Driven to success, no matter the obstacles
Growing up in a small town in northwest India, Pragati Galhotra had no role models for what an independent, modern career-minded woman looked like. She may not have known what “success” looked like, but she was driven to achieve it anyway. “At that time, I wanted more out of me, and the only way I thought I could do more with my life and figure out what I wanted to do was via education.
Her attitude towards life has not changed. “Even now, I want to do something more. My goal is to be a successful woman; I don’t know what that exactly means, but it has kept me driven.”
In June, Pragati Galhotra graduated with an MBA from the Ted Rogers School of Management, and after completing two internships, now works full-time as a strategy consultant for one of Canada’s major banks. She has gone from India to the United States to Toronto banking, but she still regards this as the beginning—not the culmination—of her journey. “Even now I don’t think I am intellectually saturated. Every opportunity I have something that I want to learn more about.”
Galhotra became one of the first women from her hometown to pursue graduate education overseas. With a full scholarship, she earned a PhD in chemistry from the University of Iowa. After completing the intense four-year program, she became one of the few women employed leading core projects at a mining and minerals company in Reno, Nevada. During her time there, her interests began to shift.
“My role was a research project lead, and I was interested in doing something different and more,” she remembered. “I would do what I was supposed to do within the constraints of my work, and then I would sometimes go beyond what was expected out of me.
“In school, I was interested in exploring further, because my knowledge was limited, my exposure was limited. I was happy where the PhD had landed me in, yet I kept an open mind wanting to learn. It was during my job at the mining company that I started internalizing that I wanted to do more than what my science background was offering me. That was the realization point: maybe I should go for an MBA.”
Transitioning careers is never easy, but Galhotra saw advantages to Ryerson. “One thing that I really liked before joining the program was that it was situated in the heart of downtown. That means you get the opportunity to connect with people in banking easily,” she said. “The second thing I found was the people in the MBA Career Centre would be very closely connected with me. I was able to get that one-on-one attention and time that I needed to be able to do that difficult transition.”
To learn more about Pragati Galhotra’s journey, read her recent personal essay for the external,Globe & Mail.
This story is part of a series on student success at Ryerson.