By Bhavyaa Sanghvi, MBA’23 | Forté Fellow
Enjoying a summer break tops the list of all the unexpected benefits of returning to school. While I relish the grind and the constant need to be chasing a goal, winding down and relaxing for just a bit has afforded me some time to introspect and truly decipher what independence has meant to me.
I grew up in Mumbai, India in a cross-generational family. Having spent most of my adulthood living with my parents, as is the norm back home, independence meant getting to set my own rules. Moving out and building a home in a new country, continents apart, helped me realize it was so much more.
Independence to “figure it out”
Starting afresh is tough. Having left the comfort of my home and the silent support of my family, I now had to adopt the role of cook, cleaner, and housekeeper as efficiently as I could from the get-go. I wish I could say I figured it all out by myself – but it sure does take a village and some Kelleys to help you along the way. The Woodbridge crew* (MBA’23 pictured left) played partners-in-crime/guinea pigs for this MasterChef-in-the-making while Ashwin Vadalkar, Manish Jha, Rohit Raman (MBA’22) doubled up as grocery-guides and furniture-haulers as I figured out how to set up a home. Being an accountant at heart (shout out to our amazing Prof. Brian Miller for reigniting my love for the subject), crafting the budget life was easy, but Bloomington International Student Ministries (BISM) and Asian MBAA club helped provide crucial tips and tricks I needed, to implement the same. I was also lucky enough to find not one but three safety nets in Rob Hendrickson, Zach Herge, and Parth Goradia (MBA’23) who were there when I didn’t have it all figured out. And in all honesty, I am still learning to enjoy this independence – but knowing I will find my way with the help of my classmates and mentors, makes it all worth it.
Independence of Choice
With over 100 different classes available, my Spring semester schedule was but a matter of choice. This, for me, was a unique experience since the collegiate structure in India is relatively uniform. The subjects I would be required to take and the schedule I would follow to earn a Bachelor of Commerce degree in India might look identical to that of my classmate’s. However, at Kelley, your MBA is one of your own makings. Carving my path was an empowering experience and thanks to the guidance of my coach, Emily Stern, I am set to earn a Major in Business Analytics and Management along with a Minor in Marketing.
I would be remiss if I do not mention one of my earliest and probably easiest choice—my first year Academy: Consulting Academy. This experiential learning course led by J. Scott Laughner and GCS Coach Suzanne Stuebe not only helped me build the right skill set but also the right mindset to succeed in my chosen career path. Thanks to the support of this amazing group and the CA-GAs (Consulting Academy Graduate Assistants) – Farrah Bhimani and Rebecca Shanker (MBA ’22), I am currently interning at EY, a Big four consulting firm, in Chicago.
Independence to Grow
It’s only human to gloss over memories of busy periods in your life; the times you stuck your head down and hustled. Year 1 of my MBA feels like a reel of all the core homework sessions, hangouts with my core team (shout out to Green 4!), recruiting, casing, networking sessions, and Kelley club socials, in fast forward. But it is to these experiences that I owe thanks – for affording me the independence to grow professionally, socially, and personally. I never believed alumni when they said they made friends for life, here at school. After all, how do you forge close friendships over just two years? Well, Year 1 is just about done, and I can not-so-grudgingly admit that they were right. For those saying “Pics or it didn’t happen” – here is a picture of Kelleys in Chicago, hanging out together on a sunny day, sharing and growing together as Kelleys do.
In celebration, here’s to another year of figuring it out, some more choices, and growth. I am grateful for this opportunity and am excited for everyone who accepted not only an offer to the Kelley MBA program but also an offer to find their own versions of independence! Go Hoosiers!