Vidhi Rajpal is busy. Then again, she is always busy, and happily so.
She recently started pursuing a second master’s degree in the Information & Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) program. In the summer of 2021, Vidhi attended Columbia as a Visiting Postbaccalaureate Studies student, taking classes such as Data Analytics & Metrics in the Nonprofit Sector, Natural Language Processing, and Leading Large Complex Projects. In 2011, she worked and studied in Boston, graduating from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University with a B.S. in business administration, concentrating in finance and entrepreneurship. If that’s not enough, she also helps with her family business in Mumbai, Nishi Wines, volunteers with ReadAhead, and is a Columbia University Life Ambassador. We recently talked with Vidhi about her journey in the U.S. and at Columbia.
What was it like to come to the U.S. and work for the first time?
Working at companies such as Brodeur Partners and PowerAdvocate Inc. during my time in Boston will forever be among my most pivotal and rewarding experiences. As cliché as it sounds, the people, cultures, lessons, and support have made me who I am today: confident, motivated, and driven. I continue to be thankful to each person who contributed to those experiences.
Have you had many mentors during the course of your educational and professional journey?
I feel incredibly fortunate to have met some very supportive advisers. Networking to network is one thing. But networking to learn is another. I believe you have more to gain when you choose the latter. I feel very strongly about the connections I have made. Some I reached out to myself, some I was referred to, and some were by sheer coincidence. My idea was to just hear about their experiences and tap into their knowledge and expertise. They have so much to offer, and I trust their guidance completely. I know all my mentors are just a message or phone call away.
Your experiences seem to have been quite varied.
Yes, very diverse. In fact, it might imply a certain lack of focus. But while I have worked in various industries, I have maintained my focus on business and finance. Some time ago, I learned the importance of “staying relevant,” which is why I decided to enter the field of analytics.
How will your Columbia degree help you support your family business?
The IKNS program offers a holistic approach to enhancing people and analytics skills. As our family business is still growing, I want to be able to manage it through both of these lenses. We’re in the wine and spirits industry, which is very competitive in India. I want to focus on making the organization more dynamic and robust, for which we need to be more data-driven. Even prior to the IKNS program, I had begun creating an in-house knowledge management system to develop various business functions, and I knew Columbia could help me do that even more effectively.
The Columbia University M.S. in Information and Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) program provides students with foundations in information science, organizational psychology, and change management as well as practical skills in project management and executive leadership. The program is available part-time, full-time, on-campus, and online.
Fall 2023 application deadlines for the M.S. in Information and Knowledge Strategy program are February 15, 2023 for the priority deadline; March 15 for applicants with international documents; and June 15 for the final deadline. Applications are reviewed and admission decisions released on a rolling basis. Learn more here.