#MyMBAStory: Shreeja Nandy – A woman driven to Make an Impact
The EDHEC Women of Impact Scholarship recipient for 2022/2023 Shreeja Nandy is dedicated to playing her part in tackling the challenges faced by underprivileged communities. This is her story.
Before joining the EDHEC Global MBA Shreeja Nandy lived and worked in Pune, India. She holds a degree in mechanical engineering and has more than seven years of professional experience in New Product Development in the global lighting industry. She is dedicated to bringing a positive change in the lives of underprivileged communities including advocating for children's education and bringing awareness around women-friendly workplace designs.
Choosing EDHEC Global MBA for its mission and values
Driven by a strong desire to make an impact in a wider circle, and accelerate her career into a position of leadership, she decided to do an MBA. When it came to choosing her MBA programme, EDHEC's core value of making an impact resonated with her the most. "I could tell that it went beyond just a mission statement, that they were very serious about furthering it and that people who shared the same value were key in their process," said Shreeja.
"The EDHEC MBA admissions team was also fantastic and very helpful. They reached out to me personally, took the time to go through my profile and gave me valuable advice on whether I was the right fit (considering my skills and experience)" she added.
Women of Impact Scholarship
Shreeja is the recipient of the 2023 EDHEC Women of Impact Scholarship, which was established in 2019 in memory of Swati Kansal, the 2019 Global MBA graduate who made an outstanding contribution to the school as a highly engaged student. The scholarship is awarded to women dedicated to making an impact in the school and the global society.
"Shreeja's application stood out because of it's focus on past, present and future and how she has implemented her own statement on 'doing her part and doing it right.' She shared her past achievements at work and awards for community service. She shared her desire to empower women in manufacturing, STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and her plans to continue encouraging exposure to arts and education to the underprivileged. Despite a busy MBA schedule, she committed to make an impact in her cohort at EDHEC as President of the Social Impact Club and she has already organised several thought-provoking events with her team," said Sandra Richez, Global MBA Programme Director.
"I was honored to receive the woman of Impact Scholarship. To be considered a woman of impact, especially alongside the previous recipient, is quite special. To belong to this legacy motivates me to never be complacent and everyday think about what I can do now and today. Because making an impact is not only about big goals but little steps you take every day to bring change around you," said Shreeja.
"As the current president of the Global MBA Social Impact and Diversity Club, I have the opportunity to achieve this with the help of fellow club members. Our focus in the club this year is to set up projects in the areas of Social Impact, Sustainability and Diversity that not only create value for EDHEC but are also things that the next cohorts can build upon. Thus creating a legacy of sorts and continuing to make an impact post-MBA," she added.
The importance of scholarships and funding for women
Scholarships like the Swati Kansal scholarship can be very impactful for women because they provide financial support and opportunity to pursue their goals. "Personally, it gives me the freedom and confidence to learn new things and to dedicate my time solely to my projects and studies without having the burden of financial stress," underlined Shreeja. "It's also a great way to shine a light on the amazing things that women can do in their communities and convey to other women that it's possible for them too."
What is a woman of impact?
According to Shreeja, "there's no one definition of who a woman of impact is, but rather there are two important qualities to nurture, something I learnt from experience. One is to have a vision for what one wants to achieve and two the passion to work towards that vision. Also be result-oriented and maybe have tangible outcomes. But personally, I think having the last part right at the beginning is adding too much performance pressure! Results will come eventually if one continues to work towards it."
Women's role in leadership
Shreeja is convinced that "it's extremely important to have women in leadership positions. They not only bring different perspectives into an organisation, but also pave the way for other women. Because as leaders they have visibility from the top to the bottom, they can drive the discussions of diversity and equity. The more women are in leadership positions the more it normalises that women belong there, because there is no question about that. It can no longer be something that is unique or that we need to think about as a separate agenda."
EDHEC's mission to promote and support gender diversity and inclusion
EDHEC promotes and supports gender diversity and inclusion through scholarships, events and awareness-raising activities and Shreeja agrees that this is an important approach: "To make a real and lasting impact we have to start at the grassroots level and what EDHEC is doing in terms of gender diversity and inclusivity is a step towards that. If we include women in business studies and leadership studies, we are equipping them to become leaders of tomorrow."
"Having a specific target, in this case a percentage of women representation in the cohort brings tangible results because it is measurable. One needs to start somewhere. And it doesn't stop there. There is also the inclusion component where EDHEC works to connect the students to women leaders in the professional world, thus creating a support group for career development. And the results are clear because personally I probably wouldn't have enrolled in this programme if EDHEC didn't have this particular mission to ensure that there is a good percentage of women represented in the cohort."
The Global MBA as a springboard for the future
Having just finished her first term at EDHEC, Shreeja couldn't be happier about her choice: "The Global MBA programme is such a great programme, we are learning continuously in a very diverse class. It is also quite intense with deliverables and group work every week, which makes for an exciting challenge. Overall, I like learning in this environment. Everyone is nice and friendly. There's an element of caring and sharing among the people."
In terms of advice for future students, she said "It certainly is a significant investment financially and timewise, but if you already thought about pursuing an MBA, I would say go for it because it broadens our perspective. It gives a holistic picture of the workings of a business or an organisation and is a surprising way to discover who you are as a person and as a leader. Especially in this very diverse cohort where we are meeting and learning from people from many nationalities, cultures and professional backgrounds. The 360° feedback on our working style and professional conduct is irreplaceable. All in all, there is a lot of learning in the MBA. It's a transformational experience. For some of my classmates it's also a rediscovery of what they are most passionate about and would like to further contribute to."
Making an impact beyond the MBA
In the future, Shreeja wants to continually work on creating diversity balanced workplaces. Particularly in promoting women-friendly workplaces in the manufacturing sector; something that she has always been vocal about.
"It was always that I was waiting for someone to take the initiative, until I realised that maybe I have to take the baton and speak up, to bring about the necessary change," said Shreeja.
"For example, where I come from, we need to bring awareness around the menstrual cycle and the challenges women face during this time, at work. How can workplaces be designed in such a way that women don't have to struggle with the fact that they are on their periods? We must also bring an end to the taboo that women can't talk about these issues with their managers or leaders," she added.
On the personal front, she will also continue to work on bringing education and arts exposure at the grassroots level to underprivileged children, now on a global scale.