Shifali is a multi-faceted, extremely passionate person. In her 22 years, she has been an IT engineer, a dancer, a photographer, a debater, a teacher, a leader and an ‘enernerd’! It is her life’s mission to explore and travel as much as possible. Her ability to solve 5000 piece puzzles, is stems from the fact that at her core she is a problem solver. Her philosophy in life is to keep innovating and keep learning from people, places, experiences and all the cute dogs, tigers and whales in the world! #HealTheWorld
Shifali: Really Important. If the culture of the organization lets you grow, that’s great. Otherwise, it’s a lose-lose situation for both, you and the organization.
Shifali: Flexibility in terms of learning paths and being able to explore various viewpoints is what matters. Starting off in the energy field and forming your own opinions is really important. Your career in energy is doomed if you are forced to pick one side over the other against your wishes.
Shifali: It is definitely one of the most important aspects of work culture. Team-work gives you perspective, pushes you and generally makes work more fun. Strength and cohesiveness is what makes the team-work successful.
Shifali: Transparency is important in all areas of life, not just with regards to a job. Ideally approval shouldn’t matter, but for me it does. Whether its criticism or appraisal, I feel feedback is what keeps me connected with the people I’m working with.
Shifali: I don’t know if I can survive without it. Being an IT engineer and now entering the energy industry, it’s literally my bread and butter. Over and above everything, I am programmed to help develop technology, so it’s importance to me is infinite.
Shifali: A sense of community is the definition of the entire system we are part of. Its what we derive our resources from and it is the final entity we deliver to.
Shifali: Going back to what I said earlier, acknowledgement and support are extremely important to my career needs. I need to be learning and growing constantly to be of value to the industry and I don’t think I can do that without a good support system.
Shifali: Switching from IT engineering to environmental science with no work experience was a huge shift. It has been extremely difficult for me to convince people that I am passionate about this field and even harder to show them that I am capable of delivering good work despite a lack of formal work experience. I have received rejection after rejection from companies I have wanted to work for. Working with Student Energy has been very valuable for me. I have tried my best to make up for the gaps in my knowledge with concentrated hard work and an open mind. The struggle is ongoing and the transition is still incomplete, but I’m positive that I will be successful.
Shifali: If you believe in it, carry on! There is always a way, even if it’s not so apparent right now!
Shifali: Definitely not and in a way, yes. Two things I have always wanted to do: give back to nature in some way and be involved in a field that is constantly evolving and not stagnant. For the longest time I wanted to be a nuclear physicist, then a biotechnologist, then a cardiac surgeon and even a dancer at a point in time. It was only when I came to Columbia, met the wonderful professors who are now my mentors and got introduced to Student Energy and suddenly all the scattered pieces seemed to fit. The abstract ideas I had of what I wanted to do in life took shape and I realized that by working in the energy industry, especially focused on renewables and sustainable development, I could give back to nature, be associated with innovation and above all, travel the world.
Shifali: Constant innovation is the single biggest source of satisfaction. I get to learn something new in this field every single day!
Shifali: I think it is the most important part of my career. I know that I am definitely going to be following my Masters up with either a PhD or an MBA down the line.
Shifali: For me, “Millennial” signifies a perspective. It is the belief that we can change. We don’t have a myopic view, and are able to think long term and about the broader system. We believe that things can be different and things evolve. With this perspective, I am able to differentiate myself.
Shifali: I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with a whole bunch of people! Larry Page or Sergey Brin or Elon Musk. I want to know what inspires them and what makes them who they are. How do they do it? Where does their inspiration come from? What makes them so forward-looking? These are just a few of the questions I would hound them with!
Shifali: Yes. So far I have only been a student. High school then undergraduate, and now graduate school.
Shifali: My undergraduate program gave me the time to explore a lot of things. It gave me insight into one of the most exciting industries and at the same time allowed me to explore some of my other passions like dance and biology and climate science. Columbia (graduate school) has put me right at the centre of my career focal point.
Shifali: 1. Openness to learning and forming opinions,
2. Encouragement to be creative,
3. Guidance to help them think for themselves
Shifali: My ideal organization would be a Google or a Tesla; Organizations built on the premise of innovation, new ideas and creativity. I cannot imagine a better place to develop my career in.
Shifali: Incentives and rewards: 7,
Training and development: 10,
Global opportunities: 9
Shifali: Getting accepted to Columbia. This convinced me that if I really want something, and work really hard to get it, eventually I will. I was told by everyone I knew that it would be the hardest thing to switch from IT to environmental science. The fact that I’ve successfully done this makes me believe in my own abilities a lot more!
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