By Tanmay Arora*
(*Founder & CEO- Unwired India, one of the top 10 biotech start-ups of 2021 and an MBA student at Deakin University)
Deakin University (Victoria, esb 1974 is among top ranked 50 young universities globally and is ranked 16th best in Australia by QS and at 271 globally) has always been on the top of my list of universities. As one of Australia’s largest universities, Deakin has strong global linkages, world-class research and, most importantly, an educational portfolio that blends the best of campus and digital delivery into a highly supportive and personalised student experience.
I joined the Deakin University’s MBA (International) programme with a cohort of 6 Indian leaders from various domains, as the sole recipient of the Deakin-FICCI Vice-Chancellor’s Meritorious Scholarship (2021-2023). This scholarship has indubitably been the single most pivotal moment of my life thus far, and has exposed me to Deakin’s global fabric and international space.
The scholarship process, at times, can be a little intense for students. However, it was fairly straightforward for me. I went through the scholarship process with the intention of actually not getting the scholarship! I think that’s a restrictive vision to begin with. The scholarship is only a platform that can lead us into new trajectories and catapult us into the future. My aim throughout the interviews, group discussions and the other rounds was not to impress the panel, but rather convey a true depiction of my reality, my story, my experiences and my journey thus far. We are all unique; we’re all special. It’s really about owning up to your truest identity. There is no perfect scholarship candidate or application. If you’re a musician, a dancer, an entrepreneur or an inventor, own up to your identity. It’s extremely empowering; not just through the scholarship process, but also through life!
For prospective candidates, I’d suggest not to walk into the interviews with the intention of impressing the panel and getting a scholarship, rather, work towards integrating your vision with the platform and explore how the scholarship may lead you to beautiful destinations. You must hold yourself accountable to the highest standards.
The panel can see through you! The panel comprises of extremely learned and experienced leaders who are aware of your vision and your projections. Be real, be authentic, and you shall get the scholarship. If not, there’s certainly something better for you out there.
So, before I could get to experience and live in the beautiful open spaces, see its wildlife, kangaroos, koalas and some of the prettiest sunsets in the world, Covid pandemic cast its ugly barrier on our mobility. But fortunately I didn’t miss too much due to robust virtual integration. My education went unhindered online. Deakin buddies is a great virtual platform to meet and make friends online, which gives a sense of a community and belongingness at Deakin even while being in India!
Deakin’s been at the forefront of global e-learning; it’s been incentivising partnerships and collaborations for years now. Though I understand that most of us missed out on real-life based learning, but the zoom sessions, lectures and seminars that I have been a part of, so far, were really immersive! Despite the pandemic, I’ve had personal meetings with over 120 Australians through LinkedIn. The struggles prepared me in a much better way. I have much clearer expectations as to what I want from when I arrive in Australia.
The university conducted seminars, workshops and mentorship sessions on regular basis. The peer student mentor network is by far the most fun virtual experiences that I’ve ever gotten the chance to be a part of. The personal academic mentorship through the VCPEP (Vice-Chancellor’s Professional Excellence Programme for Scholars) (https://deakintalent.deakin.edu.au/vcpep/) has been of great help so far.
Though I have already completed two credits through one online trimester on the Deakin Cloud Campus before, the MBA (International) programme commences for me in March 2022. The experience so far has been extremely enlightening. I have had the privilege of being mentored by some of the greatest leaders of Science, Technology & Entrepreneurship in the world. Now, I’m really excited to fly out to Australia in November 2022, to start my third trimester and experience the remaining trimesters on-campus.
Personally, I found the Australian Brain Alliance (ABA), an initiative of the Australian Academy of Science extremely compelling. The project is driving the future of global neuroscientific R&D. With rising start-ups and ventures in Australia like AusBiotech and Geneworks, Australia felt like the perfect place that could offer me access to both Science & Entrepreneurship.
The diversity of education, the access to some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies and the Australian work culture are some other appealing aspects that drastically influenced my decision to study from Australia.
Through the MBA, I strive to understand the business, the strategy and the synergy that comes along with new technologies, ideas and scientific brilliance. I want to apply my acquired scientific knowledge to develop a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem through my ventures that can impact millions. Since I have been scaling two entrepreneurial start-up ventures and have adequate prior experience with budgeting, strategy, planning, operational development and leadership in multiple organisations/companies, I am of the strong conviction that the expert guidance at Deakin, with my concerted efforts shall help me steer my career towards my goals.
Deakin has empowered me with the opportunity to be mentored by global Business leaders and entrepreneurs viz. Dr. Heather Round- as my VCPEP academic mentor from the Deakin Business School, and has supported me to explore numerous avenues beyond academia, enabling me to see how scientific rigour can translate to solve real world problems when combined with business.
By 2030, I envision myself to be on The Forbes 30 Under 30 for having impacted 600 million lives through Unwired India.
There you go!