Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Vanya Mishra, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Vanya Mishra

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

“A highly ambitious, optimist, motivated person who firmly believes in her dreams.”

Hometown: Chandigarh, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I won my first crown at the age 1.

Undergraduate School and Major: PEC University of Technology, Major in Electrical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Reliance Jio, Senior Manager – Media, Marketing and Advertising

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? It was my trust in IIMA’s legacy to entrust the cohort with the best education and exposure to management and leadership skills. Many of our professors bring years of diverse, international experience and are extremely learned, so it is great to learn from them.

What has been your favorite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Ahmedabad? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it? There are lots of new courses here for me personally, since I have not dealt with most of the curriculum in any of my work experience so far. All the business-related courses seem quite new, and the program is still in initial stages, but I personally have enjoyed the challenge in learning these new subjects and exploring the depth of my own capabilities. Sometimes, it gets too overwhelming but to understand finance and economics so well, after having attended only a few sessions, is definitely exciting.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I love taking risks, and I won’t achieve half the things that I did if I were afraid to follow my dreams. Everything that I ever have done or achieved in my life is only because I truly wanted it. I cannot work in something my heart is not into. So, one of my biggest dreams that I accomplished was winning the Miss India World while still in my undergrad, representing India at Miss World and finishing as Runners-up. The win always stays special because of my upbringing and how my mother. She is a single parent who had inspired me to think and dream big and achieve whatever I ever desired for, even if I felt I don’t have adequate resources to achieve it. By now, I have built this in my professional DNA, and no number of constraints could limit my goals ever. I believe If you truly want something, you can always find a way out.

Another one would be running my own startup when I was 22 years old. I began my entrepreneurial journey right after graduation sans any business background or massive capital. As a first-gen female founder, I realized starting-up was 5x harder. I still feel glad despite all the roadblocks, I took that step and have not looked back ever since.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: While it’s only been two months into the program, I feel my biggest accomplishment so far is adapting to the course and curriculum. We all started our journey amidst a second wave, where I personally saw lots of friends and family suffer. It was challenging mentally and emotionally! Also, I come from a diverse background and have had exposure in broad areas, from Bollywood, to entrepreneurial world. Even at Jio, work was highly consumer-facing and high-stakes. So adapting into a rigorous curriculum and environment was challenging, but I am glad I fared well, beyond my expectations. This again kind of reinforces the fighting spirit that I embrace while facing new challenges.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Having been an entrepreneur right after graduation, I realized lot of facets of starting one’s own business and the problems first gen female founders face. This was first time I thought maybe an MBA could add some value to my professional aspirations. But instead of jumping right into it, I wanted to gain got an exciting opportunity to work with Jio which was upcoming and big plans of its own. Not the one to pass an opportunity as exciting as this one, I pushed back my MBA plans in 2017 and I realized the need for it only in the last year. I was aware that IIMA’s one year MBA covers all major aspects of business and is highly reputed in general management.

After graduation, I look forward to pursue a career in technology and media industry. These two fields don’t just align with my experience but are also my core interest.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Ahmedabad? Presumably, gaining admission into IIMA is not quite easy. Even with the vast amount of exposure, and self-confidence in my profile, I was a bit nervous during my interview round, as I had not done anything like this in a long time. My advice will be from a perspective of a diverse candidate – feel good about yourself and know that more & more business schools are looking for candidates who bring in a range of diverse experiences, in India and abroad.

More importantly, be ready to showcase the range of your thought-process during essays and interview rounds. Be calm and confident – this would be my best piece of advice – nothing is end of the world. Try to aim for a strong GMAT score and give it your best shot. Although whatever the outcome is, still go ahead and apply anyway. GMAT is not a make or break, and an adcom will ideally value your profile beyond your score.

Also, have good extracurricular activities to mitigate any weaknesses and just show what all you are capable of. Do remember, MBA experience is beyond scoresheets and a lot about personality development and aptitude building. Know that MBA is a steppingstone to achieving your dreams and not the end goal. Think of it that way and this may take off lot of extra baggage and burden potential students often take upon themselves. And I will finish this off by saying, always believe in yourself and your dreams and never let anyone else tell you otherwise!


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