The Swartz Fellowship

circa 2011: Brijesh, Saurabh and me were standing outside the LTC. The last hope for a Conquest sponsor had pulled out. We simply did not have the money to pull off Conquest the next week. (We eventually did somehow).

But that day I went back to my room and wondered, “Why am I doing this to myself?” I could be doing so many other ‘expected’ things with myself. I could be doing ‘laccha’ (laughing & chatting with friends) and dispel some unflattering labels that my so-called ‘girl-friends’ loved throwing around in my absence. I could be ‘ghoting’ (generating heat on the table i.e. slang for studying) and gathering outdated knowledge. I could be on a date.

I guess I was obsessed with CEL a little bit because that was the only place where you could talk about not jumping hoops created by others. And be taken seriously.

In my meanderings since then, none of those efforts or hard work ever fit. The Indian MBA scene was a humungous turn off. Job? MS? What did all these people want? Grades? Smooth talking? Glorified internships in Europe? I don’t know.

The hardest and the best moments of my BITSian life were not even there on my resume, in some sense. I knew some of those moments will shape me for a long time to come. Yet I had no way of expressing the costs and the risks that I took with my time at BITS. Almost no one seemed to care and understand

circa 2016 : Swartz Fellowship Interview.

“One of your recommenders said: “There is one thing about Aaksha. She can be obsessed with making the right things happen.”

Welcome to the Swartz Fellowship.

And just like that. Someone finally cared.


(A yearly fellowship awarded to CMU graduates who show the most potential for excellence in Entrepreneurship and Technology)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s