Deeksha Kapoor is a 22 year old Masters of Management (HR) student from New Delhi, India. She completed her Bachelors of Health Sciences from the University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand.
"What seemed as an impromptu plan for me, turned out to be one of the most enriching and best learning experiences of my life."
Q: Tell us about your hometown, what was your experience like growing up there?
A: I hail from the national capital of India, often what is termed as “Dilwalo Ki Dilli”. My love and connect for my city has only grown stronger. What often gets missed in the imperfections of “pollution, pot-holes and snake-wriggling traffic jams” is the “immense warmth, love and ‘a gazillion memories’ this city gives you. What cannot escape the list- some of the most scrumptious cuisines in the world.
I would probably sum up my experience of growing up in Delhi is what I say “Colourful & Enriching”. I am indeed fortunate to have experienced the privileged side of Delhi while at the same time, have been grounded. I owe this primarily to my grandmother, who ensured that despite the privileges I got in terms of having a sound education and other facilities, I would have the sensitization towards the lesser privileged sections of society. I can only sum up my experience as “You can definitely take the girl out of Delhi, but you can never take the Delhi out of a girl”.
Q: How do you compare Melbourne and your home town of New Delhi?
A: Despite the two cities being completely ‘Poles Apart’, certainly they do represent a caricature of similarities. If I describe Delhi as “fast – paced” Melbourne is quite laid back. In terms of architecture and design, economic and social standards of living, urban design and a slew of social activities; Melbourne is quite well planned compared to my hometown. Despite them being poles apart, commonality lies in the vivaciousness and vibrancy of both cities. Both are boiling pots of cultures, cuisines and quite amazing people.
Q: When and how did you make the decision to study abroad?
A: Honest confession - the very first decision of moving abroad to New Zealand when I was 17, was what I define as “stroke of luck”. While in high school in Delhi, I wanted to pursue an international education at a masters level, but I’ll end up going at such a young age was quite surprising yet fulfilling. My dad shifted his business base to New Zealand and what seemed as an impromptu plan for me, turned out to be one of the most enriching and best learning experiences of my life.
Q: Did you have any anxiety about the decision?
A: ‘Anxiety’, of-course. Like a usual 17-year-old, I had a gazillion questions, ‘if and buts’, constant anticipation of what will happen and how am I going to adjust to a completely new culture. Despite my father constantly travelling to and from NZ, the most difficult part was me “living away from my family and managing my own self”. Despite the bitter – sweet memories, looking in hindsight, I believe this has made me more grounded, aware and self- reliant individual.
What’s the biggest difference between studying in India vs Australia?
I believe that while education in India is rigorous, voluminous and heavily theoretically outlined. The Australian education is extremely practical, requires a higher degree of application and is holistic. Nevertheless, I believe the Indian education system does teach you how to work hard which coalesced with the skills I have gained out of my Australian education, makes me what I am, both professionally and personally.
"When you’re scared to jump, that’s exactly when you jump and see life unfold"
Q: Why did you choose the Masters of Management (HR) program? How do you see HR playing an important role going forward either in India or Australia?
A: I am a very “People-Oriented” individual with a very low threshold for monotony in my life. I primarily chose Human Resources as a discipline because its dynamic, unpredictable and the quintessential existence of “human” is what keeps it exciting. If everyone on this planet had similar personalities and psychology, it’ll be dull. I could have never foreseen myself into a discipline that only required me to sit behind the screen and do something formulaic and I have been fortunate enough to pursue it as well. I guess people drive me, they intrigue me and most importantly, they make an organization. I believe that any competent professional entering the workforce knows what is the job, but more than that how to strategically utilise human resource to realise the overall aim of the company, if we don’t know that, we never succeed. HR’s role is indispensable to any country or organization, and while in Australia, there is an increased shift towards HR and People Analytics, this is an upcoming field with an immense scope for the Indian economy.
Q: What has been the most mentally stimulating class at unimelb for you?
A: I recently completed a winter subject “Conflict and Negotiation” which was by far, the most stimulating and enriching classes I have taken at the University of Melbourne. What made this subject stand out for me was the extensive and thorough application of each concept we studied unfold into a real-world case study at the end of every class. The importance of theory is often overlooked and undermined but when we see the practical applicability of a subject, it bridges the gap and makes things more interesting. I believe as a master’s student, its one of the most essential skills to have. Also, the sheer passion, critique and vigour my professor taught with made it even more enriching.
Q: You also studied in Auckland, how was that experience and did it encourage you to come to Australia?
A: I do have to admit that I’ve a love hate relationship with that. I initially started with a degree in medicine but later switched to a degree majoring in Public health and Policy. All the highs and lows I’ve had during my undergrad at University of Auckland , be it academically or socially, it has made me quite resilient, competent, practical and self-reliant. Living in New Zealand exposed and challenged me not just academically, but also socially and in my personal life. It made me expand, modify and change the perspective I used to see world with. It made me realise that things will never be perfect but how we handle it makes all the difference.
And definitely this experience encouraged me to move places . At that instant, I was baffled between Australia and the UK, however, due to the University of Melbourne’s reputation and the multicultural hub it is, I chose it over the UK. If an international education has taught me anything then it is the fact that “when you’re scared to jump, that’s exactly when you jump and see life unfold”. From an introverted, shy person to believing, “Go big or go home” , it has been quite a journey.
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Q: Graduate studies can be intense, how do you try and achieve balance?
A: Masters does take a toll on you, not just academically but managing the academics with your entire social existence is hard. I am a workaholic from Monday – Friday evening, and make sure I keep abreast of all the content I have been taught. For the weekday evenings, usually a swim helps me to keep calm. Also, I am quite a social person, so weekends are all about catching up with friends, over brunches and dinners, that keep me balanced.
Q: After some time in Melbourne now, what are a few of your favorite places?
I believe “you are what you eat” and I am a big foodie. While I love experimenting new places, I am extremely loyal to the places I love. I am a brunch and a coffee addict, so my top 3 favourites are –
Ø Middletown Restaurant , Prahran
Ø Ca De Vin, Bourke Street
Ø @ Ease on Lonsdale Street
Do you make plans? Where do you see yourself in 3 years? 5 years?
I believe that the only consistent feature of the answer to this question is that it is dynamic & ambiguous. For now, in a year’s time, I hope to secure a job in either human resources or consulting in a multinational firm. Whether it’ll be in India, Melbourne or in another country, I believe time will tell. Post achieving 2-3 years of experience, I want to join and further expand my dad’s business which is in education consulting.
In 5 years, I see myself as a businesswoman in the field of education and consulting, based in India but handling operations globally. Besides this, I am a writer and a poet, so I do see myself writing a column for a lifestyle, fashion or travel magazine, perhaps followed by a book.
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