Episode Title: College & Beyond: Sanya Goyal 12th Grade, India.
Episode summary introduction: In this Podcast, Sanya talks about her passion for entrepreneurship, her broad range of interests in high school, her NGO, peer support group and how sees her future and college plans.
In particular, we discuss the following with her:
Topics discussed in this episode:
Our Guest: Sanya Goyal is a 12th Grade student in Chandigarh, India.
Memorable Quote: “... since my friends are doing this process with me, it's like I can distinguish between my journey and their journey and appreciate its uniqueness. And then we [are] actually happy for their success, and they're happy for mine.” Sanya on peer collaboration.
Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.
Transcript of the episode’s audio.
<Start Snippet> Sanya 0:14
We made this product, helps opens doors with your foot is very relevant the COVID pandemic. We actually ran the entire thing sitting at home. The, It was a manufacturing company. So it was a bit of a challenge. Like we had to coordinate multiple things, but it was a very interesting way to learn about business, especially in a work from home setup.
That is Sanya Goyal, a 12th Grader from India.
Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.
With this Episode, we are continuing a select set of conversations with 12th Graders, all girls, & their parents, from India and Indonesia, about how they see their future and their college plans.
Today we will meet Sanya Goyal, 12th Grader from Chandigarh, India.
In this Podcast, Sanya talks about her passion for entrepreneurship, her broad range of interests in high school, her NGO, peer support group and how sees her future and college plans.
I also had the pleasure of talking to Sanya’s mom - about Sanya’s future plans, hopes and concerns.
So, without further delay, here’s Sanya Goyal!
Venkat Raman 1:45
Let me first start Sanya by welcoming you to our podcast. College Matters. Alma Matters. Thank you, thank you so much for making the time. I'm really excited to hear about what your future plans look like what you're about. And, you know, where do you want to go from here? So hope to have a great conversation around that. So maybe the best place to start if you're ready, is, you know, tell me a little bit about yourself. How would you describe yourself?
Oh, well, I'm student in India, and I describe myself as an entrepreneurial researcher. And I'm working in the nonprofit sector as well. And like a debater, I told me wins. So there's no one word I can use to describe myself. So I think student is like the most appropriate like learning everyday.
Venkat Raman 2:54
You said you are in the 12th standard. So tell us a little bit about your high school interests, your courses? Yeah, let's let's start there.
So I'm currently studying in the commerce field, all business subjects like counting economics, Business Studies. And this, like I'm the first batch to be studying applied maths in cbse. So that's also interesting, because know, the concepts that we're studying are so relevant to what we're studying in business studies, and accounting, economics. Fascinating to learn that I have the privilege of studying such a unique subject. It's also terrifying in a way, because this has not happened before when we're going to be giving the board's exam for the very first time.
Venkat Raman 3:52
What are your special interests? I mean, what what kind of things are you into? You mentioned entrepreneurship. So talk to us a little bit about your extracurriculars and your passions.
Right, so a major portion of my extracurriculars is related to business competitions and programs. High School has this student company program where we create a company, a joint stock company, and then operated for like, three, four months, and then we have to like liquidate the company. So I was the CEO of the company door where we made this product, helps opens doors with your foot is very relevant, the COVID pandemic and we actually ran the entire thing sitting at home. It was a manufacturing company. So it was a bit of a challenge. Like we had to coordinate multiple things, but it was a very interesting way to learn about business, especially in a work from home setup. So that was a major part of what I did last year. And currently I'm As a participant of the international trade challenge has been going on for the last 14 years, and this is the first year India has been invited to be a part of it, who go on to the last three months and has been going from one round to the next next to the international actually start on Monday, which is the ninth of August. And the in the competition is that we are teamed up not with the people we originally teamed up with, but with the students from another country, that we are the international aspect of it, I'm really looking forward to how that works out.
Venkat Raman 5:38
Awesome. What are other things that you're interested in or spend time on?
Oh, I spent like a major amount of my time on nonprofit coke with this NGO that I am currently running called Saathi. And well it's in the 11th month, I think since we re- launched the NGO 10 year old NGO relaunched it last year, October. And we have this movement called the generation delta. And the founder of the movement that it's like this huge Umbrella Movement where we as Gen Z make a commitment of sustainability to a future generation called generation delta. So all our projects come under it with work on LGBTQ issues. We have our own club called pride room where we meet every month and discuss the issues that the community faces, we have a one rep project where we talked about this thing called languishing. In the webinar, and we we've done all these projects in association with Iowa State University. And it's really expansive, we got phenomenal responses to everything that we're doing. And currently, we're working on a feminism project as well. And we're about to launch our own podcast.
Venkat Raman 7:04
So it sounds like you know, you have varied interests with skill and talent that you're pursuing.
So, with that kind of in mind, let's talk a little bit about how are you kind of you viewing the future? What what is it that you're looking forward to, I guess what's important to you? What is a priority is for you?
Um, I think my biggest priority is to create a career or like, a future for myself, but what whatever I'm doing, it has a huge social impact. And that's part of why I love business so much, because it has the potential to create such meaningful and such large scale social impact, that I don't think anything else can do that. So I just want whatever I do to create that kind of change. And recently, I came to know about this other developing field called impact investing. I just finished my course with the Wharton Business School as as a summer program. And as a part of project, we had to analyze a company and their impact and give a recommendation as a VC firm. So that is another area that I'm looking into now because that's really intriguing. like making investments, you will like get returns they are investments with they also have a huge social impact.
Venkat Raman 8:33
So how how are you thinking about getting to that? Let's just say a mission at this point, not an end goal. What, how do you see yourself studying, Or what do you see yourself studying in college?
Well, college, I see myself studying finance quite a bit, because I'm just really interested in that as a field, and I want to get a deeper understanding of it. And it is not the end goal. Right now I view it as a tool in the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is, starting my own company or something to mean, maybe multiple companies or something but finance like a tool to reach to that level. Because just creating a business that can have a huge social impact would mean a lot and having an in depth, knowledge of finance, and other related things would be extremely helpful.
Venkat Raman 9:43
Let's talk about that a little bit then. What are your college plans where where do you want to study?
Oh, well, I'm looking at quite a few options. I definitely want to study at the Wharton Business School. I mean, since I learned about the social impact initiative, very intrigued as to what more I can learn there. And other schools like the Stern School of Business at NYU, like whole new perspective, like there's so many campuses across the world. That's something that between Kiki, so and a lot of other schools, in addition to that. I try to not be like, very specific to a dream student, even if I have one. I try not to, you know, just talk about that one school over and over again, it's not out in the open. But I think more it's more of like a personal thing. I try to keep it to myself, till you actually.
Venkat Raman 10:48
Fair enough. Now, so are you looking at schools mainly in the US? Or are you looking at other places as well?
Oh, us, but I am planning to apply for in Canada as well. But my main priority is US.
Any particular reason why you are looking to study abroad? I of course, there are great schools and great opportunities. Any anything that made the difference, obviously the Wharton program that you just mentioned about social impact. Is something that you've been thinking for a while, or is this something that happened in the recent year?
It's been a while and that is actually a very specific reason as to why I don't want to study abroad in not here in India. And that the reason is, I don't want my identity to be a number. Because here, when we look at colleges, be it like as a commerce or humanities student, or medical or non medical, your identity is a number your score, or your JEE score or your boards result, your identities always used to a number people do not see beyond. I mean, I still don't know when I got my result to my grade 10th board, People were congratulating me about that result even six months after it came out. And by then, by the company, my school was up and running, the NGO is up and running. I have done, my own research papers were published in international journals. And I would talk about it to people if they were interested. But they always came back to studies and schools. And it just felt that you know, no matter what I do, here they can't, look beyond this score of a person. So this is why I love especially US education, they have a very holistic review. They look at you as a person, they want to know you understand what your interests are, what motivates you, they want to be the best fit today University. And that's something that I'd really appreciate. It just I just feel respected in the process, I think, and that's why I'm like hell bent on pursuing an education there.
Venkat Raman 13:17
Okay, that's, that's fair enough. That's actually well reasoned, I would think.
Venkat Raman 13:25
Okay, so let's talk a little bit about the college. I mean, you mentioned a few names, what what exactly are you looking for? In your college or university experience? What what are you looking for?
Um, I am looking for opportunities to just, like, explore without any limitations. Like, if I am, I just want to like experiment and learn new things, meet people like minded people, and just, like, really understand the different kinds of opportunities that exist. And you know, just like doing research studies, research is a huge reason as to why I'm looking at certain universities because of their importance to research. And I'm actually in the middle of my fourth research right now. So that's something that's a major part. So learning different aspects of research. And then just under drying out everything that interests me, I'd say and, like I mentioned before, meeting people like yourself, and you know, just creating that kind of community.
Venkat Raman 14:49
I want to I want to kind of understand how you're going about this process. You know, you are in 12th grade now. Applications are due end of the year. You must be well on your way. What kind of help Are you getting? What resources do you have to help you with this process?
I'm actually seeking the help of a career counselor for all my parents still not exactly aware of the different requirements that are there for education in different countries. And never even very academically driven. So then it's on me, I just like my career consistent, like really helpful. And just very encouraging. I would say, you know, like, if I have an idea for something, and she would just push me to go after it and just make it happen. And the whole thing is just becomes like a very empowering circle.
Venkat Raman 15:59
Now, how many, how many schools or colleges do you plan to apply to? Roughly?
Oh, it's a big number, actually, the list is still a little work in progress. The names are still undecided, but somewhere around 15 to 20.
Venkat Raman 16:21
Okay, that's a lot of work.
You know, as you go through this process, how are you? How's your social sort of interaction? How are your peers and friends? Are they collaborative? Do you guys work together on this? house? How's that process going for you?
I'm glad you asked that question. Because I've been thinking about and kind of analyzing that for over a year now, especially since COVID started. And most of my friends right now most of my closest friends are the ones I work together with in the end you. And I mean, the rest, like, the people that I knew before, it's just those interactions have reduced quite a lot is mostly because of the pandemic. And because I changed schools up to date. And so that is definitely been a factor. But even now, it's just that the work and the extracurriculars are just so much that you the time for social events, that really takes a toll. But honestly, I think it's a it's a, it's the price you pay, I think, and it's worth.
Venkat Raman 17:42
So do you do discuss your plans or your dreams, aspirations? In a, you know, with your peers, with your friends? Or is this sort of something that you know, you keep to yourself?
Um, yes, and no, because, like I mentioned, a lot of my closest friends are working with me directly every day in the NGO, and they're going through the same process, applying to universities outside of India. So we're all in the same boat together, it's fun to have the kind of emotional support, because sometimes the wall gets a little too much. So it can be draining or just like, overwhelming. So it's nice to have the kind of community I'd say, the people in the NGO Saathi NGO have really become my community now. Like, I never really had one before. It's like, yeah, you have a common school or something. But now it's like a community of people who have the same beliefs. They support the same causes. They believe in social impact and all that. So with them, yes, the details of the whole college process that being discussed, but with some of them, it's just, it doesn't come up and I don't like to broadcast it.
Venkat Raman 19:13
Fair enough. Okay. That makes sense. Okay, so one other question around that same area, I mean, are you do you feel any pressure from I don't know your family or folks around you to to pursue some specific course or do you have full latitude you feel to do what you think is right or what you feel passionate, passionate about.
I've been privileged enough to just go after whatever I want, or whatever interests me to my family or the lake for my immediate family. Absolutely no pressure to study and you volunteering in the community at lodgy. In life, my family's social so close relatives. They, I mean, people constantly suggest certain areas that they think are appropriate for women to pursue, because they're like family friendly. But with the help of my family have been able to tune it out.
Venkat Raman 20:15
Now, let's take a few minutes and check in with Sanya’s mom, and see what she thinks about all this.
Venkat Raman 20:27
I just wanted to spend a few minutes and talk to you about what your what you think about. First of all, what do you think about her or her plans? And what kind of, you know what kind of hopes and aspirations you have for her and as she as she gets ready for her next phase, the college journey,
Sanya's Mom 20:49
Okay. Like from, from her since her childhood "matlab", she is very enthusiastic and very dedicated to all the work. But by time, we came to know that she is very much into business line, like finance and "yay woh", and she wants to be an independent girl. And do something in her life. "mathlab", we are just supporting her because we saw that enthu in her.
Venkat Raman 21:13
Yes. No, absolutely, absolutely. It's, it's very good that you're giving her both the encouragement and, you know, support.
Venkat Raman 21:24
As you think about her and her future, what are things that you'd like to see happen,
Sanya's Mom 21:32
Being, being a mother, I want that she she should rise in her life. Otherwise, she is very much she is very much clear in her mind that what she wants to become. And we also want like we are from business family. So we want that she should be in business and do something great in that field only. Sure. That she take over the business.
Venkat Raman 22:01
What kind of things worry you I mean about the future, not about her in particular, but about the world in general. And then specifically,
Sanya's Mom 22:10
Like about the world and future well, she wants to go abroad and study there. Sometimes we get some concerns like policies always get change. So sometimes make "mathlab" you can understand that sometimes it makes an our mind "ki", so that the kid is doing so much, labor's doing so much. But after that, if some policies changes world wide about this education system from for the Indian Child, then it will be a great worry. Like from social media, you came to know about many things. So it disturbed your mind. Like "she's mathlab", we can't take the chances.
Venkat Raman 22:51
Would you rather that she studied in India? Or would you still? Do you want her to go abroad? Study in Like the US
Sanya's Mom 22:59
We want her to go abroad.
Venkat Raman 23:04
I think you just said that you would like her to stay in business. And, you know, maybe take over the family business later. Are you, Are you pressuring her to do certain things? Or are you just letting her do her own thing?
Sanya's Mom 23:17
Yeah, we are just in, we are clear in our mind, if you want to do her own business, then it's okay with us. We don't want that she should in the join our business. If she wants, then she can join if you don't want to, then it's not enough pressure on her.
Venkat Raman 23:37
Okay, um Sanya do you want to add anything? you have anything to share that or anything at this moment, based on what your mom saying.
Um, I mean, not much just one thing, that I'm just glad that my parents just gave me the space to just do my own thing and not really interfere a lot with the process, you know, just like support and just be there but not exactly. Just, you know, go into the details, you should be doing things like this or that, you know, this is something else that he could do. They give very good suggestions every now and then. But they do not interfere with the process, which I think is very important for every student.
Venkat Raman 24:17
Every child You mean, so fantastic. Fantastic. I'm glad that you are all aligned and you have a great forth.., you know, future to look forward to. And I thank both of you for the time and thank you mother as well for spending a few minutes and giving us your thoughts. So thank you.
Okay, um, I want to go to the last question, sort of on this broad topic is how do you feel today? I do feel you're prepared for college, and whatever comes after that? How is your general preparation you feel, and readiness for that?
Okay, it's like, I'm kind of split. Like, there is part of me, which is like, yeah, I'm ready to go to college, then there's also the kind of nervous about it. But I actually overall, I do feel prepared for it. Because my AP exams this year, and that kind of gave me a lot of confidence, I prepared for them all on my own without a teacher. And the result that I got was very assuring. So I'm just that's been really helpful. And overall, I just feel like throughout this process, like, you know, getting involved in extracurriculars, and just preparing for an education outside of India, that has helped me grow so much as opposed to the last thing that you know that growth is like a continuous process, and will continue and I will do, so I do feel prepared for it that I'm growing every day.
Venkat Raman 26:15
Okay, so Sanya, we are nearing the sort of end of our podcast here, what I would like you to do is, you know, share any thoughts or anything else that you feel that's relevant or interesting that you want to share? Go ahead, that's actually all about an open mic, if you will.
Hey, um, I just say to the fellow students with me that just embrace the process. And because it really helps you learn a lot about yourself that you would not otherwise discover. So just be open to it. And just keep giving your best.
And the one thing that I found really surprising throughout this whole thing was it since I am doing my best every day, and everything I do, Now, whenever my friends, they, like do well, in something, they win something to the happiness that I get from them is like genuine, because usually, a little bit of jealousy is there. But now, I just feel that, you know, I'm able to distinguish between my journey and others.
Before I started this process, everyone's journey was the same, you have to get the highest marks to get the best college. Everyone has that once in you. But now, since most of my friends are doing this process with me, it's like I can distinguish between my journey and their journey and appreciate its uniqueness. And then we actually happy for their success, and they're happy for mine.
So I just feel that people really enjoy the process and not be stressed about it. And think that you know, this is something you have to do this even in going abroad, people can give to do certain amount of social work, you have to do certain internships, you have to do certain this and that a checklist kind of thing. But I just say, do whatever will interest you. And before you know it, things you've never even imagined will happen.
Like I my NGO, is the biggest example in this arena. I never imagined that we would be doing some big projects with an international university on the scale that we are. And it just sort of happened just when we started with one thing, it led to another and another. And we're nearing our one year anniversary in October. So just be open to the whole process. And just keep thinking, what do you want to do? And just embrace the process.
Venkat Raman 28:53
No, that's, that's a great point and a very mature one. And so, Sanya, this, this has been very, very inspiring. And I hope you get all that you're looking for. And you accomplish your goals and end up being a great entrepreneur again and again and again. So wish you all the best in the process right now as you apply, and you take this big next step. So thank you for making the time I'm sure. I will talk to you soon. But for now, take care. Be safe. Thank you.
Venkat Raman 29:33
Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Sanya Goyal and her mother.
It is hard not to be impressed with this “can-do, enterprising” teenager.
The Doorway project, the NGO Saathi, self-taught AP exams are just some of the reasons.
Sanya’s broad interests, but a single minded focus at creating something big, her mature thinking - especially about how to collaborate with peers demonstrates huge promise.
I wish her all the luck in her endeavors.
I hope this podcast gave you a good portrait of an entrepreneurial 12th Grader.
For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [email@example.com].
Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.
Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].
Till we meet again, take care and be safe.
Software engineering, India, high schooler, College Podcast, US Colleges, College Admissions, undergraduate, Australian Colleges, SAATHI NGO, 12th Grade, Grade 12, 12th Standard.