The Delicate Dance of Engineering and Business

How Classical Bharatanatyam Taught Me Valuable Lessons in Pursuing My Career

For Srividya Rajagopal, a current Master of Global Business student at SP Jain School of Global Management, discipline and focus are crucial elements of a learning journey. And the best way to learn those? The classic Indian dance of Bharatanatyam.

Learning and loving Indian classical dance since age six, Vidya has performed in a range of events, big and small. She has been on live telecast on five occasions on regional TV, and she performs an average of ten shows a year with her teacher, Smt Gayatri Krishnaveni Lakshmanan. Some of the more prestigious events that she took part in were the Chidambaram and Thanjavur Natyanjali in India, where people from different parts of the world come together. At age 20, she was awarded a Scholarship award at VDS Dance Academy.

To be a successful classical Indian dancer, one needs to be extremely rigorous and dedicated to the art. This is what seems to have set Vidya apart from the rest. It’s all about flexibility, not just of the body but also the mind and soul. Every beat and rhythm has a different touch to it, and one needs to be sensitive to these touches.

The traits of dance runs parallel with Vidya’s learning journey. In university, she decided to major in Engineering. Soon after, she took up an MBA to broaden her horizon and experience beyond engineering and into the world of business. The disciplined side of dance reflects her analytical mindset, while the creative side of dance reflects her business mindset.

Vidya mentioned that the way she looked at business problems are slightly different from her peers. This was a special thing when everyone’s backgrounds were already different. She would use a more analytical deduction when the others might look at the problem on a more creative angle, and vice versa. This contributes well during teamwork: When all minds were placed together, the various ideas gave light to a bigger picture.

Vidya also felt fortunate to have a team of diverse professors, peers, and SP Jain staff members, all of whom enrich the cross cultural aspects in her learning journey.

The things people talked about were slightly different, due to where they come from. Similar to dance, she explained that the various dance forms of each state and country bring out the uniqueness of that place. She saw how people were so different yet you learn so much from them and their cultures. It’s a never ending learning experience with people from different backgrounds, and it was always interesting to learn that something in a particular country — from dance moves to cultural customs that translate into business practices — could mean something else in another country. This whole experience made her learning process interesting and fun.

All in all, dance has definitely been a factor that had molded Vidya to be what she is today. Because of dance, she’s developed the courage to go beyond a typical engineering pathway and take approaches where others might not have.

Article co-written with Kabir Mandrekar (GMBA Jan Batch 2017)

Story and Photo credits Srividya Rajagopal(MGB Jan Batch 2017)

Video credits Diksha Malhotra (GMBA Jan Batch 2017)

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