Know Your Ambassadors - Rapid Fire with Uddeshya@SciencesPo & Emory University

Name: Uddeshya Nigam
High School: St. Xavier's, Bokaro
College: SciencesPo Paris
Major: Econ
College Year: 2017-20

Q1: When did you decide that you wanted to study abroad?
A1: It was back in 2012 during a random discussion with my brother. It all started with research about SATs and moved on eventually to U.S College Applications.

Q2: Why did you want to study abroad?
A2: During my research, I compared (randomly) econ taught at UChicago and Delhi University (had a friend in his Year 2 at that point at D.U) and quickly realised the difference in terms of learning being more individualistic (consider the liberal arts) and the perspectives brought by distinguished people in the classroom at UChicago.

I always wanted to do something with econ (inspired by the book by G.Mankiw) and chose to apply abroad.

Q3: Who helped/guided you with the College process?
A3: Nobody (in the complete sense).
Eventually around 2011, my parents asked me to obtain assistance from Collegify (educational consultants based in Kolkata), so that they could ensure I wasn't shooting in the dark. I did obtain their assistance eventually and learnt an important difference between college essays and essays one writes for books and competitions.
However if one doesn't feel like paying an exorbitant amount to college consultants, I would rather advise seeking assistance from college juniors/seniors in your network for essays, LORs, etc.

Q4: What was your proudest accomplishment(s) during your High School years (in or outside of school)?
A4: Becoming the school captain! I never expected it would be a reality given that I wasn't the very popular guy..

Q5: Why do you think your College admitted you?
A5: I guess owing to an even balance between my leadership achievements, extra curriculars, a story knitting together the journey from an unknown town in India to the motivation to apply abroad doing my own research, participation in international events, etc.

Q6: What has been the biggest surprise so far in college?
A6: Not everyone is as intelligent as one might tend to think. This is true about SciencesPo and Emory (where I'm currently doing my exchange).

Q7: Something that you know now, that you wish you had known in High School?
A7: Your undergrad can shape your future in some way but it isn't the means all and ends all. The more important thing is stepping out and being proactive.

Q8: Are you happy with your College decision?
A8: Initially I wasn't but given how I've shaped my path according to circumstances, I feel it's the best choice I could've made both financially and academically.

Q9: How many students from India are in your batch in College?
A9: I think, around 5-10.

Q10: Your advice to College-bound aspirants? (2 or 3 things)
A10: The uni(versity) you got into makes no impact on your career if you didn't make use of your time there to build a portfolio conducive to your career goals.
Think about university as an opportunity where you bought in valuable time. How you decide to make use of it is up to you!

You don't need to finalise your career choices right from your freshman year. Explore! Having a sense of direction as to where you would want to sort of end up helps but don't sweat too much! Experiences shape your decision eventually.

Be proactive and seek what you want! Go after professors and they'll be glad to help. Sometimes the advice from friends might actually do more harm than good, so try and take every advice with a grain of salt ;)

Hope you liked this Rapid Fire. If you have questions for Uddeshya about SciencesPo, now is the time to ask!