Alumni profile - Aditi Vaidya
We took a glance at the breath-taking view from the top [of Mt Everest] and we were filled with complete awe... As we returned to India, we came across the fact that we are the second sisters in the world to reach the summit which made our parents and everyone around us even prouder and happier.
Why did you study MSc International Business at Queen Mary? What sparked your interest in this specific degree? I am a Gujarati (community) and Gujaratis are known for business. Hence, I had been interested in businesses and corporates from a young age. They used to fascinate me. After I completed my bachelors in the business stream, I wanted to know more about business done internationally, which is why I opted for this course.
What aspects of your degree did you find most enjoyable? Overall, I found my course very enjoyable. I loved the modules concerning mergers and acquisitions of the multinationals. What surprised me was not the course or the modules, but my classmates. I was really charmed to see people in their late fifties having such curiosity and desire to learn and study the dynamic economies of international trades.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary in particular? After pursuing my bachelor’s degree, I decided that I wanted to study my masters in London. So, I set out to look at the best universities that I was eligible for. During my research, I came across Queen Mary and enquired about the institution via some of my contacts in England. They were very excited on hearing the name of the university and gave me very positive feedback about it. And then my choice was made!
Can you describe your career path up to date and touch on your current role? After Queen Mary, I wanted to study more about the modules that I was interested in. I enrolled on the summer school at the London School of Economics and was able to make it onto the courses of most interest to me. As soon as I completed the summer school, I returned to India and immediately got into the field of mountaineering and set about completing the remaining courses that were of interest to me. I did some mountaineering expeditions and then started giving motivational talks to schools and colleges – all of which I am still doing now.
You previously shared the fantastic news that last year, alongside your sister, you climbed the mighty Mt. Everest. What made you decide to take on Everest? My parents are also mountaineers and since our birth, my sister and I have spent all of our vacations in mountains. This was what planted the seed of mountaineering in us. It was our parent’s dream to climb Everest, but circumstances did not allow them to do so. As we grew up, it became our dream to fulfil our parent’s dream and by then it had also become our dream to stand on the top of the world. If mountaineers won’t do it, then who will?
How did you feel when you reached the summit? Also, how does it feel knowing that you are the second sisters in the world to stand on the top and the first sisters in the whole west zone of India? Well, there was a feeling of complete numbness to start with because we were exhausted! But in another second, we took a glance at the breath-taking view from the top and we were filled with complete awe. Then we were struck by a thought about our parents - without their support, Everest would have never been possible. We couldn’t help thinking how happy they must’ve been. As we returned to India, we came across the fact that we are the second sisters in the world to reach the summit which made our parents and everyone around us even prouder and happier, which in-turn gave us huge satisfaction. Our happiness really had no bounds.
What kind of preparation did you have to do before climbing Mt. Everest? The most important preparation for Everest was the preparation of our minds. We had to be physically strong, but more than that, we had to be mentally strong. We were of course working out and making our bodies tough, but alongside this, we were making our minds stronger and more resilient. We knew that our minds had the capacity to achieve the unachievable, so we needed to keep proper control over it before it started to control us!
Have you and your sister set your sights on any more challenges in the near or distant future? Oh yes! We are aiming at the ‘7 summits and 2 poles’ challenge and my sister Anuja has already climbed six of the seven summits while I have climbed three to date. We are looking forward to climbing the rest along with the north pole and south pole ski expeditions.
You also mentioned that alongside your sister, you deliver motivational talks. What are some of the key points/tactics you use to motivate people? First things first, people who lose confidence in themselves are the ones who require motivation most of the time. It is very important to connect emotionally with our audiences for them to understand and listen to what we are saying. So, we usually tell our audiences incidents which are very grave and have hit us hard in life and how we got out of such incidents! Also, we show the whole movie of Everest made by us to build up confidence. Sometimes, we make our audiences feel that it is not that tough while other times we give people a challenge for them to work on. It usually depends on the kind of people we must motivate. We hear our audiences out and then decide the best method to use to motivate them.
How did your time and study at Queen Mary help your career and development? My sister and I meet so many people from different countries and economies while we climb. It becomes so much easier for me to converse with them because of my study of international trade and policies from Queen Mary. Also, Queen Mary is a very reputed university and it has always charmed people around me to hear its name. Furthermore, the topics that I studied are practically applicable on the mountains like optimum utilisation of resources, team leading, conflict management, time management etc. Queen Mary really gave me the platform to stand out and gave me the confidence I would never otherwise have found.
Is there any advice you would give to current students or recent graduates considering their career options? To all students who have just graduated, one important thing I’ll say is to follow the career path that your heart wants. Because only then will you be able to give one hundred percent. Also, gain as much knowledge as you can about the field that you are entering into, because in today’s fast-moving world, survival of the fittest is what counts. And if you are adventurous in nature, there are always places and avenues that have been unexplored and you can dive deep into them after calculating the risks and deciding if you are ready to bear the consequences.
What was so special about your time at Queen Mary? The faculties! All the professors at Queen Mary were so considerate and so knowledgeable. The method they used to teach was a unique one where more concentration was placed on current affairs rather than book knowledge. I loved the fact that every now and then there were students who used to collect funds for charity by baking cupcakes, engaging students to play games etc and I was also fascinated by the Queen Mary boat club!
This profile was conducted by Alumni Engagement Officer, Nicole Brownfield. If you would like to get in touch with Aditi or engage her in your work, please contact Nicole at email@example.com.