Chapter-2: Kanika Sahijwani, Youth Leader, UNCTAD ; Forbes 30U30 Fellow’ 18

15 Nov 2019
5 minute read

  • Assistant Manager, Global Transmission
  • South Asia Manager for Ariel Foundation International and Ambassador at the UN.
  • Youth Leader, UNCTAD Youth – Represented India at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Youth Forum 2018.
  • Anchoring member of Chanakya – the Intellectual society, English literary society, College editor

  • It has been a total high and low tide journey for Kanika, from being an English Honours student to where she stands today. She represented India at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland at the UNCTAD Youth Forum’18. She was the Facilitator at a session at the UNHQ in New York during ECOSOC Youth Forum’19 and has also worked with MakeMyTrip as a Consultant in their Brand Alliances Team for a short project.

    She never failed to keep up the vibe of get going and conveys through her journey , “Hard work pays off wisely.” Currently working with India Infrastructure Publishing for their International products as an Assistant Manager , she spared some valuable time out of her schedule to make sure that she shares with us her experience with the world and make us aware of the few ups and downs we all will be facing shortly.

    Meet Kanika Sahijwani (PGDAV’17) Assistant Manager, Global Transmission

    1. You spent 3 years at PGDAV and you must have made quite a few memories. Tell us about your experiences.

    I got admitted to the college through the ECA quota- Creative Writing. Freshman year was definitely the most interesting in terms of the excitement, making new friends, getting to know the teachers as well as seeping into the course and laying ground work for goals to achieve in the next two years of college.

    During the college I worked on two start-ups of my own- one was an education management company and the other was a personal care products company. I remember putting in 15 hours work days juggling between work and studies and looking back, I just miss that hustle. I learnt so much, I failed so much and most importantly, I learnt how to fail better.

    I can also proudly say that teachers were the best part of my college life. They were truly my mentors be it life lessons or course-work, I’m so blessed to have them!

    2. What did you do after completing your graduation?

    I started working with Momentum Worldwide, McCann World group as an Account Executive in the Client Servicing department. Through this stint, I worked with a few corporate giants and got immersed in the experiential marketing space in India.

    I represented India at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland at the UNCTAD Youth Forum’18, part of World Investment Forum where I was also a panellist. A few months later, I facilitated a session at the UNHQ in New York during ECOSOC Youth Forum’19.

    I also worked with MakeMyTrip as a Consultant in their Brand Alliances Team for a short project. Currently, I am working with India Infrastructure Publishing for their International Products- Global Mass Transit and Global Transmission as an Assistant Manager, where I handle marketing and business development for their International Conferences.

    3. How did you convert you Startup dream into a reality?

    Startups are hard to master. You have to find the problem-solution fit first and then validate your hypothesis of the problem-market fit. I played safe with my cards. Released the MVP and Beta version of the website during my days in Ogilvy. I had a hypothesis that if I failed because of lack of knowledge on startup ecosystem’s intricacies, there must be many like me who look up for such information. While I waited for these hypotheses to be validated, I learnt a lot from Ogilvy and also took many online courses to add to my skills.

    I left the world’s best advertising agency after working there for 1.5 years to start my own website, but it was worth it. Feedough is currently the #18 best startup website in the world and my work is now cited in many institutions like Harvard Business School, University of Washington, etc.

    4. Can you provide some tips on how can one improve their communication skills?

    No one can excel in swimming just by reading about it, you have to take your first dive and learn while in water. It’s the same with communication skills. What I suggest is to not stop with a course. Go out attending networking meetups, take part in competitions, and talk about the topics you love to people you don’t really know. It’ll help you a lot.

    5. There are students who pursue professional courses like CA, CS, MBA beside their graduation. Would you advise them to sit for campus placement for experience purpose?

    Honestly, if you’re pursuing such professional courses just because your family wants you to or because everyone else is doing it and you think you don’t really have a choice, I strongly suggest you to sit for placements and widen your horizon as I believe many of you still don’t know what you want to actually do in your life.

    Getting placed gives you a different perspective of what skills are actually needed in the market and where you can fit.

    6. What is, in your sight, more advantageous when it comes to placement? On- campus, off-campus or walk-ins?

    College life is all about finding your own opportunities. Do take part in on-campus placement drives (even I did) and go for off-campus interviews as well, but don’t limit yourself to them. Make contacts, add people on LinkedIn, and attend networking events. Just don’t think you’ve settled yet. Always look for ways to enhance your skillset. It’ll be a great help eventually.

    7. What role, according to you, do Internships play in today’s scenario?

    Internships are vital in today’s competitive environment. Try to learn as much as you can. Go for brand names, but then go for interesting profiles as well. Take part in fellowships, be a volunteer, there’s so much to do and learn.

    You actually learn most when you’re on-job, not when you’re sitting in the class.

    8. Lastly, do you have any message or advice for the current students?

    College life is about having fun in everything you do. Things might get tiring but as long as you’re having fun, you are on the right track.

    Just keep one thing in mind – if you’re spending more time at home during your college life, you might actually be wasting the most productive years of your life.

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