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How To Excel At Showing Your Skills: Gauri Kadu Part 1

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If you’re an undergraduate student, you’ve probably thought once or twice about when to apply for internships. Haven’t gotten there yet? Maybe you’re considering a career in marketing? Follow this series to read more about the experiences of students who have completed their internships. Learn about the student of the week: Gauri Kadu. She has traveled the world, and her journey doesn’t end there. Keep reading to learn a little about where she has been and how she ended up pursuing a concentration in sales at UT Dallas.

Tell me a little bit about yourself…

It took awhile to answer her calling, but Gauri Kadu finally answered to the marketing program with a concentration in sales.

GAURI KADU: In the first two years of my college career, I went to Collin College for a little while, where I focused on computer science. But, I always wanted to be an art student. I was always drawing — ever since I was very young. In high school, I took a few art classes that inspired me. My parents would always say, “You can’t make money from being an artist!” That didn’t stop me; I still wanted to do it! Later on, I realized, I want to be able to [afford] to eat when I’m older. There’s always that idea of a starving artist. I like food too much.

My dad is an engineer, like an MIS kind of thing. His career path just took him there. He kind of put that pressure on me. He would say, “Hey, you should do computer science or biomedical engineering,” but that wasn’t what I wanted to do. It didn’t appeal to me. Both of my parents went to school in India. It was different for them. Education there is completely different from what it is here, along with the job fields and the possibilities that we have. You either become a doctor or an engineer, so it was no different to push that same mentality on to me over here in the States. I didn’t get much advice other than that from my parents, like most students do. I knew nothing! I was doing my best to figure things out, and I didn’t know what I was doing.

In 2000, we moved to the U.S. from Bombay, which was where I was born. We moved quite a bit, five times in six years to be exact. I lived in California on and off for 12 years. I was living in the Bay Area for a while, then moved to Norway for a year because my dad had a project there. It was beautiful; it was really gorgeous. We had a lot of free time. The work culture is very different, and they don’t overwork you. Their priorities are different. The people are the nicest in the world. We traveled all over: Denmark, Sweden, and the best part about it was that we could just drive.

After moving back from Norway, I attended high school in Southern California. I went to an all-girl Catholic high school, which was very interesting because, for one, I’m not Catholic. But it was a really good experience.

I applied to universities from there, which,, to my confusion, was really difficult because I didn’t know anything about applying to schools. My parents had also decided that they weren’t going to help me with tuition. I got into a couple great schools that had acknowledged computer science programs with some pretty decent scholarships.

My parents decided to move to Dallas. Their decision was mostly based on the family communities and school systems that Dallas had to offer. We were the first of our friends and family to move away from California.

When I moved to Dallas, I attended UT Dallas to major in computer science, but for some reason, I didn’t feel the sense of community and work ethic that I felt like I needed. Everyone in that field seemed to keep to himself or herself, which is great if you fit that type of personality, but I didn’t. It was different from what I was used to. In high school, I was heavily involved in speech and debate,… and I think that is what really shaped me for who I am. I didn’t love my first programming class. People weren’t social, and I found it depressing. From there, I was done. I was ready for a change.

The way that I decided to pursue marketing was…

Pictured here, Gauri uses her sales skills to pitch her ideas to employers visiting campus.

GAURI KADU: I was literally going through the UT Dallas website looking at the list of majors, thinking of what would best suit me. I decided on advertising from there. I still wanted that sense of art and creativity, and I wanted that sense of team that I got from speech and debate, along with a little of that argumentative spirit (while still being competitive).

On the sales team we’ve built in the Professional Sales Concentration within the marketing program at the Jindal School of Management we were competitive against each other, but we built a family atmosphere. At this point I feel that the marketing program really had that sense of community I was looking for.

Within the marketing concentration, I felt a little safer than if I were pursuing advertising. I was still able to focus on the business side of things, but I was able to explore my creativity in market research and areas like social media campaigns.

When I started my marketing classes, I felt like I was truly interested for the first time in my college career. I slowly started to realize that we had a lot of business presence here at UT Dallas, which is the best thing. In my digital selling class, we had the opportunity to partner with an actual company. We worked with Google, and we were able to develop a real campaign with a budget.

I took a sales class, basically by accident; it wasn’t my first choice for a class that I wanted. Ironically it turned out to be the best mistake of my life. This course was with Edward Meda, who was amazing, and there were probably 12 people in the class. I think that was the best way to structure it. Professor Meda has a really great background and a ton of experience, and he is also really laid back. He built that team atmosphere. I felt like it was an informal class, in a good way, because a lot of UT Dallas marketing classes are very dictionary, in my opinion. It was hands on, and he helped us build trust in each other. You could only create success with this type of teamwork. Everything was team-based; everything was workshop.

We learned so much about selling, what you’re giving to the customer, your client and how to best represent your brand. I learned that you will feel good about yourself at the end of the day if you find a company that you can identify with.

Going through all of these classes, I learned so many different things, and that’s really what broadened my career horizons. 

Prithvi Persad

Originating from Toronto, Canada, Prithvi's perspectives on student life extends from her new adventures as a Marketing student at the Naveen Jindal School of Management. In her free time, Prithvi takes joy in traveling, expanding her experiences for her culinary blog, and loves teaching her furry friend new tricks. Read more articles

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