basti. She says she aces keeping good company and found some really sharp people across years in her time at KIET. She had fun and worked hard to get a 99.3%ile in CAT. She headed MDI Gurgaon’s International relations committee in her MBA and now is an HR manager with PepsiCo. She manages 1000+ people in Sales, North India.

1-How was the entry into KIET from a cultural perspective? What were the highs and lows?

KIET was more like a looking glass to me. It was both a reality check/wake up call and the dream board. Sounds very ironic but it was.
I met a bunch of great people who were exceptional in their field of interest and were willing to learn and make mistakes. I was also fortunate to get to interact with people who were going to be adults and wanted to have a life of their own with dreams and aspirations.
The highs were that I got to have an open mind. Baptism through the fire in a way. I was put in situations where I had to postpone my old beliefs and look at things afresh. Lows were that it wasn’t the best place to start dreaming, I should’ve started sooner much much sooner.

I was, I am and in a way, will always be a small town girl who had entered a much bigger arena of talent, potential and aspirations at KIET. It allowed me to be better at understanding the world and people in it.

2-What was the experience moving on from KIET to one of the top 5 B schools? Was it smooth, did you fit in, now being a very intelligent “Delhi girl”?

I deny that allegation completely. I am not a Delhi Girl I am a UP girl.I have been born and brought up in UP. My father is in a transferable job and I changed my school every three years sometimes sooner.

I have studied in English medium schools across small towns of UP, some you may have heard of some you might not have. Namely Basti, Gorakhpur, Ghazipur, Bahraich, Aligarh, Varanasi.

3-What made you go for an MBA? And where to, when to and how to start preparing for CAT?

Moving to MDI was a very very fortunate turn of events but it wasn’t as easy at all. I was very overwhelmed by the people who had made it there. They had a lot of experience and talent and in a way clarity of purpose of MBA. Although all of us had different reasons for doing MBA. They and I were committed to making us one of the best MBA professionals at the end of the day.
The idea of MBA itself was very romanticized, but it’s not like that you enter any MBA institute and suddenly you’re a very different person. I was still the person who graduated from KIET.

4-At which stage/year you started thinking about them CAT, and what exactly made you think for that?

In second year itself, being a CSE student, I was very clear that graduate education was not enough for me to have a long-term career for that matter. I was not very keen in pursuing engineering as a career option. I didn’t want to go to research I’d rather go to a management field where I could be interacting with much more people and also learning through people rather than just exercising concepts and developing things. people around me and the conversations with them made me realized that getting the job after graduation was not all I wanted to do.

5-How much you think female discrimination is there in the industry?

Correcting the question there’s a female discrimination in life in general. don’t really matter its corporate or college anywhere a woman is seen in leadership matters or even trying to make a point even minutely its always taken with a pinch of salt.

6-What’s life at PepsiCo is like?

Life here is very much like that in an MBA college. Its a closed community, people know you in person like to share in with your life’s successes and failures which gives you strength. Its required that you have the base to your answer, question or problem and it won’t be just dismissed just because you’re freshly graduated with no ‘10-yr-experience’ the will hear you and respect you.

7-Is it necessary to be an IIM graduate to get top-notch position in MNCs?

No, it’s not necessary but it’ll make life easier. You’ll reach top-notch companies but it’ll take a lot of time and lot of proving yourself over and over again if yore a graduate from a decent b-schools but yes, its longer than that for IIM graduates.

8- What advice you would like to give to a girl in the 2nd year of engineering?

There are a few things I learned which I’d like to share obviously.

First is Be Prepared, be prepared for everything and every situation you’re going to face in your life, be it any Interview you’re going to sit in, or an exam, or you’re going to meet someone for the first time, or anything just don’t rely on your genus and your brain alone. I know it sounds nerdy, but this is what I learned.

The second will be always surrounded yourself with good people. Be around people who are ambitious and want to do better in life and also who are not just crybabies THINGS DON’T HAPPEN TO PEOPLE THEY LET THEM HAPPEN TO THEM. A lot of who you’re today is the sum total of 5 people you spend time with. if you’re with loser you’ll be a loser and if yore with people who look up, it’ll be the beneficiary in the same way.

The third is read a lot, as much as you can. Be it an article on the internet, be it a non-brainy book, anything. There’s no boundary to reading. Why am I saying this? well cause when you’ll read you’ll have conversations about that and through that, you’ll learn a lot.

9- Have you sit for an on-campus interview?If yes then how was the experience?

Yes, the first interview is a nerve-breaking experience. More and more, be comfortable with ho you’re, if you’re someone who does a lot of hand gestures like I do, don’t limit yourself thinking people will judge you for that and if you’re the one who likes to keep it short and crisp, do it like that.

10- What is professionalism according to you??

Professionalism is basically separating your personal biasses in or personal judgement you’ve for a situation and acting in the best interest of all parties involved. this might mean acting with grace, acting with intelligence, thinking first and reacting later, lastly and more importantly knowing your boundaries, what is your span of control or how much can you really impact. 
Professionalism also lies when you accept defeat gracefully and also knowing that even with the best of your intentions these are not the things you can impact. Sometimes it is also standing up to people and telling them that these are my place and my position and you should respect it or you’ve to respect it. It doesn’t mean to back off or to be timid, it’s about knowing when to back off and when to be timid.