Manvi’s Journey-From Krea University to Carnegie Mellon University

Manvi’s Journey-From Krea University to Carnegie Mellon University

Overwhelmed, exhilarated, excited, these are the three words Manvi uses to express her jubilance on the admittance offer from  Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science to the Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science (METALS). Manvi chose Computer Science Major at Krea, SIAS and has also been a Krea student ambassador. 

Manvi has always been a curious young student, and it all started as early as Grade 6 when she asked her mother what’s the best education she could receive, and the best university. With a desire to always experience the best in education, Manvi’s path took her through various milestones, one being Krea and now onto another at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Manvi has always been passionate for education and tech and views this as a stepping stone in her journey.

“I want to see how I can use the opportunities I receive to enhance my capacity to work for the greater good.”

Manvi Teki

Lessons from the journey for future aspirants

From her own personal experience, Manvi pulls out few pages for future graduates aiming at higher education

  • Believe in yourself and aim as high as you desire
  • Circumstances may make you feel less confident, but always know there is nothing impossible to achieve
  • Start your research in the 2nd year of Undergraduation
  • It’s an ocean of courses and specialisations out there, explore well but don’t get confused
  • Plan it well, also look for backup universities apart from your main ones
  • Be prepared, keep a good buffer for deadlines. E.g- If the application is due in December, attempt and close GRE by July.
  • Plan it all but do not over plan it, give yourself time to breathe

Pathway and Stepping Stones

The Internships

Manvi feels that all her internship experiences collectively helped her be where she is today. Right from the Teach for India experience in the middle of the pandemic to being a Tech Business Analyst at Minfy Technologies during the summer and a Tech Content Curator once she was rehired, it all were jigsaw pieces falling into place, through the skills learnt and the projects tackled.

One of the projects closest to her heart at Krea was her internship with IBM. “ We applied all the facts we had learnt into the project. We had to create a questionnaire using NLP technique to tap into human consciousness to gauge their learning style and the results were used on various IBM learning platforms. We used what we learnt in Computer Science, a course in Brain and Behaviour and Design Thinking. It was a reflection of my Krea journey itself, of applying things in your real life, truly interwoven.”

The Krea Experience

“Three years of interaction with the faculty and not just from the Department of Computer Science but all across really helped. Conversations play a subtle but important role in what you do and what you decide to do “

Manvi Teki

Manvi emphasises how the amalgamation of these inputs and exposure helped her shape her thoughts and choose her path forward.

Manvi didn’t step into Krea with a fixed mindset, she navigated the journey with open thoughts. But everything fell into place at Krea- the pattern of assignments, the coursework, and the midterms, among others. While a lot of students struggle a bit as they head to an international university, Manvi believes spending three years at Krea with a similar pattern gives her leverage. A jumpstart to a smooth transition.

“The whole research mindset, writing-intensive three years, helped me put into words my SOP. The skills I picked up through courses like Design Thinking have really helped. These have all molded me to adjust and adapt better, made me comfortable with the concept of uncertainty, which I do not fear anymore.”

The Co-curriculars

Manvi has always been one for extracurriculars and believes they help shape the mind and individual one is. “You don’t become you just because of academics. 70% of who I am today is not because of academics, what I learnt was out of classrooms how to speak, how to read emotional cues”, adds Manvi

Manvi aims to work in a space connecting humans with tech and even though she hasn’t done courses in Psychology but one, her time training in theatre has helped her understand social cues and the human psyche.

Way ahead

“Many people believe that creativity is in the Arts but there is creativity in Science too, the phone is a creative product.”

Manvi wants to create the most human designs possible using tech, ones that could help a large number of people. She aims to address the massive gap between advancements in technology to their translation to community and people. Her long term vision includes working for equity in education by ensuring tech reaches students across the social spectrum and in ways that can be utilised by them for learning.

Lekshmi Gopinathan
reports, from the Communications Desk

Hear from a young mind at Krea on what transpired in an exclusive interaction with Dr Raghuram Rajan. Kathan, a freshman from SIAS reports.

Hear from a young mind at Krea on what transpired in an exclusive interaction with Dr Raghuram Rajan. Kathan, a freshman from SIAS reports.

When it was announced that Dr Raghuram Rajan was going to visit Krea for a talk, one could feel the energy shift in the student community. Dr Rajan, the former RBI Governor and a member of the Governing Council at Krea, was one of the most significant reasons that attracted us to the promise of Krea University. To listen to him in person, know about his experiences and draw from them is what all of us had eagerly waited for. And now the moment had arrived. 

Welcomed by cheerful applause, Dr Rajan began his talk with a succinct presentation on India and its economic vision. In the light of the 2022 Union Budget, he elucidated how India is changing – what is right with it and what is wrong. From the employment rates to the COVID-19 data, he highlighted the importance of statistics and what they reveal about the current world. Dr Rajan emphasized the importance of education and schooling in the future by narrating observations and anecdotes from his own life. Citing a few schemes and policies, he talked about how the present India connects to its past and how the same mistakes should be avoided in the future. With the graduation of the first batch of SIAS right round the corner, Dr Rajan laid out an outline of the situation of youth and jobs in the current India. Towards the end of the presentation, he gave a few brief alternatives to the existing vision that mainly involved the need to “focus on upskilling” the people and shifting to providing greener services.

The presentation was followed by a fruitful Q and A session where the students got a chance to directly interact with him. This was one of the best parts about the talk since it was visible how Dr Rajan’s presentation had intellectually stimulated the students to discuss the real issues in the world. From questions on the startup ecosystem and cryptocurrency to concerns about youth, employment and education, as time went by more and more number of hands went up. His witty humorous comments here and there kept the conversation light-hearted, encouraging the students to be more comfortable to open up. 

One of the main lessons that Dr Rajan accentuated on was to not dwell on the past for too long and rather focus on what we can change in the now – even if it concerned the past few years. Dr Rajan ended the talk by signifying how important it is to fight for a better India and how each of us can add value to the society simply by being the best we can be. 

About Kathan

Embracing the space-time continuum with some laughter and overthinking.

SIAS – Cohort of 2023

Majoring in Biology

Unravelling a Narrative on Education, Economy and the Vision Forward with Dr Raghuram Rajan

Unravelling a Narrative on Education, Economy and the Vision Forward with Dr Raghuram Rajan

“Our development has to build on our unique aspects, more specifically on our liberal democracy and institutions, and that will be our strength. The future is limitless.”  

These inspiring words pitched the gateway to a deeply insightful session anchored by Dr Raghuram Rajan, as he shared narratives on the need-of-the-hour remedies for India’s economic recovery, on creating better education and healthcare systems, and working on using hard infrastructure to facilitate access to markets.

In a wide-ranging discussion, with the students at Krea, Dr Rajan also responded to a room brimming with questions and shared his perspectives on various aspects, from making a choice to move away from the rat race, better ways of financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and its merits, lessons from history and the need for young students such as the audience to fight for preserving and advancing the India that we have created, with resilience and optimism.

Dr Raghuram Rajan kicked off the interaction shedding light on the K-shaped economic recovery in India and how poor employment numbers are the key indicators of economic underperformance.

“One of the numbers that really struck me is the female participation in the workforce in India and it was the lowest in G 20 along with Saudi Arabia in 2019.  Even Saudi Arabia has reformed, opening up jobs for women, their labor force participation for women is 33% today, we are still at 20%. We have a long way to go.”

He expressed the need for a reality check, on what could be rectified and done differently. On why a country with definite successes such as the largest two-wheeler industry in the world, ability of ISRO to send missions to Mars for a fraction of the cost as NASA and whose UPI is being emulated in many countries as a case study of fast payments, is still underperforming.

He laid emphasis on creating hard infrastructure that allows connections and access to markets and soft infrastructure such as creating more education and healthcare. He suggested that withing the economy, India focus on services more than goods. He conveyed the importance of investing in people and how the biggest concern today is not economic recovery but schooling, especially of young children in government schools who have been set back by two years and are in the danger of dropping out.

Reminiscing his time at RBI, he spoke of days when they would step out to have a meal at the home of a Class 4 employee, the lowest tier of employment in the organisation. “It was a fascinating sight to see the children of these employees work with Infosys and some as bank managers. In one generation they had moved out of the low level of employment to this, that’s what education can do.”

As the session moved on to the Q&A segment, the questions rolled in succession. Answering one of the queries on disparity, he retorted “We have to work on ensuring quality of education spreads from stronger universities to weaker ones. Universities like Krea should become research universities, so they can train teachers and students at Krea could do a PhD, come back and populate the other universities. Create an ecosystem and spread the benefits. This won’t happen overnight and will take 20-30 years to realise but any vision has to start now.

In answer to a query on colonialism and India and its dire effects on India’s progress, Dr Rajan recommended that we look forward and use history in matters such as dialogues on climate change. “Use it to insist on the right to more emissions than Western countries as they have been destroying the atmosphere for a much longer time”.

Speaking in response to a question on financial inclusion, Dr Rajan emphasised how entities in microfinance do bridge the gap through easy facilitation of credit, but the bigger problem lay in the management of finance by the poor. There is an urgent need of imparting skills and education before providing credit to them. In many such cases, Fintech could step in at places where banks are reluctant and even hand hold them, exploring new possibilities and ways to access.

On being asked to comment on the ‘rat race’ and a way out of it, he advised, “You can refuse to be part of the rat race. There are so many possibilities today. As we grow richer as a country, we can afford basic living in what we do and wherever we are. Then you can look at fulfilment in what you do instead of from the salary you are getting.”

Sharing anecdotes laced with humor from his own life experience, Dr Rajan explained how during his younger days, the choices were limited to either the IIT, the stream of medical science and to some extent the Economics at St Stephens and becoming an entrepreneur was often associated with youngsters who couldn’t land employment opportunities. On how he succumbed to the rat race, studied at IIT and later circled back to Economics. He shed light on how there were innumerable opportunities for the young graduates today.

As a parting note, Dr Rajan left these powerful words with the young audience to mull and act on. “As young people you need to fight for a better India, the future of the country is in your hands. Fight for a country which embodies the best of the past. We have a constant battle on what is best and it’s you who has to decide that. The experiment of India that our founding fathers thought of is a bold one, let’s not lose the best of what we created, let’s preserve that. Do whatever you do with all the energy you have. It’s not necessary to be a social worker or work in an NGO, you can produce the best widget in the world and still add value. Just go out and be the best in whatever you do.”

Lekshmi Gopinathan reports, from the Communications Desk.

The 7-35-25 CON[EU]NDRUM: Looking at the CAI deal

The 7-35-25 CON[EU]NDRUM: Looking at the CAI deal

THE BASICS

The EU-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), better known as Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), was agreed on Nov 2013. Just to set things straight, this is not a full-on trade agreement but a “pact” for the EU to create new investment opportunities for its native companies in Chinese market by eliminating discriminatory laws and practices (that were only accessed by Chinese companies and corporations from third world countries). It was the combined idea of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and anxious Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to get this deal finalized after enough [35] concessions. Disregarding the proposal of early consultations with Biden-led US, Merkel-Xi had other plans. History speaks that Germany do carry good trade relations with China. To think of it, the largest EU investment sector in China is the automotive industry which is obviously a big deal for Germany. But we can’t conclude that Germany will be the only beneficiary here - several fronts need to be considered. Above all, this is just an agreement in principle and the deal’s full text is yet to be published. So it is up to the European parliament to ratify and mark it green for the BIT to finally commence from 2022. Nonetheless, the following illustration would brief out things:

Image credits: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202012/1211466.shtml

For people with utmost curiosity, you can still refer to the key elements of “the most ambitious deal” published by the EU, here

THE RECIPROCITY GAP – a major concern

After noting the pros, challenges are now weighed in terms of imbalances created in EU-China FDI flows due to [buzzword] “lack of reciprocity”. Backtracking it shows that EU has been way more receptive to foreign investment than China with the latter operating in a restrictive FDI regime. And if reciprocity persists, anti-globalization sentiments might fuel an erosion of support for the European producers and consumers. So the treaty “is supposed to go” some way to rebalancing this. But in factuality, it supports the theory of one-sided fulcrum.

THE INVISIBLE HAND OF GEOPOLITICS

[1] THE IMPACT ON TRANS-ATLANTIC RELATIONS

In December 2019, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi answered a question saying that it was unlikely for a “developing economy” like China to come to an agreement with the [Brexited] EU. But with strategic intentions, Xi intervened personally to snatch the deal within the window of opportunity. Thus the seven-year long-awaited video conferencing got a fair bit of coverage on December 30, 2020. But it got backlashed that the accord might create friction in EU’s relations with the incoming Biden administration. The view would clearly weaken Biden’s “efforts for a closer US-EU check on China”. Even if the CAI is neither signed [due to the US pressure] nor implemented, China is +1 for creating chaos and controversy amongst backers and opponents of the agreement in the European Parliament and among other member states. It is a symbolic win too good to pass for the dragon.

[2] AN IRON FIST (NO MORE) IN A VELVET GLOVE?

Romanticizing different versions and believing in soft power based on hardcore facts is what India has been through. But the changing world order did make the tables turn for the aforementioned. Indian diplomats and policymakers now deal in High Level Dialogues (HLD) circumscribing this BIT. But it transpires to be negative for India’s foreign policy assumption that Europe is in for the US’s ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategy that is meant to “rebalance” China’s reign. Without Europe as its ally, the strategy is a road to nowhere. Quite knowingly, Merkel hurriedly reached out to PM Modi to persuade India to accept CAI as a market access pact while continuously harping on the importance of the India-EU trade deal. To this, the French diplomat asserted NSA Ajit Doval on “forestalling China from manipulating Europe” thereby hinted at Raisina Dialogue (India’s premier foreign policy conference) to boost Indo-Pacific partnership. So, at the end of the day, India, fortunately, is not in the dire position and must climb down from its ivory tower to assess the reshaped world order. 

[3] THE FINAL WHISTLE‘THE DIPLOMAT’ concludes that the EU should rethink its China policy and introspect its coordination with the States. An EU-US solidification will have more leverage in relation to China and can be a “catalyst for a broader multilateral coalition of concordant countries to promote the rule of law and to blunt Beijing’s efforts at economic coercion”. But for the European geopolitics, the pact is still meant “to defend NATO territory” and achieve stabilization.

Krea Student Diaries | What is it like to begin University amidst a Pandemic

Krea Student Diaries | What is it like to begin University amidst a Pandemic

By Kathan Pandya

In the beginning of 2020, my peers and I would have never imagined attending college through laptops and mobile phones. Yet, here we are left with no choice but to hold on to the fragments of our expectations with a grateful heart and mind. As the year commenced with a fun-filled week of orientation in August 2020, I felt welcomed in this vibrant community of students, professors and staff. 

When virtual classes began, I admit it wasn’t easy. Sitting in front of the screen for hours and actively participating in classes soon became a mundane routine. I would often switch places to attend classes, would keep my camera on to make myself more visible, and try things to embrace the rigmarole of online classes. Professors would give a choice to students about turning cameras on because they understood our anxieties of presenting ourselves online. The courses were also modified well to suit an online setup. All the reading materials were available on Canvas – an online classroom tool. Group projects were tailored to suit the online medium. Amidst all this, we students would often talk and share how different things would be if we were on campus at that moment. Isn’t it funny how students would try to skip classes on campus in the pre-pandemic world and now we can’t wait to be on campus?

Attending Krea has been my first experience of meeting people from different places and cultures. I am learning how to communicate with others by striving for balance between openness and sensitivity. Creating WhatsApp groups for the whole batch is something I am truly grateful for since that was a major point of communication to socialise beyond classes. Of course, apart from the abandoned Discord groups!

We had a choice to join a maximum of five clubs, but it would become tough to engage in all of them. I was only active in two of the five I joined. It was refreshing since I could also talk to people who were not in the same class or cohort as me. Club activities are something I continue to look forward to whenever we get a chance to catch up.

Being at home while being a part of a university can be arduous. During the second wave, numerous students and professors struggled to balance the two. Whether there were house chores to do, family members to take care of, to recover and rest yourself or having to stay in the house for long periods of time- all of these reasons had naturally caused a lot of stress. But empathy being one of Krea’s core values, I am glad that the professors had given us students some leeway by simplifying assignments and allowing us to manage our time to make things easier for us. The first year is over. While it might be easier to lament about how one-third of my university life has already passed online, instead, I choose to look at each and every moment as precious lessons I learnt along the way. The university has played a huge role in making the transition smoother and more comfortable. More than anything, I feel like I have gained a peek into the possible futuristic lifestyle that will be dominated by technology.

About Kathan

Embracing the space-time continuum with some laughter and overthinking.

SIAS – Cohort of 2023

Majoring in Biology

Krea Bytes: Aishwarya on her Krea journey

Krea Bytes: Aishwarya on her Krea journey

‘It was the Immersion Day experience that set my heart on getting into Krea!’

For a student who always stuck to exploring interests and topics within her comfort zone, Krea was a breath of fresh air. Surrounded by subjects that slightly nudged her away from familiar territory and exposed her to a plethora of disciplines, with talented peers from hundreds of cities across India, Aishwarya’s learning journey here has been nothing short of amazing. Straight out of St Thomas Residential School in Trivandrum into the hustle and bustle of University life at Krea in Sri City, Aishwarya shares with us her journey as a Krea student right from the unique admission process to experiencing Interwoven Learning in her first-year.

How did Krea happen?

I found out about Krea from an old school friend who went through the website and thought it was something I would be interested in. This was the first time I had come across the “liberal arts” concept, and it was very foreign and abstract to me. I must admit that I did not give much time or research into understanding the courses being offered, but the promise of a unique admission process is perhaps what pushed me. I was so busy preparing for various entrance exams and attending college interviews that I almost missed the application deadline for Round 3 of admissions. In hindsight, I cannot believe that I was ever that close to missing out on studying here!

What prompted you to pursue your learning journey at Krea in the beginning? 

It was the Immersion Day experience that made me set my heart on getting into Krea. I was not nervous, intimidated, or scared at any point of the process, unlike the interviews and selection processes I had been a part of before. I wanted my undergraduate experience to be stress-free, especially after the hectic schedule I had put myself through in school, and the very welcoming and friendly environment during the KIC made me realise Krea was the right place for me. 

Entering Krea right after school, how different was the experience?

In school, I was the kind of student who never stepped out of my comfort zone and I always stuck to rote learning and memorising concepts even if I did not fully understand them. I have always wanted to change this habit of mine, and the learning process at Krea has helped me learn, un-learn and re-learn several things. Initially, I was apprehensive about doing Mathematical Reasoning, Scientific Reasoning and Introduction to Topics in Computer Science in the first year, because I shied away from these subjects in high school. The course faculty helped me revisit concepts I had previously learned in school, and I developed the skills to approach problems differently. 

To sum it up, although learning in Krea is not always a cake walk, it is extremely rewarding and I always gain something new at the end of the day. 

What about Krea has changed you or given you a new perspective?

I would say that the people in Krea are what make the institution what it is today, and I have never before met such a diverse, motivated, and caring group of people in my life. I owe the kind of exposure I have received over the past two years to the professors, the staff, as well as my peers, and I know it would not be the same elsewhere.

How has Interwoven Learning (IWL) helped you discover or enhance your interests?

I always knew that college would be a formative experience, but Krea has turned my life topsy-turvy, in a good way! I ran for the position of Finance and Resources Representative in my first year and was fortunate to be a part of the first student government. This is something I would never have done before! I pushed myself to try new things, meet new people, and make the most of my newfound independence. 

I have to admit that the foundation courses in the first year, although they did open up a plethora of options, ended up making me a little more confused because my interests have always been all over the place. I always knew on some level that I wanted to pursue a major in Economics, and the Interwoven Learning aspect helped me figure out my other interests, and how I could pair them best with Economics. 

What are your future plans?

I don’t have solid plans yet– I am considering a Master’s in Public Policy or an MBA, but I’m keeping my options fairly open and I’m hoping to get a better idea once I’ve started my third year at Krea. Working with students has always been my passion, and I hope to build a career in the education field someday.

If you could share something with aspiring Krea students, what would it be?

I think the one thing that sets Krea apart from other universities is the fact that there is room for all kinds of people with diverse interests- and you will always find a space or group where you would fit in and be able to pursue your interests. Apart from the wonderful experiences (both academic and otherwise) I have had so far, I am most happy about the fact that I found wonderful friends here.

Aishwarya Sivaramakrishnan

Currently majoring in Economics and taking courses in Business Studies and Psychology in the School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences at Krea University.

Krea Student Diaries | How I chose my Major

Krea Student Diaries | How I chose my Major

By Kathan Pandya

In school, we are given a range of subjects to study. In college, there is a world of difference! Yes, there are various courses to choose from and attend. However, it is also a deep-dive into that one field or subject for 2-3 years. With the increasing number of options available, I admit that I was confused about what to choose, which discipline to explore and figure out how it aligns with my interests. Unlike the many people who already had a clear idea of what they wanted, I took some time to accept that clarity doesn’t happen so quickly and it is perfectly okay to be clueless at first. 

In high school, like most teenagers, everybody gave different advice. Some advised that I should follow my interests. Some cautioned me to keep my future in mind, while others reminded me to be practical. After months of thinking and analysing my options, I realised that all it takes is three simple steps, a step-by-step process that I followed while selecting my Major as a sophomore. 

1. Know what you are good at

There is always the scope of surprising yourself by finding something you are unexpectedly good at in college. Krea’s first year, that way, will be a revelation of sorts. When the time comes for you to choose your Major, you would have a fair idea of what it is that you are looking to explore. It is not necessary to excel at that subject area, but be aware of the skills that are required and how it would help you in the future. 

2. Identify your interests

Here comes the typical question- what are your interests and what role does it play in your academics? You can like astronomy and nothing else in Physics, or enjoy creative writing but may not be interested in Literature otherwise. College is when you need to think broadly. When tasked to opt for your Major, answer the following questions: Which Major has courses where most of your interests lie?  In which Major are you ready to take a few courses you may not like just for the sake of the ones you do enjoy? Remember, to know about one’s interests is a superpower in itself! 

3.Yes, be practical too!

Creating a path for yourself, aka by choosing your Major, is a daunting task and requires you to account for every little aspect right from interests to occupations and future potential. I have learned that when we begin college, our knowledge on future careers is extremely limited. But the more you explore, like in the first year, the more your mind opens to a number of opportunities. Amidst all this, my curiosity really helped. So don’t hold back- Ask professors, the internet and people around you about the rich variety of careers available in your list of interests and strengths. Gaining knowledge about the paths that are built and then deciding on your own will also act as a motivator. 

Now imagine these three pointers intertwining like a venn diagram. Bear them in mind, weigh the pros and cons, but most importantly- be open to learning new things and embracing change. 

The core and skill courses in Krea have been very helpful that way, especially for someone who gets confused easily amidst a plethora of options. I would have never known that I would enjoy coding if it were not for the Coding Course! The first year is like a snapshot of different fields; there is a lot in the mix but with answers to these questions listed above, your Major selection in your second year at Krea becomes a cake walk!

About Kathan

Embracing the space-time continuum with some laughter and overthinking.

SIAS – Cohort of 2023

Majoring in Biology

Lockdown: A blessing in disguise

Lockdown: A blessing in disguise

The blog is written by Rajashree Sadhu. The Author is a MBA student of IFMR GSB at Krea University

“God always have a better plan for us, though the process might be hard and painful!” that’s what my grandfather told me always. Hey wait, I am not writing this article to give you philosophical advices.

But………. Then What?

Well, this abrupt lockdown of the entire world has bought a lot of unexpected dismay in our lives (especially migrant’s workers and not so privileged section of the society). Yet, isn’t that’s what life is, it happens to us when we are busy having other plans.

We are continuously worried and grumbling about negative things that we are facing due to this pandemic- loss of lives(due to Covid-19), job losses, salary cuts, internships cancelled, business at halt, economy is at a standstill, disruption in supply-chain and above all ‘THE GREAT RECCESSION’ (on its way).

But salute to the frontline warriors- doctors, nurses, policemen, sanitation workers and others who are working day in and day out to help us overcome this tough situation. This pandemic coupled with lockdown (which is the only solution to stay safe) has put humanity into a huge test. It’s an opportunity for all of us to serve the under-privileged section of the society who are not able to get their daily bread due to lockdown and no earnings.

Yet some miserable incidents are happening in few places – like pelting of stones at policemen, doctors when they are trying to help us in this pandemic, such incidents are really unforgiving. This is not the time when we should believe in rumors, be arrogant and thereby create violence in society. We all have to fight this together and cooperate with the frontline workers.

This time too shall pass, so we should focus on the positive things that we are experiencing and how can we make the most of the time that is available to us. If you ever felt that you lack time to do the things you wanted to do then this the opportunity. Up-skilling ourselves, improving our fitness, spending time with family these are the things we always wanted to do. Life always comes to us with surprise gifts, blessings and of course hurdles which makes our lives even better.

We neither know how long will this pandemic last nor how long will this lockdown continue, but we can hope that this period will be over really soon. Optimist will always love to see the positive side of things and so if we look deeper we will realize the good things that we are experiencing at this point.

The environmental pollution levels have gone down drastically, rivers are cleaner than we have ever seen before, we are able to breathe fresh air again and a few endangered species have started to appear in few places. This makes us realize that apart from human beings other animals too have equal rights to live in this planet. Nature always has its own healing process but in our rat race to achieve more we forget that, what we are experiencing now is nothing but the collective karma to humankind! Mother Earth will come alive again and it will be more vibrant than ever before.

There is another aspect of this pandemic- a lot of business opportunities will come up. Make in India and manufacturing sectors will be boosted up far more. Every country from now on will try to be self-reliant. The change in consumer behavior will open up new avenues for businesses. Fintech, digital payments, e-commerce will experience a big boom in the days to come. Medical infrastructure will gain more importance than ever before.

Most importantly this lockdown has provided us a huge lesson- no work is small, everyone has its own importance starting from a rag-picker to a top notch celebrity. Today, we should all be grateful to the doctors, paramedical staffs and nurses who are saving millions of lives in this pandemic.

Life always allows some crisis to occur, before revealing its full bright side. As every cloud has silver lining so does everything in life, for a period we are having a tough time but we will be victorious one day. This crisis will give us the zeal to put the best in whatever we do as don’t know when our day is. This Corona Virus will take away a lot of things from us, but in return it will provide us a life time lesson that will help us in the long run.

#TGOK – The Girls of Krea

#TGOK  – The Girls of Krea

Say hello to some of the young trailblazers at Krea

Five young girl students at Krea open up about their journey at Krea and trace their experiences through this incredibly diverse community. Coming from varied backgrounds, both educational and otherwise, their steadfast belief in diversity at Krea runs parallel across their stories. Tracing back to the day they stepped into Krea up until today, these bright young minds have paved their ways with indomitable spirit. Read more on their multifaceted evolution and that one encounter at Krea which spilled out of checked boxes and made them believe that Krea is truly diverse, that Krea’s home.

Chaarmikha Nagalla

Cohort of 2023, SIAS

When Chaarmikha stepped into Krea, she had plans set in stone, with an aim to pursue Computer Science and later move into a conventional IT career. But today, she is comfortable exploring further in these unpredictable times. Having stepped out of her comfort zone and having tried new things, she believes she has evolved into a self-aware individual with clarity of intentions.

Chaarmikha founded Girl Up Prerna in 2020, a club under the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign and the project is very close to her heart. The club has several activities and advocacy related to gender equality right from donation drives to awareness facilitation. “I started working on this in 2020 and it’s definitely a cause that I passionately work towards.”, adds Chaarmikha.

On diversity at Krea, she says, “Unity in diversity is definitely a line that applies to Krea. We’re all very different from each other but have the same value systems and morals. One instance of diversity that I remember well was during the finals week of the Literature and Arts course. We had to pick and explore the folklore of one language and one person had to research while the other two represented/ enacted and wrote. All of us came from different linguistic backgrounds and different skill sets and it was surreal to see such creativity in each of us.

Ameena Abbas

Cohort of 2023, SIAS

“I come from a part of the society where anyone with a background in science is expected to become a doctor or engineer. Krea was a turning point. It changed this notion for me and opened so many more avenues, I realised I could explore more than one subject at a time.”

In her Admissions essay, Ameena had strongly conveyed her intent to break away from the classic mould of being subservient to the other gender. Ameena was very sure of picking up Biology as her pathway to a career but the foundation courses at Krea made her realise that she wanted to choose Chemistry and that’s exactly what she did.

Experiences have punctuated Ameena’s journey at Krea and she counts on her two-month long internship with Led By Foundation, who empower young girls belonging to the minority community empowerment by providing them with real-life career skills, a supportive ecosystem, and access to the right opportunities and networks. Ameena found the opportunity transformational as it allowed her to work with girls her age and more, facing issues in the society that she too had undergone.

Speaking about diversity at Krea, Ameena says, “ The diverse cohort of students at Krea is something that stands out. Even having a roommate teaches one so much. Two people from different cultures, distinct ways of studying, varied point of views, these really have helped me become a better individual with an open mind.”

Maitri Modi

Cohort of 2022, SIAS

“ I come from a CBSE school with a science background with no exposure to Arts and Humanities. And then Krea happened, I realised how much I enjoyed these too. I think Krea helped me transform from a solo artist to a team player, the focus now is always on group growth and not just individual growth,” says Maitri.

Maitri believes that the Krea journey has allowed her to keep her core values and principles intact while she has become more grounded, stable and calm. She can now understand claims and differentiate evidence. Ethics has been a course that has stayed with her and thanks to the same, she is now pursuing a capstone thesis on data privacy and ethics.

Refreshingly, Maitri’s take on diversity at Krea brought forward a fun anecdote from her first year , “ I am a Gujarati and through the initial days at Krea I wouldn’t prefer rice as it was in stark contrast to my wheat-heavy diet. And then on occasions of Onam and Pongal my friends would enjoy the feast from a banana platter and having never eaten rice with hands myself,  I was introduced by these set of new entrants in my life to try it out (all backed by the science of why eating food by hand is beneficial). I am now a convert and love eating with my hands plus the sambar and chutney are my favorites. This, for me, was an eye-opener into the diversity that the Krea community holds.”

Maitri also set up a Food Bank at Krea during her first year where the surplus untouched food from the mess would go to an orphanage in the neighboring village of Sullurpeta. Maitri wished to do this on a much bigger scale involving the industrial units at Sri City until COVID brought everything to a halt.

Sai Avanthika

MBA Class of 2021, IFMR GSB

A national level tennis player, a classically trained singer and now a management leader in the making, Sai Avanthika looks forward to bringing a change no matter the chosen field.

Avanthika joined the class of MBA in the middle of COVID and the initial interactions were all virtual. “Though it was all online, everything was so thoughtful. Even our orientation ceremony ‘Prarambh’ was packed with industry level speakers, including our current Chief Economic Advisor, Dr Anantha Nageswaran. We had a really warm welcome at IFMR GSB.”

Avanthika is now back on campus and calls it one of the happiest experiences of her academic journey. Ruminating about her journey, Avanthika adds, “ I came in as a fresher, I had no corporate experience but the diverse environment at Krea has helped so much. My batch has peers from 23 states with varied work experience, across the genders and study backgrounds. I was a little nervous when it started but now I have grown into a more confident individual with more clarity and a keen overview of what awaits, what corporate life is going to be, thanks to all the exposure.”

Avanthika believes conversing and ideating with different people, who speak different languages and come with different perspectives because of how they grew up and their own experiences has opened up her mind to a different world.

“In terms of information, the knowledge of people’s struggles, really brings in a balanced mindset. Even in case analysis, this helps, the diverse backgrounds and how different everyone thinks.”

Since returning to campus, Avanthika enjoys going for late night walks through the serene paths traversing the campus with her friends, all of them coming from different regions of India, so distinct to her own self. They listen to music, talk, let out steam and call it a day. And the conversations in itself feel like a cultural exchange, diverse and inclusive.

The sports person in Avanthika appreciates how Krea encourages sports and the good sporting facilities available on campus. She foresees a great scope for expansion, “ I don’t see a lot of girls playing.  If I can bring about a change being a woman, if I could inspire more people to pick a sport and play with them, I would be happy. This is one of the reasons I joined the Sports Committee. I really look forward to bringing about a change in the way people perceive sports to be, they still look at it as a fun activity but it’s a way of life.”

Manvi Teki

Cohort of 2022, SIAS

As a young student, Manvi stepped in with a firm outlook on the ways of life and believes that the journey at Krea has been one of self discovery. “Life is not black n’ white, there is no right or wrong, the experiences at Krea taught me to actually understand, accept and look at things from various perspectives, that there is always more to something than meets the eye.”

Manvi believes the diverse interactions, be it with the professors, students, or support staff has been a powerful means of self-discovery, and has helped her shape her own world view.

Manvi celebrates the diversity and inclusiveness at Krea and reminisces one of the earliest incidents to drive the sentiment home, “I was in a class where we were having a  political debate about the way certain things should be. It was a class of 15 people and everybody had a different outlook to bring to the table based on their own life experiences, this spoke intricately about Krea as a community. This opens up our minds, gets the flap out of our eyes and forces us to look outside.”

Manvi has also been a Student Ambassador at Krea and worked closely with the Outreach and Admissions team. She looks back at her time as a young 17 year old, seeking answers and confused about college choices and feels that being a Student Ambassador was her way of paying forward, enabling students like herself to gain clarity. It also reminded her of the growth and change that she had gone through herself.

One of the projects closest to her heart at Krea was her internship with IBM. “ We applied all the facts we had learnt into the project. We had to create a questionnaire using NLP technique to tap into human consciousness to gauge their learning style and the results were used on various IBM learning platforms. We used what we learnt in Computer Science, a course in Brain and Behaviour and Design Thinking. It was a reflection of my Krea journey itself, of applying things in your real life, truly interwoven.”

Urban Women Most Impacted by Job Losses Due to COVID: A powerful report by IWWAGE

Urban Women Most Impacted by Job Losses Due to COVID: A powerful report by IWWAGE

Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE) aims to build on existing research and generate new evidence to inform and facilitate the agenda of women’s economic empowerment. IWWAGE reported that two in five urban women were impacted by job losses during the first wave of the pandemic, owing to the unnatural development of dual workload of domestic care work and paid work. IWWAGE also took stock of the situation and put forward recommendations to make the ‘future of work’ more conducive to women’s workforce participation.

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