Shveta Raina Shares How Talerang Is Preparing Our Country's Youth To Be Work Ready.
Be Job Ready!
Shveta Raina shares how Talerang is preparing our country's youth to be work ready.
Beginning The Journey, Filling the gap
At Talerang, we are trying to solve the work-readiness gap - an issue that is affecting most college students today. My research project at Harvard identified that between the college education students receive and the demands of today’s premium organizations there is a gap of six key competencies and marketable skills.
Students surveyed (~60%) don’t feel ready for a front-office job, close to 50% don’t have anyone to go to for advice on their life path, and over 50% of students do not do a work internship before they graduate. We felt that if things continued this way, India would soon see a crisis in the work-readiness space. A real crisis – one that has the potential to disillusion our youth and affect the health of our economy.
Since our inception, we have run multiple interventions to bridge the gap. First, we launched our Future CEOs Program where students are hand-picked and taken through a rigorous combination of training, mentorship, feedback and work immersion. Second, on request from corporates and colleges we conduct specialized programs for them. Third, we write for the media to spread the word to a wider audience and conduct continuous research to update our curriculum based on the industry’s needs.
Inspiration To Succeed
1. I like to lead people professionally, but with a personal touch. I believe that it is ultimately culture and bonds that keep a team together, not money and targets.
2. While studying, University of Brown set me free as an individual. Firstly, Brown taught me to be passionate and follow my heart. It is consistently voted as the Happiest Ivy League school by its students and that’s because people love what they are learning and the people they are with. I was always a big nerd but Brown made me an even bigger one!
3. Secondly, it taught me to be myself and accept people for who they are. I had friends from all over the world, each brilliant in their own way. I met the quirkiest people and realized each one had their strengths!
4. My undergraduate experience was primarily about figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I spent a summer in France working with a communications firm. I spent my second summer in Mumbai working for a bank. I worked the next summer at Goldman Sachs in the US. After graduation, I joined McKinsey in New York. Even though at McKinsey the work I was doing was impactful, I realized over time that my true calling was social enterprise.
5. Harvard taught me rigour and discipline in my work. It made me more ambitious. It exposed me to some incredible men and women who are my support system today.
1. During my role as Director of Marketing, Recruitment and Selection at Teach for India, I travelled to 100 colleges across the country and met hundreds of students from the law, engineering and humanities streams. During my travels, I realised that Indian students (even those that went to the premier institutions) are really confused about what they want to do with their lives. Just because you went to a good college doesn’t mean your life is sorted.
2. At Harvard Business School, I was lucky enough to find a professor who was willing to work with me to tackle the issue of work-effectiveness in India. We started with running some pilots at colleges in India to test it out. That is how we began Talerang, with the aim of developing an effective and skilled workforce in India through various immersion experiences.
Advantages of Being A Woman Entrepreneur
During my education at Brown and Harvard I felt on an equal footing with men.
1. It was only at McKinsey New York, where I launched the Female Business Analyst Program (North America) with the support of Joana Barsh because I felt young professional women require a special kind of mentoring to help them succeed.
2. We created a group mentorship model (each group had a female manager, a second year analyst and five first year analysts). It was great bonding.
Takeaways for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs
Stay Engaged: In my experience, at the entry level there is little difference between men and women. However as women go up the corporate ladder they get bogged down with their personal lives. They start withdrawing from work and stop prioritizing themselves and their own development. This is why, even organizations that have an equal number of men and women at the entry level report <10% women in the C-suite.
Know Yourself: The reason women are not forthcoming is not because they cannot be. It is because they are unsure about what they want from their careers in the first place. Unless they figure this out they will not have the conviction to succeed in their careers and fight for their promotions!
Prioritize Yourself: Women need to start happening to their lives instead of waiting for their lives to happen to them! They should figure out who they are and what they want first, and then just go after it with determination. Don’t forget to hit the gym and take time out for Yoga, because if you aren’t taking care of yourself you can’t perform at work!
Seek Support: Instead of always being the one who is there for your husband through his work stress, give him the green signal to help you out when you’re having a tough day at work. Perhaps he can go home early one day when you’re having a long day, or show up for that work event where you need moral support!
Create a Community: Ensure your relationships with your close friends and extended family are strong and intact because you cannot go this journey alone. Maintain those friendships even if it means you have a strictly managed schedule! You will need emotional support at the worst of times and a forum to have fun outside work at the best of times!
In the future, Talerang is looking to take work readiness assessment and learning online with our online portal so we can reach more students and companies to widen its impact in a sustainable manner.