ACM-W Perceptions,
An interview with Rujuta Kelkar

A lot of what we do at ACM-W is aimed at how we can increase the inclusivity of women in various fields and guide them to make decisions about certain aspects of life. 

The second article of our series features Rujuta Kelkar, a final year student majoring in Computer Science, who discovered her interest in business studies and landed MiM admission offers from top business schools like INSEAD, ESSEC, and ESCP. In this article, Rujuta gives us some insights into her journey, shares her business internship experiences, and tells us how she built her resume. Rujuta is a phenomenal addition to ACM who motivates us to choose our own directions as she blazes a trail and paves way for others.

How did you discover your interest in business studies amidst the tech trend among your batch mates? 

  • In the first year, there was an event organized by ACM called ‘Apprentice’. I took part in it and I found it very fascinating. There was this B-plan round as well which I enjoyed a lot. When the recruitments happened in my second year, I found Kaaryavarta interesting. I also joined an ACM SMP on ‘Macroeconomics’ during the first-year summer. So, I liked all of that. Moving to my second year, there is this foundation called the ‘Wadhwani Foundation’ which had started a course on Entrepreneurship, they were interested to offer this course as an open elective to the students of NITK, they conducted a screening test and post that about 40 students were selected. I studied this course during my second year which helped me get a good idea about business studies. In addition to this, I did a bunch of business internships, so these things helped me discover my interest in business studies.

You have an impressive resume for your business profile even though you were a CS student. Could you give some resume building tips and share your internship experiences?

  • It is pretty important to build a business-oriented resume, especially if you are looking to apply for a Master’s Degree in business, and you have to work towards it determinedly. Business schools usually look for extracurricular activities and business-related internships. Extracurricular because for any kind of business-related role usually, all schools look for leadership potential, your ability to work in a team, and put your opinions out there. Try to ensure that you are taking part in some kind of activities not only as a team player but in leadership roles as well. On that note, I was a part of ACM, the Artists’ forum, and the badminton team. I made sure to play pretty regularly to help build team spirit and learn to deal with losses which I think is very important. Now, coming to the internships, it’s very essential to have formal work experience in business because courses are pretty theoretical. My first internship in business was in a dutch management firm called BDO in Oman. I interned in corporate advisory and that was a consulting internship. This was a really good experience where I got to deal with a lot of real-world problems. I did another WFH internship in business development with this tech startup in Bangalore called Myelin foundry where I worked on a business study about expanding to a prospective market and its feasibility. Now coming to the summer of 2020, I interned at the Indian School of Business(ISB), in the Idea to Startup lab which was a collaboration with the University of Bocconi, Italy. It involved interacting with different startups in their Ideation phase and analyzing the data collected thereafter. I also did a data science internship at this startup called Samaaru Finance, where I implemented ML algorithms to help group farmlands based on satellite images. 

Did your tech background give you some extra edge during your business internships?

  • These days there is nothing coding won’t help you with, knowing a programming language always helps and especially Python as it is used extensively in Data Analysis. Machine Learning has a lot of applications in the financial and marketing sectors, multiple algorithms are used to deal with data interpretation. Knowing how to code does help but apart from that, there is no such link between knowing computer science and having a business background. One more thing I would like to add is a CS degree does help you build a logical approach and clear thinking which will be pretty useful for dealing with problems in the business world. 

What kind of advice and/or support did you get from people when you decided to go for higher education in management instead of engineering?

  • I wasn’t considering going for higher education in engineering because I liked business  all along since my first year, but when you are sure that you want to do a master’s degree in business, there are two options mainly which are MBA and MiM. An MBA degree is very popular but apart from India at least two years of work experience is required and there is a MiM degree which is pretty much like the MBA degree but it is more for freshers. I spoke to a few seniors from NITK who have done MiM from reputed business schools like HEC and ESSEC. They guided me through the job prospects and what the business schools are looking for before giving you admission. These pieces of advice did help a lot. 

Did you face any additional barriers in your journey because of your gender?

  • Well, not really to be honest. Our college is favorable to women. There is great exposure to a lot of opportunities. The important thing here is having clarity about your passion and later on, it’s just about how you follow it. Also, business schools have strict diversity rules, and they usually have to publicize the percentage of male vs female class composition. Hence, itโ€™s kind of a favorable scenario for women since B-schools try to ensure that a certain number of women are present in class.

Could you shed some light on your social initiative ‘TheraView’? Tell us more about what’s in store for TheraView in the future? 

  • During the peak COVID period, everyone was under lockdown inside their homes. When meeting friends, it’s a little easy to talk about your problems but it’s hard to call up someone and then talk about it. I figured that mental health might be a problem during these times. I started reaching out to certified counselors and asked them generic questions that would give us some guidance. So I interviewed them and put it up on YouTube for people to refer to and I also encouraged people to send in their questions. Very recently, I launched an initiative called therapYOUtic, the point of this is – therapy about ‘you’. I started this off on a small scale by convincing therapists to come on board for lower rates after telling them that it’s for students. Also, since I have already associated with them for the YouTube channel and people have seen them answer questions on YouTube, your therapist is not unknown to you. So I try to ensure the quality without losing out on pricing. In the future, maybe we’ll have a season 2 for the channel on YouTube. 

What’s your advice for people opting for a business degree after B. Tech?

  • Don’t go for a business degree just because you are bored of what you’re doing because then your application might get rejected by the top schools and getting into a medium rank school is probably not a good idea because since the degree originated in Europe, the job prospects are good for the EU citizens. But since we are international citizens getting into a medium rank school might dampen your prospects in terms of a job. So try to get into top business schools that are world-renowned. One more thing I would like to add is that these top schools get a lot of applications because of the growing popularity of the MiM degree, and they can very easily tell if you’re just bored or genuinely passionate so if you do apply for this course make sure you have some leadership, extracurricular or even volunteering experience. Most importantly, you need to have an answer to the question ‘What drove you into business?’ 

We are grateful to Rujuta for sharing her experiences and time with us. Furthermore, we wish her the best of luck for her journey which will surely bring us nothing but more inspiration and motivation.

Curated By : Deepta Devkota

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