Aiming in right direction

Ashutosh Bagla who is studying food biotech at University College Dublin explains how an aptitutde towards life sciences and his ambition to be in the corporate world at the same time gave him the direction he needed in life .

I have been asked this question on my choice of schooling in Ireland, time and again in the past three months, that to the people my answer now looks rehearsed.
I grew up experiencing the very best thanks to my grandfather who happened to be the chief executive of a leading cement multinational based in India. He is the biggest professional influence and inspiration in my life. Even before high school commenced, I was sure about my desire to hold a similar management position in a leading multinational. However, the path to finding the field I wanted to work in was a little more difficult than I had imagined it to be.

The dilemma here was that I always had a greater aptitude towards life sciences, and this generally leads one to a profession where the professional wears a white coat in a lab or hospital but almost never a black coat in a corporate office. But surprisingly, one day an idea dawned upon me, “Why not be the CEO (too ambitious? It’s good to be ambitious! In the words of Oscar Wilde, “ambition is the last refuge of failure”) of a leading food or biotech company?” This thought gave me the direction I needed in my life.

When I graduated from high school in March 2013, admission offers from some of the leading food science universities including Cornell University, UC Davis in the US and University of Auckland in New Zealand. This brings me back to why I chose Ireland.
I was fortunate enough to have travelled Europe in 2006 with my parents. The culture, heritage and the most essential “goodness” of people in general made me feel that I “belonged” to this place and also made me want to come back. I received an offer letter from two of the best food science universities in the only two English speaking countries of Europe; the University of Leeds in Great Britain and University College Dublin in Ireland. From here on, it was not a difficult choice.

Internationally University College Dublin’s food course was more reputed than that of Leeds. Ireland has an agri-food based economy which contributes 24 billion euros to the national economy and 7.7% of national employment, arguably one of the highest in developed nations of the world.

Most importantly all the other universities communicated through electronic messages while UCD sent its representative team to India to chat with their prospective students for 2013. Meeting with the UCD representative for South Asia, Ms Condron changed everything for me and I was almost sure after the meeting that I was going to UCD for my undergraduate course. What a series of electronic communications could not do over a period of months, just one meeting in person did instantly!

The universities believe that direct meetings with students gives a highlight of the passion with which they are committed to education and also the Irish culture through the person.

Apart from learning about the tertiary education system of countries around the globe through my application process, the most important lesson I probably learned was about the power of a human relationship. A quote by Charles Dickens seems suitable for my conclusion, “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.”

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