Today let me introduce you to one of LSR’s brightest alumni- Annanya Chaturvedi. She is an extremely talented and accomplished young woman who is capable of inspiring thousands of students. Annanya is a rank holder, holding 5th position in her ISC examinations proving her resilience and determination to be something great. She stands as a shining example of someone who not only managed to accomplish so much, but did so at a surprisingly young age.
Annanya majored in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College of Delhi University and managed to bag a position at D.E and Shaw from the placement cell in LSR. Annanya shines bright as an example for those who feel that a background in the humanities leaves one with no opportunities in the future. She proves that with a commitment to your ambitions there are no bounds to what can be achieved. Let me take you on a trip on her road to success.
1.Hi Annanya, thank you for agreeing to participate in this interview. How would you describe your journey towards growth in a few lines?
I would like to start with a few lines from Robert Frost’s poem, ‘Two Roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by.’ It is a cliche but this has been something which I have stood by throughout my school and college days.
The choices that I have made in my life have brought me here and made me who I am today. It will not be accurate if I say I have achieved everything I wanted to, but I am proud of the person I have become and am growing into.
2.Your journey has been an inspiring one, would you like to attribute this success to anyone who supported you?
I think without the blink of an eye I can say that it’s my mom. She has been there for me through thick and thin. She has handled me in my times of existential crisis and just been a constant source of support throughout. Her words of advice have been so helpful be it in my career, my relationships or friendships. Most importantly I know she has my back.
When you’re in college you will meet a lot of people and they will shape your life in different ways, some leave and some stay. It’s true that very few people actually end up staying forever. That’s my mom for me, someone who is permanent and her love is unconditional.
3.Has your journey in LSR contributed to the success you achieved today?
Absolutely! When I initially joined LSR I was an entirely different person. I was this very reserved and shy kid who had no idea what she would do or who she would be. LSR’s role in your life is not just limited to opening doors for you, it gives you the confidence to go up to these doors and open them yourself. It was only after I graduated I realised that LSR was not just about finding ways to fit in.
It was about creating new spaces and completely be yourself in them. The professors, the college and the people of LSR make you believe that there is so much in the world that you can do, there are so many possibilities and it’s perfectly okay to want to explore a lot.
4.Has your college helped you achieve any of your multiple impressive achievements?
Yes it has, I got placed at D.E and Shaw because of LSR through campus placements. There is no denying that LSR’s brand value can take you a long way. Besides all that, the kind of people you meet at LSR gives you an environment to grow. You are amidst people who are the toppers of their batches, best at what they do, talented and accomplished. There is so much everyone is doing around you that it might get overwhelming at times. That’s why you have to create your own space amongst it all and flourish.
5.Which one of your experiences in your array of feats has been the most fulfilling one?
It’s really hard to pick one really but all of my experiences have been so necessary for that phase of my life to bring me where I am today. Starting from my board’s results, where I scored 99% was indeed a fulfilling one in the sense that I realized that if you really put in hard work you can achieve anything in the world.
There is no substitute for it. When I joined LSR DramSoc, it was also an experience which was profoundly important as it helped me broaden my horizons in a liberating space.
My internships at places like Times of India really stood out. In my internship at TOI I had to visit slum areas of Delhi and I interviewed those dwelling there.
This really helped me see the privileged bubble I was living in. It made me realise I can use this privilege to create a platform to speak up for them. This was also a very formative experience for me. After my article came in the newspaper they were so elated, the smile on their faces was everything for me at that point. I realized my potential and how much I could achieve in just my initial years of college.
I worked in other non profit organisations like AIESEC which helped build a community of people outside of college. As empowering as LSR can be, I needed to interact with people outside that space. I interviewed Sangeeta Bhattacharya back in 2021, who starred in Jawaan. It helped me realised the power networking has. All these experiences together made me the person I am now and so it’s difficult to choose just one.
6.Are there any suggestions you would like to give the students regarding how to maintain a balance between academics and extracurriculars?
This is a question which many people ask you as a student and it is valid as there are so many extracurriculars you can get into as a student. I feel like you should not limit yourself in terms of the extracurriculars you participate in as they will shape you in a very important way. You might not remember everything you studied in college but you will remember the experiences you had in your college societies throughout your life.
My experience in LSR Dramsoc is something I will always treasure in my time in LSR. However on the other hand your CGPA is also important and it should not be compromised in any way. So I am not saying you should keep one thing on hold for the other.
It is very important to find your own balance. I cannot give you a formula on how to achieve this balance, it is different for different people. If you ask about me, I studied on the weekends and completed my assignments beforehand. However, for some people studying at the last moment works. All of us are unique and can achieve excellence by different methods.
7.You have managed to build an impressive experience record at prestigious companies. Could you give the current students some suggestions as to how they can also get a chance to emulate your path?
One advice I would give to everyone is stop being afraid, put yourself out there and explore. This is the time when you can actually do all this, try to get an internship and find out what you like. I started my first freelancing project in college with a company. I had to write a couple of blogs for them and it made me realise that this is not what I wanted to do. Without this experience I wouldn’t have known what it is I wanted.
Studying in a good institution like LSR will help you in getting yourself out there but in the end you have to made that effort. You have to try to make people see and hear you. I got my internship in TOI because I wrote a cold email to one of the editors and followed up with them. It is important to build up your case and make an impressive cover letter.
Have an online portfolio which will help you stand out.Go the extra mile, read up on the company’s works and mention it in your cover letter. No job will land in your lap without you working for it. I also received an offer from BBC, which I applied for outside college. Make a list of your skill sets and try to explore them by signing up for societies and internships to hone these skills.
8.You have achieved a rank of 5 in your ISC examinations, your dedication is impressive. Could you elaborate on how you achieved such an amazing feat?
Academics had always been a priority to me. Even when I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I gave my very best in academics. This was the one constant I had in my life. In 10th I got 96.4% and in 12th I got 99%. All this was a non negotiable for me. To be completely honest, I studied a lot for it, there is very less you can do to replace hard work. I am so grateful that young Annanya had this outlook towards life, without that determination I would have never been in LSR. It is not that your grades will be the ultimate determinant of your future but it will certainly open more doors for you.
9.What made you start a career at D.E and shaw? Take us through a journey on how you reached here.
Even though D.E and Shaw was never a part of my plan, I’m so glad I’m here now. I was confused at that time as to which direction I wanted to go in. I went with D.E and Shaw because it was an amazing opportunity through LSR campus placements.
There I found an amazing group of like minded people. A corporate experience will give you so much exposure that will help you grow. Especially if you are from a non commerce background if you want to go into these firms, you really have to make a case for yourself.
I really liked D.E and Shaw’s recruitment process, they were not just looking for people from commerce background, and they welcomed diversity. They have a written competitive exam from which candidates are shortlisted. Then of course there are multiple rounds of interviews. Of course you will be nervous about it, but take it as a chance to prove yourself.
10.D.E and Shaw is a prestigious company where many aspirants wish to work in. Can you give us an outline of what kind of day an associate can expect working in this company?
There are different roles that D.E and Shaw has. The role I work in is that of research and application and also a bit of outreach. I prepare databases, research, conducting secondary research, figuring out logistics are some of the things I am responsible for. For the work hours it is a typical 9 to 5, however sometimes you have to stay in longer as well. It really depends on the work you are doing.
11.Could you elaborate on the kind of work you do as a freelancer?
Currently I am focused on content creation via Linkedin and Instagram. Out of which I have been able to monetise on. I work for companies as a freelancer, where I write blogs and help them for copywriting needs.
12.You have worked in extremely prestigious places like Times of India and Bennet and Co. How was your experience there?
It was absolutely great. I did my internship at TOI at the time of my semester break during winter. The office timings started at 6 at the evening, so it wasn’t easy but it was fulfilling. I wrote a report for them and edited a lot of articles for them. Most importantly I got to network with a lot of people. So overall it was a a valuable experience in my life.
13.If you wrote an autobiography, what would be the top 3 mottos you would like to emulate in it?
‘Never stop being kind’ ,while also not forgetting to stand up for yourself, ’Resistance’ and not accepting the society’s ideas of who I am and finally ‘Never stop believing in yourself’.
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