Pooja Agrawal (BBA 2018) started her SP Jain journey in Mumbai with hopes of travelling the world and breaking her comfort zone.
Fast forward to a month before graduation, and she’s done all that and more! “I used to be a very shy and awkward kid when I came here. Now, I can talk about anything with anyone at the drop of a hat!” From being scared to answer in class to featuring on the Dean’s List multiple times – Pooja has come a long way.
After spending the first year of her degree in Mumbai, Pooja headed to Dubai – where she met her international batch mates for the first time! “Meeting people from different countries was a truly humbling experience. It really drove home how similar humans are, despite the differences in our upbringing.”
In Dubai, Pooja was an active member of the student community. Along with a group of students, she bagged second place in a public speaking competition organised by the Emirates Group in Dubai Knowledge Park.
She also interned with a Dubai based medical supplies company as a junior communications associate and worked on B2B marketing campaigns for them. “My first internship with Copper Chimney in Mumbai interested me in marketing, so I decided to explore that passion further by experimenting with the B2B space.”
In the fourth semester of her degree, Pooja headed to Madrid for her student exchange semester. “I still can’t believe I got a chance to study at IE Business School and interact with some of the best faculties in the world! Spending a semester there has been a rewarding experience.”
It was at IE that Pooja discovered Social Entrepreneurship, and she immediately loved the idea of profits with a purpose. When she returned to India for her summer break, she decided to act on her desire to make society a more level playing field for women. This led her to start Girl Up Sydney, a chapter of the United Nations Girl Up initiative associated with SP Jain School of Global Management. "I started Girl Up Sydney to unite others like me, who were passionate about gender equality. It helped me hone my leadership skills and truly realise the kind of work I wanted to do."
As the Founder and President of Girl Up Sydney, Pooja has managed a club of 70+ students over the last two years of her degree. The club has organised ten events and forged valuable partnerships with other SP Jain clubs (most notably, the limb donation campaign with EcoYouth, where the two clubs raised 15,165 AED to help 35 individuals with the gift of prosthetics!), and organised independent fundraisers.
In July 2021, Pooja, along with another member from Girl Up Sydney, was invited to speak at the Annual Global Summit organised by the UN for Girl Up Foundation to talk about the success of their fundraiser, Career Fest. Career Fest raised a whopping 800AUD in 5 days, which went towards girls' education in Australian charities. "It was surreal to be recognised for the work we do, and this accomplishment powered our members through the online learning to continue encouraging them to make an impact.
Pooja also went on to collaborate with Jessica Giusti, the Digital Marketing Head for the Girl Up Foundation to create a set of fundraising resources that are now available to all 85,000 members of the community.
Like everyone else from her cohort, Pooja spent the third year of her degree online, waiting for Australian borders to open so she could travel to Sydney. “I was saving a lot of time with my online classes, so I wanted to do something productive alongside college. That was one of the reasons I dedicated so much time to Girl Up!”
Along with the club, Pooja also interned with companies in Mumbai, Dubai, and Sydney while managing her academics. She realised that her true passion lay not in marketing but social entrepreneurship, impact, and strategy. “My two favourite internships have been with Thrift For Good in Dubai and the Inner City Legal Centre in Sydney – as they have both allowed me to combine my love for business with my drive to make a difference.”
She also took up two fellowships that would help her hone her business skills and add to what she was learning at SP Jain. “I pursued Global Governance Initiative’s Impact Fellowship to help me refine my problem-solving skills and my desire to make a difference. Becoming a fellow at Enterprise India, on the other hand, allowed me to improve my soft skills along with giving me real-world experience with live client projects.”
In late 2021, the Australian borders finally opened – and Pooja finally made the trip to Sydney. “Being here is like a dream come true. My four years at SP Jain are coming to an end, but I’m leaving as a totally different person and someone I am proud of!”.
Pooja is working as a freelance writer for a Melbourne based digital media start-up that aims to amplify the voices of South Asians in Australia and is on the lookout for full-time opportunities in the development sector in Australia.
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