Nikhita Giridhar (NG) : As you enter your last quarter at Booth, how do you feel things have changed for you?
Renuka Agarwal (RG): There’s an enormous difference between how first year starts off and how second year pans out. In first year, everything is unknown. Your friends are unknown and your career is undecided. It’s a lot of discovery and experimenting and being open to where things might take you. In your second year, it’s about deepening relationships. It’s still a lot about exploring what Booth has to offer but with more focus. In my first year, I explored startups, consulting, healthcare and tech and this year I doubled down on healthcare. This was not my original plan but being open to the idea of my plans changing while at Booth made the biggest difference.
NG: How do you plan on making the most of your last quarter at Booth?
RA: I’m taking advantage of a lot of opportunities that will not be as readily available after school, like music and performance through AudioBooth, Economies of Scale, and Follies. I also want to attend more Booth stories – it’s such a great way to discover deeper sides of people – and all of the events that are organized at UofC like those at the Institute of Politics.
NG: What are the overriding feelings amongst your second-year peers?
RA: A lot of mixed feelings. We’re all very ready to have an income again! But we also know graduation will take us to different places and it will require significant effort to keep relationships alive. There’s also a good amount of uncertainty to the paths we take – some of us are entering fields we haven’t worked in before and we have no idea how that’s going to take shape. We’re focused on enjoying ourselves this quarter, enjoying the flexibility and the ‘me time’ that we’ve had for two years.
NG: What’s the one thing that surprised you?
RA: Being open is the best thing you can do for yourself. It’s scary and can pull you in a lot of different directions but that’s what I have found most valuable about business school. People tell you that Booth is different from other business schools and after two years here, I can attest that it’s true. The support and encouragement that I have received from my peers is unparalleled, and I am continually inspired by their intellect and humility. All of this has created an environment where I have been able to open myself to vulnerability and get out of my comfort zone.