Ishan Gupta never really wanted to be an engineer. A straight-A student, he excelled at Shiv Nadar University (SNU), where he studied Mechanical Engineering but knew his journey led elsewhere. Yet, he credits SNU for making him the person he is today, for shaping his confidence and giving him the will to pursue his career of choice, which is in the area of Public Policy.
In school, Ishan was shy, a book nerd. As the son of an Air Force Officer, he had moved around a lot, and changed 8 schools by the time he finished. When he joined SNU, he was unsure about the path ahead, especially since he was surrounded by students who knew exactly what they aimed to research, which conferences they wanted to attend and which papers they intended to publish. But Ishan was extremely talented at music and other extracurriculars. At SNU, his talent and interests were encouraged and they blossomed. The mandatory Core Curriculum Courses, and University-Wide Electives that all students are required to take in addition to their majors, moved him out of his comfort zone, made him lose his fear of new experiences and ideas, to truly discover himself. He took theatre, literature, biotech, technology and society, history… each helping him discover different aspects of his personality, making him capable of recognising his strengths and leveraging them. He grew in a holistic way, from scoring well in class to becoming a leader in the extracurricular teams that represented the college in university competitions. An Acapella group started by Ishan called Synergy won every inter-college cultural competition they participated in over three years, across the country, including at BITS Pilani and IIT, Delhi. He learned how to interact with new people, and he slowly shed the confusion he had felt about his identity for most of his life.
Ishan explains his transformation at SNU by saying, ‘SNU is more like a process than a degree. A student undergoes metamorphosis from their first day till the time they graduate. From a cocoon to a butterfly, attaining and exercising the freedom to chase your dreams. My journey has been eventful, but without a single moment of regret. My decision to move from Mechanical Engineering to Public Policy was a challenging one. However, I don’t think I have the slightest yearning to do it again in a different way.’
After graduating from SNU, Ishan joined an NGO called the Piramal Foundation, which works to improve the education scenario in the rural areas of the country. Giving back to society is another strong tenet of learning at SNU. The mission of the University is ‘Developing and educating the path-shapers of tomorrow, who can shoulder the challenges of globally responsible and ethical leadership in the 21st Century.’
Ishan has since given up his strategy role at Piramal Foundation and is planning to study Public Policy further through a Masters degree. But wherever his career takes him, the self-evolution, clarity, and values he acquired at SNU will stand him in good stead.
To read more about Shiv Nadar Foundation, please click here