MBA student aims to shatter stereotypes on women, girls
A Texas Woman’s student and IT professional enrolled in the MBA program is helping the next generation of women enter the tech world.
Texas Woman’s MBA student Iswariya Baskar isn’t one to let stereotypes about women hold her back.
Six years ago, Baskar found herself in a room full of people—600 specifically—giving a talk at a major university on the teenage perception of beauty. She was only a 17-year-old high school senior, but she recalls how the experience gave her that mindset that she could do anything. Building on that, in her sophomore year of college, she led a local TedTalk committee promoting the organization’s big events. And just two years ago, she traveled to her home country of India. It was no leisurely trip.
“I was thinking about doing volunteer work, but I wasn’t sure how I could go about it,” recalled Baskar, who grew up in Coppell but returns to Cholamadevi, a small village located in Tamil Nadu in South India, at least once a year to see family. “I knew that I would be comfortable in a school because everyone knows me and I know everyone.”
Her grandparents reached out to the local headmaster who, in turn, invited Baskar to school for one day. She ended up staying for an entire month.
“At first, it was very informal and then I started to talk about basic computer skills like email and Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint,” said Baskar.
Her goal wasn’t necessarily to teach, but rather, to inspire and break stereotypes.
“The main reason you go to school in India is for free lunch. In a government school, students don’t have the same opportunity,” she continued, noting that in private schools, the teachers “show up everyday” for their scheduled classes. “The expectation in government schools is that these kids are going to grow up here, stay and never leave.”
Each school day, she worked with 25 fifth-graders in her assigned classroom.
“It was really, really fun,” she said. “I motivated the students, especially the girls, to pursue their educations regardless of societal stigmas. There is a whole world to explore and books to be read. I wanted them to know that staying in the same place as their ancestors is not the only option. I wanted them to learn, to grow and to explore.”
After returning to the United States, Baskar completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Dallas. She graduated in December 2019 with dual degrees in IT and political science, and in 2020 she landed her first full-time job. She had only been working in her new company, Infosys, which completes IT work for companies such as Google and Facebook, for a few weeks when COVID-19 began spreading in the United States.
“All of our office was working online through Zoom,” Baskar said.
She had planned to pursue a master’s degree in a few years, but with her new office arrangements, she decided to make the most of the extra time at home and bump up her timeline. With that, she began looking at MBA programs and decided on the TWU College of Business.
“I wanted a school to work with my work and academic schedule,” she said.
While at TWU, Baskar hopes to develop skills that will help her reach another goal—becoming an international diplomat and using her background in business, political science and tech traveling the world and talking about women’s rights and equality.
“If you have an MBA, you can easily learn anything else—legal concepts—plus, you understand negotiations, communications, and management,” she said.
For now, she’s started a blog on Instagram about women in leadership, women in tech and women in business, as well as her own experiences as a woman in the tech industry in pursuit of a master’s degree in business administration.
“I’m really interested in bringing opportunities to women of all colors and backgrounds in regards to tech and education,” Baskar said. “If you want to study, you’ll find a way to do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pandemic and your classes are online. There’s always a way for everything. You don’t really have an excuse, so long as you have the mindset, WiFi and a computer.”
Page last updated 11:55 AM, November 2, 2020