Sanaya Dhamodiwala (MSc International Marketing Management 2012)

Sanaya Dhamodiwala

Why did you choose Leeds University Business School?

I wanted to broaden my horizons after doing an Undergraduate course in Hotel Management. Thus, I chose Marketing. When I came across the MSc in International Marketing Management, I was impressed by the modules that they were teaching. Strategy and Research were very new to me and I was keen on learning them. It was an informative and creative way of learning things, and learning them right!

After four years of Services learning I was introduced to Product Marketing. Although in the end I did my dissertation in Services Management (and Research) I will always be thankful for the Product Marketing learning I received. Another great bonus was the Internet Marketing module. It helped me a lot in my first job, where I had to handle online sales as well as marketing. In all, it was a holistic course that molded me very well for what was lying ahead.

Tell us about your course - why did you choose it? What elements of the course inspired you to choose the Business School/University?

The student-professor relationship. In India, there is a completely different approach to it, making students fearful of teachers and professors. At the Business School, the professors are your friends; they're there to help you, guide you, and ensure you have the best time of your life. I will always cherish my relationship with each of them.

Another aspect I liked was the group work and studies. GDs and continual team activities makes you an amazing leader and a people-person, a critical quality for a marketeer. It even helped me mingle and blend in with people from different cultures and understand the way things work around the world.

What were your career aspirations when you arrived?

I always thought this would be a great way to get back to the hotel (or at least hospitality) industry with a bang. Little did I know that my career path was going to change, in a unique manner.

My first job after the degree was in a private label called Clean Planet, a brand of eco-friendly fashion accessories. I headed the Sales and Marketing division. It was only here that I realised the value and concepts of 'going green.' The brand, the work I did and the people changed my outlook towards life. I began to look at things in a way I never had. I joined the CSR space.

Currently, I work with Piramal Udgam, (a part of the philanthropic arm of Piramal Enterprise Ltd.) which is an ISSP. We run a rural BPO from Bagar, in the state of Rajasthan, India. We empower women, by providing them with urban employment opportunities in rural regions. I believe that coming to the Business School, seeing the culture of different people, understanding and empathizing with everyone has helped me in my current job profile. I'd never be able to appreciate and love the work I do if it hadn't been for my learnings out there. Exposure to the big, GOOD, world was really the best offering of LUBS.

How has your career progressed since leaving the Business School?

It was a slow start but has picked up well. It has been a wonderful career path. Within each firm I have been exposed to many known personalities from different spheres of life. Speaking and liaising with notable people, has a thrill you cannot imagine. From a casual work environment to a corporate work culture, from a firm of 8 people I now work for and with a group of 270. I love my job and always feel blessed.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I want to make Piramal Udgam the leading rural BPO enterprise; a centre that will inspire women in rural (as well as in urban regions) to believe in themselves and their potential.

Do you think your experience and skills gained here will help you in your future career plans?

Certainly. Without a doubt, the Business School has been my motivating and inspiring guide throughout. Apart from the knowledge and education I've received, it's given me people skills, communicating skills, powerful leadership qualities, and has taught me empathy for which I will be eternally grateful. I'd never be able to appreciate or even be able to do the kind of work I do hadn't it been for my exposure to the global world at Leeds.

If you are not from the UK, how was the transition to a foreign country?

Leeds University is one of the most cooperative, supporting and helpful organisations. I never had to deal with any issue for more than 24 hours, till it was resolved. Coming from India, where the culture is very different, I doubt any other place would have made my transition so smooth and comforting.

Advice - never panic, never feel you're alone, always be alert, and always ask as many questions you like for they will be answered no matter how silly you think they are.

What was your impression/experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the students' union, the City of Leeds and the region itself?

I was bowled over. It's a beauty in itself. I loved Leeds and everything that it had to offer. I only wish I could come back here and do something valuable for the University as a token of my appreciation to it. Plunge in with all your heart and soul, give your best to your studies and work, and you certainly will be repaid multi-fold.