I have recently completed my undergraduate degree in Political Science and am doing a minor in International Studies. But my university, Ashoka, is structured like that of the US university programs where the fourth year is optional. The fourth year is like a PG diploma course and I am looking forward to pursuing my fourth year. In high school, I had taken up commerce stream with maths. I had taken up environmentalism as an extra-curricular activity as early as in class 6. But over the years it has become much more than a CV-building exercise. Today we see so many young people who start this initiative but they do it just for 1 year and they don’t sustain it. It was where my journey diverged as I have been continuing it for more than 9 years. This brought a big difference in building up my profile.
My work primarily focuses on three divisions: environmental activism, advocacy, and consulting. For activism, I have led on-ground campaigns and advocacy including addressing problems like air pollution as I come from Delhi where the air quality is pathetic which affected me and the people around me. For consulting I have done freelancing both for NGOs in the country and in the US. Now, I am open to pursuing a job in corporate sustainability either directly working with MNCs or sustainability consulting. In my leisure time, I love watching movies, swimming, playing table tennis, cycling, and reading books.
How did you get into PwC?
Unlike a fair number of other consulting firms, there is a lot of emphasis on internally driven recruitment here. Also, a lot is done through references by someone who is working in PwC. A large number of recruitments is done internally as every day I receive a couple of emails regarding vacancies for different posts. Also, my experience working as an intern at PwC has been fantastic. It was my first offline internship and the work culture there was pretty good.
Tell us about your domain of work at PwC.
I was mainly working on ESG which was environmental social governance which by and large is sustainability. The concepts of ESG also grounded the 17 UN Sustainability Goals. Also, I worked on CSR which was Company Social Responsibility which is mandatory for every company to follow. The work there depends on what team and what division you are assigned to. There are 10-15 different teams within ESG. Consulting focuses on issues like sustainability. Sustainability doesn’t only account for rainwater harvesting or solar panels but is more about company governance.
What keeps you motivated?
The motivation that keeps me going is to follow my passion and passion comes from selfishness. When I took up the environment, my main concern was not primarily to address issues concerning the whole planet but more importantly the issues which were concerning me like air pollution. Being a resident of Delhi, I was affected by the poor air quality of my city. So, I thought about taking up this issue. My passion was driven by the thought that it was an issue that was more important to me. The key is passion, to take time and to do a preset of the things which you are doing.
Do you think that stipends are important for any internships?
For me, it is a big no to do unpaid internships. I don’t mind if someone asks me to give a talk to 100-200 people without payment because I am focusing on the cause. But if someone approaches me and asks me to do a workshop of 50-100 people, I will definitely look for compensation for the time I am investing.
Does acquiring certifications from online platforms help in getting good internships?
30-40 years ago, an undergraduate degree was enough to get a job but now a postgraduate degree is a must. The courses available online are for skill building. I wanted to know more about data science so I pursued a course in it. This makes you more employable. It’s more like the skill that you take away from it than the certificate.
How can someone pursue a career in environmental studies?
Academic backing is important and it always helps. I thought that I should not mix up my passion and my academics. In such a situation, attending talks, seminars and meeting the people of the industry can be helpful. Also doing internships can help you taste the water and generate your interest.