Student Leader Interview - Palani Samy, IITM

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1.  Tell us more about your role & responsibilities at your college.

My previous position as president of my club resulted in managing people, their roles, and responsibilities, as well as the direction the club.

2. How did you rise up to your position and how can a student aspiring the same, approach it?

I was the second option for President, the first choice choosing to become the Vice President instead. I was planning on running for President or Vice President the following term, but this chance was not something I was willing to pass over. However, both roles were highly intertwined and effective leadership only resulted through collaborative effort.

Yet even prior I had shown myself to be a capable person with drive by being the first to offer my time and energy through classes and clubs. You must make sure the right people notice your effort. There is no point working hard when the people who can provide opportunities do not see it.

3. What have been some of your biggest challenges and learning from what you do?

Honestly, the biggest challenge was always in terms of managing people, both in terms of people under me, and those we worked with in a collaborative aspect. Personality clashes, work ethic and differing visions were all things taken into consideration. Being nuanced is incredibly important and knowing what to do and when only comes from experience so put yourself out there.

All my previous experience dealt with my individual performance and deadlines so changing the way I thought about collaborative work and receiving input are important takeaways for myself. We need to know when to admit and apologize for our mistakes and explain the steps taken to rectify the situation. But make sure its something within your control.

4. What did you do in your current role that makes you feel really proud of yourself?

Being able to overcome the challenges faced through ways I never thought practical or possible. One incident resulted from miscommunication that almost derailed a project months in the making. Only by someone’s vast experience and my own willingness to swallow my pride did it work smoothly.

5. What's your message to encourage students to do internships and attend conferences?

Always keep learning even through non-traditional means as a student. Internships and conferences provide avenues for one’s growth and are invaluable means to network. You never know how important it is until you need it.

Interviewed by - Chirag Pant

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