If you’re a new or soon-to-be graduate looking for some career advice and job hunting tips, you’re going to want to pay attention to what Mehar Sindhu Batra has to say. She joined us for episode 19 of our Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast to share some amazing insights on job hunting, succeeding in your career, learning English, and so much more.
Mehar was born and raised in New Delhi, India and attended Delhi University for her undergraduate degree. After that, she took a chartered accountancy course and moved to London, England to get her Master’s in business administration (MBA) at Imperial College London. She is still living in London and working as a strategy consultant. When she’s not hard at work, Mehar spends her time educating her audience through her brand, MSB Vision, on her YouTube channel and Instagram page.
Whether you’re about to graduate or you’re entering the job market, Mehar’s career advice will give you something to really think about. Read all of the highlights from her amazing interview here, and listen in full on the Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast.
Mehar Sindhu Batra talking about her professional career goals
Making Tough Decisions Early in Life
As a teen growing up in New Delhi, Mehar had to make some tough choices early on in her life. She attended Delhi Public School, which uses a system that requires students to choose a path between business and commerce or science. Once you choose which stream you’ll take, you can’t really change it, either. “At a very young age of 15/16, you have to decide sort of your major for the rest of your life,” Mehar says.
That can be a pretty intimidating decision when you’re not even an adult yet. For many lucky 15-year-olds, the biggest worry is passing your driver’s test when you turn 16 – not figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life. However, making this decision early on comes with its advantages, and you get to spend more time preparing for a successful future.
In India, Mehar says, the competition can be pretty intense. There are a lot more students than there are opportunities, so sometimes people put too much pressure on themselves to overperform and exceed expectations to stand out from the crowd. This can be a big source of stress and anxiety for high school students, and a feeling Mehar knows all too well.
Worrying and dealing with anxiety can be a double-edged sword when you’re in school. On the one hand, you can use that anxiety to stay on track and get your work done on time, but on the other hand, anxiety can lead to student burnout really fast. It’s all about finding a balance that works for you.
Never Stop Setting Goals
For many people, reaching your career goals and settling down with a good job can be enough to feel accomplished and secure. Often, people fall into the idea that they are happy where they are and forget that there is always room to grow.
There’s nothing wrong with being happy where you are, but sometimes if you don’t keep moving up, it becomes harder to keep that motivation to get up and go to work every day. Think about the opportunities you could be working for. Maybe there’s a promotion you’d be a great fit for, or a chance to get a pay raise. Whatever it is, you should never stop setting goals.
Mehar sets new goals every year because this motivates her to keep moving forward. Moving up the ladder at her current company is a big aspiration, and she also plans on setting goals with client relationships, growing her YouTube channel, and more.
When you reach your goals, make new ones. For Mehar, it helps to set smaller goals to reach those bigger goals. You can always break your long term goals down into short term ones that will help you fulfill small steps at a time. Those goals, no matter how big or small, can help you stay on track and keep sight of what you want your life to look like.
Follow Mehar’s words of advice: “Everybody has those days when they don’t know what they’re doing or where they’re heading. But then when you look at your goals, you open your notebook or you open your journal and then you remember, okay, this is what I had in my mind and this is what I’m working towards, it just sort of helps you come back to the right path.”
Try setting SMART goals for yourself. For more goal setting tips for students, check out Episode 12 of the Homework Help Show, where our host Cath Anne shares some pointers on setting goals, sticking to them, and staying consistent.
Mehar Sindhu Batra travelling as an MBA student with good work life balance
Staying Organized Enough to Balance a Busy Student Life
Coming from a family with a big “hustle culture,” Mehar has spent most of her life trying new things and getting involved in activities. Since she was a young girl, she’s been juggling multiple activities at a time – she’s done everything from tennis to singing lessons and dance classes.
Somewhere in between studying and extracurricular activities, Mehar also made plenty of time for traveling on a student budget. She’s been to at least 28 different countries! And did we mention that the chartered accountancy exams are some of the toughest in India?
Mehar is a strong believer in a good student life balance. Participating in different extracurricular activities helps her relieve stress, meet new people, and balance out her energy when studying gets intense. That being said, here’s the big question we were wondering: how exactly did Mehar balance all of this and still do well on her exams?
To include her passion for travelling into her life, Mehar used holidays and vacations as a reward for hard work. She would study really hard for her exams, and then go off on a trip with her friends as soon as the exams were over. Sometimes she’d fit them in on long weekends, too.
For her regular, everyday life, Mehar prioritizes staying organized and loves to use to-do lists. Each night while she was in school, she would make a list of everything she wanted to accomplish the next day. No matter what it was, whether it was studying at home or going to class to turn in a paper, she’d add it to the list and do a “brain dump” of everything she planned to do. Save the most important tasks on your list for the time in the day when you’re most productive. There is something so satisfying about crossing those things off your list!
Need more time management tips to try? Check out our blog, where we go over some tips and tricks you can try that will actually help you stay productive and focused in your busy student life.
Image Alt Attribute: MBA student Mehar Sindhu Batra in front of her accountant school in New Delhi, India
MBA student Mehar Sindhu Batra in front of her accountant school in New Delhi, India
Quick Tips for Future Accounting Students
Thinking about taking an accounting program in college or university, or pursuing an MBA degree? Even if you’ve graduated already, here are some great tips from Mehar for entering the accounting world.
● Get your basic concepts strong. Take the time to master the fundamentals of accounting because you are always going to need to rely on them.
● Understand how businesses operate. Even if you aren’t planning on taking a business program, anyone working with numbers should understand the basics of business because you will need to work with a business at some point in your career.
● Improve your communication skills. Accounting is a communication heavy field, and you’re always going to need to be able to foster good client relationships.
● Stay up to date with all the laws and regulations in your country of practice. You need to be able to keep yourself up to speed with news, changes, and industry regulations because your clients will rely on you for that.
● Don’t ever be afraid to reach out and ask for help. This goes for any student, in any course, at any time in your academic or professional career.
Mehar Sindhu Batra in a career professional portrait photo
The Best Way to Study, According to Mehar
Mehar knows the best way to study, and you’ll probably be surprised at the answer – there is no universal best way to study! It all comes down to figuring out your own studying and learning style.
Not every student is going to be productive early in the morning, and others might not feel as productive at night. For example, as a student, Mehar was most productive late at night from 11 pm to 3 am. So, she would do all of her work during that time and sleep late.
It’s all about building a system around what works for you personally. If you need silence to study, make yourself a quiet study zone or go to the library where no one will disturb you. Students who enjoy background noise while studying can go to the student centre, a coffee shop, or even the park.
Your learning style also plays a role here, too. Some students are visual learners, while others prefer more hands-on activities. Watching a video and then quizzing yourself afterward might be an effective approach for some, while others might prefer to review their notes and make flashcards. The key is figuring out what works for you.
If you need a little help getting your own study routine down, check out our ultimate guide to studying effectively for some great tips and tricks you can try out.
Moving to a New Country on Your Own
Moving from New Delhi, India to London, England was a big change for Mehar. She was an immigrant who had just moved to a new country, and was working with different people from different walks of life.
One of the biggest things that helped Mehar adjust to a completely new way of life was being confident in who she was and being vocal about her own experiences. At first, she suffered from imposter syndrome and thought that everyone in her classes were better than her. However, over time, she began to realize that her own individual experiences are different than her peers, and that is what makes her who she is. You should never feel shy about your own experiences, and always remember that this is your unique path in life.
Another thing that really helped Mehar was networking herself, both personally and professionally. She attended after school events to make new friends, reached out to people in her industry on LinkedIn, and worked with a career coach while she was completing her MBA. Joining community groups and attending events is a great way to make new connections when you’re studying in a completely new place, no matter how far away from home you are.
Are you thinking about making the switch and studying abroad, or maybe even taking a summer internship in a new country? No matter where or why you’re going, read our blog on studying abroad before you make those big decisions.
Advice For Students Learning English
Learning English as a second language is another thing Mehar knows from firsthand experience. Fortunately for her, she was already fluent in English when she moved to London because her high school offered courses in English.
Here are some helpful tips for learning English that Mehar shared with us based on her own experience mastering the language:
● Observe and make note of the phrases people are saying in conversations with you.
● Watch a lot of English shows, podcasts, YouTube videos, movies, and other forms of entertainment.
● Proofread everything you write to make sure you’re aware of any areas you could be struggling or leaving room for improvement.
● Practice as much as you can, as often as you can. Never stop practicing, even when you feel fluent.
● To avoid feeling overwhelmed, try learning one new vocabulary word a day and practicing that word. Use it in conversation as much as you can and try to add new words each day.
● Train your brain to think in English first by practicing phrases and words out loud to yourself until you’re comfortable not having to translate it from your mother tongue in your head.
Need some more help learning English? Our 1-on-1 English tutoring lessons will match you with a qualified, dedicated English tutor who will help you get a grasp on the language from the comfort of your home.
The Birth of MSB Vision
As we mentioned above, MSB Vision is the name of Mehar’s channel where she shares career advice and tips for students, graduates, and even career professionals.
It all began when Mehar started getting LinkedIn messages from young students who were asking questions about moving to a new country, taking an MBA program, and becoming an accountant. She saw that there was a huge community of students who were looking for help but didn’t have the right resources to get it.
Mehar realized she had an opportunity to provide the type of career mentorship that she was lacking in her younger years. She says, “That’s something I really craved when I was growing up, as in my early 20s. And I thought that, you know, why not create a platform to help other students and everybody can come together, talk about their failures, talk about their doubts, and everybody can support each other?”
With that, MSB Vision was born. Of course, it was a learning curve for her at first. Putting yourself out there on the internet can be a scary thing, and Mehar didn’t even tell any of her friends and family what she was doing at first. But once she did and she started to see all the positive comments coming through from people telling her how much she was helping them, there was no stopping her.
There are always going to be negative people out there trying to knock others down. Mehar says she learned how to build a wall to help her stop worrying about what other people were saying. She uses the positive comments to keep her going (without growing a huge ego), and tries to ignore the negative comments and not let them bother her.
Not everyone is going to love you, and that’s perfectly fine. But it’s important to remember that you should always be kind, no matter what. You never know what kind of struggle someone else is going through, and it will never hurt you to avoid negativity.
Career advice coach Mehar Sindhu Batra in a headshot in London, England
Mehar’s Career Advice for Graduating Students
With MSB Vision, Mehar shares tons of great advice, like communication tips, job interview tips, how to set professional goals, and so much more. Here are some of Mehar’s top tips and pieces of career advice for students who are looking to enter the job market, or who are already starting their job search.
● Reach out to people and build strong relationships. Mehar says that 85% of today’s jobs are found through networking. Talk to your professors, mentors, coworkers, and peers. You can use your networking skills to get references as well.
● Accept that your first job might be a miss. Your first career job is always going to be a hit or a miss, and most of the time it’ll be a stepping stone for something bigger and better. However, use the experience to figure out what you want to be doing with your life.
● Absorb as much as you can through work experiences. No matter what job you do, there is always something to learn or a skill to improve that will help you in your future.
● Don’t try to present yourself as a jack of all trades. Focus on the skills you know you’re really good at and make those your selling points. Building a niche you can excel in is a great way to succeed and stand out without overwhelming yourself. Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone – the world doesn’t work like that.
How to Spruce up Your Resume and Cover Letter For Job Hunting
On top of some excellent career advice, Mehar shared some additional tips you can use to help spruce up your resume and cover letter and make sure they’re ready to impress.
● Use your networking skills to connect with professionals. Then, take the keywords and phrases they feature on their LinkedIn profile or online resume and try to incorporate those on your own CV.
● Highlight your best skills, even if you feel they might be in a narrow niche.
● Always take advantage of your downtime. Listen to job hunting podcasts and read articles with CV tips you can use.
● Proofread everything at least twice. One small punctuation mistake can ruin your entire application.
If you’re having a bit of trouble getting your resume and/or cover letter in order, it never hurts to reach out and ask for professional help from a resume/cover letter service.
MBA student Mehar Sindhu Batra standing outside of the Imperial College Business School in London, England
Tips for Improving Your Communication Skills
One of the key pieces of career advice Mehar cannot stress enough is learning good communication skills. Good communication comes down to three main components: writing, speaking, and presenting yourself (body language).
Here are some of Mehar’s go-to communication tips for students, graduates, and everyone who wants to become a more effective conversationalist.
● Connect with people on a personal level. This helps you develop a relationship with someone that will make a stronger connection (and therefore, easier communication). Ask people how their day is going, how their work is going, and so on.
● Stand up straight when you’re talking to someone.
● Make eye contact. It doesn’t need to be harsh staring into someone’s eyes, but direct eye contact helps you focus on the person you’re speaking to and lets them know you’re paying attention to them.
● Smile! A smile can go a long way, especially in the professional world.
Transitioning From Student Mode to Professional Mode
Okay, so we’ve shared some of Mehar’s best career advice for landing that job. Now what do you do when you’re getting ready to start your first day and you realize you have no idea how to act properly in the workplace?
Listen and pay attention to the way that your senior peers and those above you are acting, behaving, and communicating in the workplace. Observe and absorb how they present themselves and make note of it. You don’t need to start copying your boss’ mannerisms, but try to make note of what makes them a professional authority.
Work on building your soft skills. Learn how to send a professional email, present yourself properly in the workplace and with clients, and speak appropriately. Those skills are always going to come in handy no matter how new to the industry you are.
When you’re starting out in the professional world, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can learn so many things from just striking up a conversation or approaching someone with more experience and asking them for advice. More often than not, people will be happy to help you and appreciate that you came to them. Find a mentor in your industry who can guide you and give you that help.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to go above and beyond, even if the job you’re at isn’t what you plan on doing forever. You never know when you’re going to need a reference, and when you do an amazing job that your company notices, the rewards will come.
Mehar Sindhu Batra showing a presentation through her MSB Vision initiative
When in Doubt, Just do Your Best
Growing up in India and having to decide her future early on in her life added a lot of stress to a young Mehar. She had to prepare for some of the toughest exams in grades 10 and 12, and she was constantly stressed thinking that they were going to make or break her life.
Try to enjoy the journey that you’re on and the moments you’re experiencing now. Yes, the future is important, but it’s also equally important to enjoy your life. “It’s ten, twelve years later and nobody asks about how much I scored in my 10th or 12th grade,” Mehar says.
Life is never just going to be uphill or downhill. It goes in all directions at any time, and the best thing you can do is work hard and do the best you can without putting too much pressure on yourself. You never know what’s going to happen in the future, so enjoy the good moments and the hurdles.
Mehar’s father used to tell her that setbacks are temporary. He would say, “It’s not going to be raining all the time. The sunshine will come and the hurricane will pass. So just keep going. And don’t lose faith.”
Keep trying and don’t give up even if you don’t succeed the first time. You can retake a course if you have to, or sit for the accountancy exam more than once if you don’t pass on the first try. Remember that your challenges and the tragedies you face are what shape your identity as a human, whether they are good or bad.
As Mehar says, “Do your best and leave up and leave the rest up to destiny, and your hard work will pay off.”
Mehar Sindhu Batra talking about her professional career goals
Listen to the Full Episode Now For Mehar’s Full Range of Career Advice, Tips, and More!
Want more career advice from Mehar? Curious about how she stays so driven and positive? You’ll have to tune in to Episode 19 of the Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast. She shared so many great tips and tidbits that you’re not going to want to miss.
Listen to the full interview here on Anchor.fm, or check us out on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Castbox, and Overcast. If listening isn’t your thing and you’d like to watch the interview, you can check it out on the Homework Help Show YouTube channel.
If you’re new to our show, there are over 250 episodes of the Homework Help Show podcast packed with stories from influential people like Mehar, tips and advice for everything from essay writing to learning English, and much more, so tune in now on your favourite streaming platform!
FULL TRANSCRIPT FROM OUR PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH MEHAR SINDHU BATRA BELOW
Mehar [00:00:02] It’s never going to be just uphill, it’s going to be up and downhill again. You have to deal with challenges and challenges are what grow you as a person.
Lesley [00:00:14] Hi, everyone, and welcome back to The Homework Help Show Student Influencers podcast. Today, I am joined by Mehar and it is lovely to have you here with us today.
Mehar [00:00:25] Thank you so much, Lesley. Thank you for having me and it’s such a honor to be here as a part of the podcast and your video series. I think what you’re doing for young students is so amazing.
Lesley [00:00:35] Thank you so much. So first, when we get started, we usually like to ask a few kind of get to know you questions just to kind of introduce who you are to our audience. So I know you already told me this, but where are you right now? Where are you currently located?
Mehar [00:00:54] So I’m from New Delhi, India. But I currently live in London, United Kingdom.
Lesley [00:00:59] Perfect. And where were you- you said you were born in India?
Mehar [00:01:04] Yes. So I was born and brought up in the capital of India, New Delhi, and I moved to London in 2016.
Lesley [00:01:12] Perfect. What school did you go to? Or, what university, college.
Mehar [00:01:17] So I studied in New Delhi. There was this- it’s a really big school called Delhi Public School. And then I did my undergraduation from Delhi University itself before I decided to do the chartered accountancy course and then move to London for my MBA.
Lesley [00:01:36] So is that what you majored in when you were in school before you took accounting?
Mehar [00:01:41] Yes. So in our high school, we have to choose either science focus subjects or business and commerce focused subjects. So at a very young age of 15, 16, you have to decide sort of your major for the rest of your life. So, yes, I was only 16 when I decided to get into the whole business and commerce fields. And then I did my graduation also in business and commerce majors. And then I decided to sit for the accountant- accountancy course, which is the chartered accountancy. It’s equivalent to the CPA in the United States. And ACC in Canada.
Lesley [00:02:22] That’s a pretty big deci- decision that you have to make at 15, 16 years old.
Mehar [00:02:27] Oh yeah. Yes, it really is. And, you know, it’s so- the competition is so intense in India because, you know, it’s so many students and less opportunities. So you’re always putting so much pressure on yourselves at a very young age to just over perform and do your best. And then it’s sort of once you’ve chosen your stream, you can’t really go back. Like, I can’t- I can’t be a business student at the age of- and then at the age of 18, decide to do an engineering degree. It’s not possible.
Lesley [00:02:55] Wow.
Mehar [00:02:55] So, yeah.
Lesley [00:02:57] That’s definitely a lot of pressure.
Mehar [00:02:58] It definitely is.
Lesley [00:02:59] Like, here’s what you’re doing. You’re stuck with this now.
Mehar [00:03:02] Yeah, definitely. Yeah.
Lesley [00:03:05] What do you do? So right now you’re working as an accountant?
Mehar [00:03:08] No. So now I’m a strategy consultant in London. I work for a boutique strategy consulting firm focusing on helping businesses and clients formulate and implement their business strategies. So I don’t really use a lot of accounting or finance in my day to day at all. But, of course, that whole- that whole education is a solid base for whatever I- whatever I help the clients with. It’s always a good foundation. And of course, what I did in the MBA, which is more strategic- strategy focused studying that comes into play almost on a day to day basis.
Lesley [00:03:48] I’m sure that’s also just a good thing to kind of have in your back pocket that knowing how to kind of work with the- work with finances and navigate all of that stuff, because I know that’s something that a lot of people, if you don’t have that training, it’s really hard to kind of develop those skills. And they’re very practical skills, so.
Mehar [00:04:08] Definitely, yes, you’re right. I think that kind of knowledge never goes to waste because you know how, you know, businesses prepare their financial statements. What effects- each decision they make affects their financial statements and their tax position. And even on a day to day person level, you are more, I think, able to save more, budget better, make day to day decisions a little bit better. But yeah. It comes handy.
Lesley [00:04:38] Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So now that you are kind of in your career position, what would some of your goals right now be like short term or long term goals?
Mehar [00:04:53] So I think- I’m a very goal oriented person, I think goals really motivate me to go- I mean, to get- to keep going toward bigger, so I set new goals every year. But I would say I think short term goals would be since I am working in London and I haven’t done consulting in London before this, like I have been working in my job for one and a half years. But it’s also getting to know how businesses work here, building stronger relationships with clients and big stakeholders and moving up the ladder and making the most of the opportunity. And, you know, that’s- the thing that I’m doing on the side, is creating content for students and goal- my biggest goal for that is to reach as many people and help more students, as many people as I can. So that’s a long term goal. But, yeah, I set short term goals to reach that big goal.
Lesley [00:05:49] That’s perfect.
Mehar [00:05:49] Yeah.
Lesley [00:05:50] That’s really good. I think that some- kind of sometimes I think the thing is that some people kind of get in that once they’ve graduated school and they kind of get into that kind of like their career position and they start working and stuff, they kind of- some people I think tend to forget to keep setting themselves goals. And they- they kind of lose track of like, OK, well, there’s still more to go from here, but- but I’m comfortable now, so I’m just gonna do this for a while. And they kind of lose that motivation I feel like.
Mehar [00:06:23] Yeah, definitely. I- and I think- I think if you make it sort of a game for yourself that you- you want to get to this position at the end of six months or one year or one and a half years, if it’s a promotion, if it’s a pay rise, if it’s, you know, building stronger relationships or maybe moving to another position within the same organization or starting something of your own or moving to another organization, it should always be leading towards something. Otherwise, it- it just falls flat. And then you don’t have that motivation to get out of bed every morning.
Lesley [00:06:54] Yeah. And you kind of lose that purpose of, like, why am I waking up every morning and doing this? Like, what am I doing all of this for?
Mehar [00:07:00] Yeah. What am I doing with my life?
Lesley [00:07:02] Yeah. I’m sure everybody questions that at some point, but at least the goals help you remember why- they give you the answer.
Mehar [00:07:10] Yeah. Definitely. And you know, I think everybody has bad days. Everybody has those days when they don’t know what they’re doing or where they’re heading. But then when you look at your goals, you open your notebook or you open your journal and then you remember, okay, this is what I had in my mind and this is what I’m working towards. And then just sort of helps you come back to the right path.
Lesley [00:07:30] Yeah. Kind of remember where you are.
Mehar [00:07:32] Yeah, exactly.
Lesley [00:07:34] I was going to ask what made you want to study to get into this field and to study accounting. But I guess it was kind of like a decision you kind of had to make when you were 15, 16.
Mehar [00:07:48] Yeah. Yeah, no. So actually, once you do take business related subjects there are still so many things you can do. I decided to take up the chartered accountancy course at the age of 19. I mean, there were so many other things I could do. I could have done economics. I could have done, you know, just business analytics, things like that. But I chose to do accounting was because I enjoyed the subject. And- and, you know, it is one of the toughest set of exams in India. And I, I just- it was sort of my dad who was like, why don’t you give a shot at this one? And I when I decided to do it, I didn’t think that it’s going to take me so many hours of studying. But it was just, you know, one of those things you do to prove yourself, where you’re just like, OK, I can do it. I don’t regret it. It was difficult. It was 16 papers and five years of studying, but I think it was well worth it.
Lesley [00:08:45] Yeah. Do you have any- kind of anything you learned along the way with this specific field that you could give as advice to other students who were maybe wanting to lean this way?
Mehar [00:08:57] I think anybody who’s trying to get into the field of accounting should just remember that just get your basics, basics, strong, basic concepts strong. And it’s also, I think as an accountant or anyone working with numbers, they really have to understand how businesses operate, because, like I said, all business decisions affect the financial course of the organization. So try and understand how whatever you’re doing or whatever your learning is affecting that and communicate. I think it’s- it’s also a very communication heavy field of work. It’s going to be a lot of relationship building if it’s with the client, if it’s with anyone in that same organization. So I think those skills you will need to develop fairly quickly.
Lesley [00:09:49] I think that- cause- that- I think that’s important because that communication aspect and the relationship building is something that I think people might not associate, like, traditionally with accounting and with financial fields like that, because you know that you have the stereotype of like an accountant, just like sitting in an office crunching numbers all day. And I thi- I feel like there is that big communication aspect. But I feel like maybe you don’t really think about that when you think of accounting or even any financial field or economics, really. So I think that’s important to know.
Mehar [00:10:28] Yeah, definitely. And it’s about the relationships and also the environment that the organization is working in. If it’s studying, you know, the trends in the industry or the market, the way the economy’s moving. There’s so many factors that affect the decisions of an organization. So I think learning all that is very interesting and also keeping up to date with the changes that are coming in laws and regulations. You have to keep yourself up to speed and read all these newsletters and notifications and on a regular basis. So just keep your information just like a doctor. You know, a doctor has to keep learning what’s happening in their fields. Similarly, an accountant or any tax consultant or anybody working in a very niche expertise field has to keep- stay aware of the market trends.
Lesley [00:11:15] Yes. Staying on top of all the news and updates that come out all the time. Yeah.
Mehar [00:11:19] Yeah, yeah.
Lesley [00:11:20] Does seem to be something that’s always changing. Like I even- I- I’m not in any financial field, but I even I see like all the time there’s a new update from, in Canada it’s the CRA or those agencies. It’s like new updates. It’s like, okay, what do I have to remember just to do my taxes?
Mehar [00:11:38] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. You have to keep up to speed. And if you don’t if you’re not good at it, you know, hire help or ask other people like don’t be shy of asking questions or just Googling something you don’t understand. There’s a YouTube video on everything now.
Lesley [00:11:54] Yeah, there’s a lot of info out there online too, I guess. But if you don’t understand numbers, it’s hard. Even when you Google, like I am not a numbers person. So sometimes I’ll try to Google something and I’m like, what is this? I can’t. I need help.
Mehar [00:12:13] Yeah. Yeah. And you shouldn’t be shy of taking help, right?
Lesley [00:12:17] Exactly. I’m fortunate because my mom is a bookkeeper and an accountant, so I just text her if I have questions. But that’s lucky.
Mehar [00:12:28] Yeah, it is.
Lesley [00:12:30] Another thing I know we kind of met you on originally on Instagram and on your social media you have all of these really, really nice travel photos, too. Is that a big passion in your life as well?
Mehar [00:12:43] Yes, it is a big passion in my life. So I have traveled to about 28 countries and I think that’s something that my parents always did, like they always took us on these nice holidays. And then when I moved to London, I made the most of being in Europe and I made sure I traveled around, visited the cities and countries I always wanted to. I think it’s the best way to use your money is to get new experiences and learn about a new place.
Lesley [00:13:14] Yeah, that’s that’s amazing. Were you able to do that a lot when you were in school or did you have to kind of buckle down on your studies and hold off?
Mehar [00:13:22] So I rewarded myself with holidays.
Lesley [00:13:25] Oh, perfect.
Mehar [00:13:25] I’d studied- I- I would study really hard before the exams. And once the exams were over I would make sure to go on a trip with my friends, even if it was within India or like to other Asian countries like Thailand or, you know, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Singapore, all of that. But when I was in Europe, yes. Again, the same. It’s so easy and not very expensive to travel from London to all these European places. So, yes, I would I would make sure that I had all my coursework on track. And then on the weekend, if we had no classes on Monday or Tuesday then I would take a long break- a long weekend off with my friends.
Lesley [00:14:00] I think that is the best kind of reward that you could give yourself. I mean, like some students, it’s like, okay, I’m gonna reward myself with, like, a night out or something, but I think that’s way more fulfilling.
Mehar [00:14:12] Yeah, definitely. It’s also exciting. You get to pack, and you know, decide your outfits and go out with your friends. So, yeah.
Lesley [00:14:19] And you get to just have all these new experiences and stuff and that- that traveling can give you a lot of those experiences that you would never have the opportunity to have otherwise. So I definitely agree with you.
Mehar [00:14:34] Yeah. Like the culture, the food and all of that.
Lesley [00:14:38] Yeah. Even just like the exploring and going to just like seeing how what life is like in a completely different country from your own is really incredible too.
Mehar [00:14:50] Yeah. Definitely.
Lesley [00:14:53] So, you said that earlier, that the accounting, the exams were some of the toughest exams.
Mehar [00:15:02] Yeah.
Lesley [00:15:03] So how did you kind of balance your workload when you were in school overall? Like, did you work part time as well? Or any extracurriculars or anything like that?
Mehar [00:15:15] Yes. I’ve always been into extracurriculars as a student. I would- there’s also about, of course, about schoolwork and all of that. But I also had- I went for dance classes. I went for singing classes. I used to go for tennis classes at one point. So, yeah, I just- I was used to always juggling multiple things. And I think because I did that since I was a young student, I was used to it. So, yes, I always tried to do more more than just classwork. I really liked to dance, and going for dance classes really gave me that whole energy and, you know, to go back and study again for the evening. But yeah, I think that break of doing other activities and incorporating those other activities in your daily timetable or maybe even just on the weekends is important.
Lesley [00:16:04] Mm hmm.
Mehar [00:16:05] And it’s also a nice place to meet other people, you know, who are not from your background. And who are not doing what you’re doing because you have a similar interest and then you meet people who have the same interests. And that’s always nice.
Lesley [00:16:19] Yeah, it’s probably a good- like doing an activity like dancing or even like a sport or anything like that is probably a really good way to kind of distress too, in the middle of all of- if you’re in, like, mid exam season or if you’re just under a lot of work or a lot of pressure from assignments and things like that, I’m sure that’s- that’s- it seems to be a pretty go-to way to kind of just re-.
Mehar [00:16:50] Recoop. Yeah.
Lesley [00:16:50] Yeah.
Mehar [00:16:51] Yeah, definitely. I agree that it’s a big stress buster.
Lesley [00:16:55] Yeah. For sure. Did you kind of have any- like, did you- I’m trying to think of how I wanted to word it. Did you develop any kind of, like, system on how to keep track of everything you were doing? Like did you have a time management routine or anything like that that you did or something that helped you?
Mehar [00:17:16] Yeah, definitely. I was I was always a very organized student, so I would wake up in the morning, make a list of things that I wanted to do during the day. Even if it was like a class or an extra class with the professor or an assignment that I had to work on, I would always make a list. And when I was just studying from home and I didn’t have any classes, I would always, you know, make like a very specific timetable. I knew that I’m going to study for, let’s say, four or five hours and I’m going to take a break for one or two hours for lunch and then again sit back. So I- I think it’s very important to keep a track of your time, because sometimes when you’re just studying on your desk, time just flies and there’s no point just sitting and not being productive. It’s very important to have a list of things that you want to do and get done through the day. And I think that that brain dump in the morning, when you just have all these thoughts in your head, you just write it down and then review it the night- at the night- at night before going to bed to make a list for the next day. It also- it used to motivate me a lot when I have clarity of what I have to get done. So, yes, I did. I did. I was pretty structured in my studying and managing my coursework.
Lesley [00:18:34] Yeah, I think that’s an important skill that not everyone ends up learning properly when they’re in school. But I think also it’s really important to have that structure because like you said, if you’re just sitting there, even if you decide you’re gonna have this long study session and you’re just sitting there but you’re not really doing that much, it’s really a big waste of time.
Mehar [00:18:56] Definitely. I think if you- if you can’t study, if you’re feeling distracted, if you’re feeling unproductive, just get up from your desk, take a break, go for a walk, listen to music, watch Netflix. And then when you’ve- when you- you know, I think everybody has those peak hours of performance during the day. So make the most out of that time when you’re feeling the most productive. For me, it was 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 AM. So I used to get the most done at that time and then I would sleep late, but then I would study until late. So I think it’s very important for each student to figure out when they work best and and then plan the day according to that- that time.
Lesley [00:19:32] Yeah, absolutely. Because not- some students, like, they’re the most productive when they wake up in the morning. Some students need a little time to get going. Some students are just not morning people. And so it’s- it’s hard to just say one specific thing because everyone is just so different.
Mehar [00:19:49] Yeah, definitely. I think that’s what you- you have to build your system around what works best for you. If you like to be working in a silent environment, then you have to make sure people if you’re living with people and there are people in your house at that time or you’re there asleep, but if you like noise, like a little bit of noise, you can go study in a cafe or in a coffee shop. You know, it’s different for everybody, but just try and figure out what works best for you and when are you are the most productive and then replicate it and do it again and again. And then make a routine for yourself.
Lesley [00:20:18] Yeah, definitely. That’s the best system for sure. Same with like- there are- people- everyone has different kind of learning techniques. So some people do better when they read things and some people do better when they listen to things. And understanding your own, your own habits and learning methods is also, I think, a really important part of all of that. Just so you know, like when you’re studying, oK, I’m not- I’m gonna read this, but I’m not going to remember any of it. So you may as well, you know, find a different tool to use for that instead to maximize your time.
Mehar [00:20:56] Yeah. Definitely. I think that I agree with that 100 percent. It takes time to figure out what like what you- what works best for you. Like for me, maybe it could be notetaking for some subjects. But the other subjects it could be watching a video and then quizzing myself afterwards, it’s very important to keep testing yourself and trying to remember what you learned a week ago or two weeks ago and keep revising it again and again.
Lesley [00:21:21] Yeah, definitely. What kind of life skills would you say that you learned when you were in university- when you were in school?
Mehar [00:21:33] So when- are we talking about MBA school or my undergraduation?
Lesley [00:21:37] Whichever- whichever you feel is more…
Mehar [00:21:40] OK. I didn’t. I think I learned the most during my MBA is because, you know, I was in a new environment. I was an immigrant in a new place. And at that time, it was learning about working with other people from other fields, people from other countries and learning from their experience. So I think being comfortable in who I am and being vocal about my experience is something that I learned during university. We shouldn’t feel shy of our experiences and not constantly compare ourselves with other people. I really suffered from imposter syndrome and I thought everybody in class was better than me. Whereas I think there are so many things that I have done which other people that hadn’t gotten. So it’s all about reminding yourself that you have been on a- on a- on a path, kind of on your own, on your own journey and speak up about the experience more often. And other than that, I think I really learned how to network. And I think it’s so important to keep it- like, to go on events either after school and or just add people on LinkedIn and have a conversation with them. I think that’s something that my career counselor at my MBA school in London that she taught me, she said, reach out to people. People want to help other people. So just network, go for events. Figure out what you want to do. Figure out what you don’t want to do after university. And then make a plan to apply for jobs and all of that. After that.
Lesley [00:23:04] Did you have kind of like- did you have to kind of do a transition period with going to a new country for school? Like, was there a little bit- how did you find adjusting to that?
Mehar [00:23:21] Yeah. Sorry, your voice was breaking a little bit.
Lesley [00:23:24] Oh, sorry.
Mehar [00:23:26] Yeah. I think for me, moving- so I- when I was applying for my MBA schools, I applied to six, seven countries around the world. But I always had this soft corner for London. And I always wanted you know, when I was growing up, I always wanted to live in London and work in London. So when I got to my- my MBA school, Imperial College, I was there was no second thoughts. I had to come and study in London. So because I came here and it was my dream, I- I really made the most of this opportunity. And, you know, it’s not- it’s not a- it’s not a very inexpensive course so I wanted to make the most of the money that had gone to the into the program going above and beyond. So I think adjusting was just in because luckily in India all our education is in English. So I didn’t have any- I didn’t have any communication problems as such. And- and the people here in England are very polite and very welcoming. I haven’t had any adjustment problems from from people. But yeah, it’s, of course, getting- getting used to their ways of working the way they speak. Every country has its own culture. So, you know, just adjusting to those little bits and bobs was- it was- that took time. And I’m still learning. I still try and absorb what people around me, how they speak, how they conduct themselves, how- how they present at meetings, how they deal with times. So, yeah, it’s it’s an ongoing learning curve. And I think you should just start learning as you move along your career.
Lesley [00:24:56] Right. Exactly. It’s- that’s fortunate that you were able to- you didn’t have any of those language barriers when you got there, because I know obviously a language barrier can be a really big hurdle for a lot of international students.
Mehar [00:25:11] Yeah, definitely. I mean, I understood English. I was good. I could speak in English. But of course, you know, there are some phrases that it takes time to get- getting used to. And I would still Google a few things, you know, what do they mean when they say this? But, yeah, it wasn’t as hard as it would be that if if I’d moved to France to do an MBA, for example, then it would take more time getting used to like speaking in French. And I know that all businesses in France communicate and in French because that- that’s their first language. So, yes, hats off to those who move to countries where there’s a different language altogether.
Lesley [00:25:47] It’s def- that’s definitely a tough situation too, like I have all respect for people who are able to do that because it’s hard.
Mehar [00:25:56] Yeah, definitely.
Lesley [00:25:58] So kind of circling back before when you mentioned your- your social media where you help students and can you kind of tell me a little bit about what you do there?
Mehar [00:26:12] Yes. So last year I had a little bit of free time. I was on a project and I would come home relatively early, which was like five o’clock. And I would think, you know, I had all these messages coming in on my LinkedIn account from young students who wanted to know about my career path and how I moved to another country, how I used my chartered accountancy degree to do an MBA, and then what I was doing now. And these were like a lot of kids and I was like, okay, these people need help. And, you know, that was the kind of mentorship that I really, really needed when I was young. And, you know, of course, your parents, your family, your family friends, they guide you a little bit. But the people who are not- I mean, they may not know what’s exactly going on in the industry they’re trying to get in or in the course of field of study you’re trying to get in. So that’s something I really craved when I was growing up, as in my in my early 20s. And I thought that, you know, why not use- why not create a platform to help other students and everybody can come together, share their, you know, talk about their failures, talk about their doubts, and everybody can support each other. And how I decided to do that was through my- through a YouTube channel. And it was very scary at first. Then I just made a video and I didn’t tell anybody about it, didn’t get any of my friends, I didn’t tell any of my family. I was shy to talk about it. But when I got- when I saw the response of how many people benefited from those videos, I’d get these long messages and, you know, emails and comments how my short videos were helping them. I just- it- that’s what kept me going and, you know, I wanted to talk about my failure. I wanted to talk about the moments that I had subbed out. And I had low confidence. And I just wanted to tell people that if I can do it, if other people around me have done it, you can do it, too. And I think that- when you’re like 17, 18, 19, 20, you don’t know where your life is heading and you’re just putting so much pressure on yourself. There’s so much competition and you just want to be the best. And- and if you look at someone who’s done it for five to 10 years, you can maybe learn a little bit from them.
Lesley [00:28:25] Yeah, it’s definitely- it’s a pretty scary thing to put yourself out there on the Internet. And especially with YouTube or even, I guess any social media in general, because there’s always like, that’s- you’re worried about, like, what are people in the comments going to say, or like what’s… You know, there’s always so much negativity, so it can be really scary to do that. So, I mean, not a lot of people can work up that inner courage to do that.
Mehar [00:28:58] Yeah, I agree. I agree with you. You know, I think- I didn’t luckily get too many negative comments. Yeah, but sometimes I do. And it really gets to me. And I just, I think you have to build a wall around you. You have to stop caring about what people say. So I now what I’ve done is I don’t take too much of the praises very seriously, but I don’t take any of the negative comments very seriously either. So if I stop, you know, just thinking about the positive comments and I sit on a bubble or sit on a cloud and oh my God, I’m the best, that’s not quite how it should work, because then a negative comment can come and, you know, act as a prick on that bubble or that cloud. So I don’t let any of the negative or positive comments affect me. They just help me. I just keep going and that’s what it helps me. It gives me a push. But that’s it then. I think you have to just stop caring what people say and do what you’re supposed to do. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to stop caring what people say and what…
Lesley [00:30:02] Yeah, that’s a big problem with the Internet. But I think that’s a good point of how just not listening to anything people are saying too. Because that is a really good point about how sometimes if you- if you let all of those positive comments and all of that really good, like all of the really strong feedback. Yeah. If you let all of that get to your head, that you can just end up in this really inflated sense of self that’s really, really easy to damage. And it’s really easy to- like one negative comment can really break that down. And it’s just that fall from that is really impactful or really damaging too.
Mehar [00:30:47] Yeah, definitely. And I’ve actually watched a lot of videos from other very influential people. People were putting their whole life on social media and they just say they don’t engage with any of the negative comments. Some people actually go on and delete each comment. But I’m just like it’s fine. It has to- whoever is one- doesn’t like your work, they’ll always be there, right? You can’t- everybody can’t love you. That’s how the world- we don’t like so many people ourselves, like we are so opinionated about other people. So that’s going to come back. And you just have to keep going. Do what matters to you. And you just keep going.
Lesley [00:31:24] Right. Exactly. I think that’s definitely something everyone, even if you’re not putting yourself out there on social media, I think that’s still something that everyone should probably keep in mind just in your regular life. And kind of thinking about that in that perspective of just not letting other people’s opinions get to you and just kind of doing yourself, but also at the same time not being too negative to other people, not trying to get to them.
Mehar [00:31:52] Yeah, definitely. I think- I think one of my favorite quotes has always been be kind. You know, someone you meet is fighting a harder battle and you don’t know what other people are going through. And I’ve actually seen that the strongest people could be going through Hell at home or Hell in their relationships or in their career or health. So it’s just we don’t know- we- we don’t know what other people are struggling with. Just the least we can do is just be neutral. Or if you don’t want to be over friendly or lie, just don’t be negative. That’s the least we can do.
Lesley [00:32:25] Yeah. Like, don’t contribute to a battle someone else is fighting because you don’t need to. It’s just unnecessary.
Mehar [00:32:32] Yeah. Yeah.
Lesley [00:32:33] Definitely. A lot of our, a lot of our listeners are students who are you know, they’re getting to that point where they’re graduating soon. And a lot of them, you know, when you’re in university, there’s not a lot of classes that really teach you like here’s what to do in a job interview and like, here’s what to do to look for jobs and stuff like that. So a lot of our listeners are kind of in that place where they’re going to- they’re about to start putting themselves out there in the job market. Do you have any kind of advice off the top of your head that you could share for those students listening?
Mehar [00:33:14] Yeah, definitely. I think so many things. I would just say reach out to people. Like I’ve said before, I was actually researching on one of my videos- for one of my videos, and it was a very interesting statistic. That is 85 percent of jobs are found through networking. And I think that’s so- that’s so- I mean, it- it’s under- it’s under- the value of networking is very much understated. And I think it’s all about building strong relationships, so go out there, meet your friends, meet your friends of friends. Talk to your professors, get recommendations from your professors and just- just hustle. I think the first job is just about hustling and talking about your experiences. Don’t be shy to talk about your story and highlight what you’ve done in a stronger way. I think sometimes we undervalue what we’ve done. So it’s all about talking about your experience, either getting help from a career counselor or talking to other students, or really identify the kind of roles you want to do and then reach out to those people on LinkedIn or see what they’ve done in their life and see how they’re talking about their experience and see how you can highlight those key phrases on your CV or on your resume. So, yeah, I think and I think the- the first job is always going to be either a hit or miss. And most cases it’s going to be a miss because first of all, you don’t know what you really want to do. And I truly feel the early 20s are to figure out what you don’t want to do versus what you want to do. Not everybody’s you know, not everybody decides that they want to be a doctor or an engineer at the age of 15, 16. Some people decide that later in life. And if you’re one of those who hasn’t decided yet, who doesn’t- still figuring out what they want to do, I think just absorb as much as you can in your first few jobs. You will have to start at the lowest level possible, but learn as much as you can. Listen to how your seniors are talking, how the people who are more experienced in the organization or more experienced than you are dealing with the situations. And really, really, I think it’s all about on the job training. And now the world is sort of moving towards giving more importance to work experience than the degrees we have. And I’ve actually seen that play out in the organization that I work for. So, and really, really build your soft skills in the beginning. It’s all about learning how to draft good emails, like presenting yourself properly. And just being- just putting yourself out there and making the most of the situation. And also, don’t be afraid to ask questions, I think. I didn’t do that in my first few jobs. I was just like, OK, they’re giving me a thing to do. I should just be perfect on it. I didn’t ask questions and I wish I did. Don’t be afraid. There’s no such thing as a stupid question just ask as much as you can, learn as much as you can when you’re starting out your career.
Lesley [00:36:25] Yeah, I think that- I mean, that’s all really good information. But I think going to those- speaking about the soft skills that you have to learn. I think that’s another thing, too, is because when you’re graduating from school and you have to immediately transition from that student life into like a working professional life, I feel like a lot of people kind of get lost in that transition because it is a pretty big transition. Like all of a sudden you have to start sending these professional emails and you have to start presenting yourself in a professional way. And I feel like it’s kind of just this immediate jump. Do you have any specific tips about making that kind of jump towards the, like, working professional life?
Mehar [00:37:11] I think once you- yeah. Once you’re done studying, firstly, enjoy that you’re not studying anymore. Like you’re done with studying, so celebrate. Other than that, I think like I said, it’s very important to observe what other people are doing, especially your seniors who have more experience than you. So really absorb, see what they’re doing. Well, what do you like about them? Also, I think in the first few years, it’s very important to seek mentorship. So maybe find someone in the organization who you really connect with and just request them to talk about their journey and ask them how you can build your skills or what more you could be doing to add value in the organization. So just, I think, go above and beyond and do more than that- what’s asked for. Because those years will sort of build a foundation for the rest of your career, even if you decide to go on a whole other path later, that experience will always be invaluable. So enjoy the experience of not being a student anymore. Save as much as you can is what I would say. Start a saving plan even if you’re not making too much money. But try and save 20, 30 percent of your salary and learn and seek mentorship as much as you can.
Lesley [00:38:25] Yeah, that’s definitely good points, I feel like too, one of the biggest differences that I’ve known- I noticed anyway, is when you’re in school, a lot of people, you get those people who are very they go above and beyond in school, like the one in the class that causes the class to stay another five minutes because they asked four more questions. And everyone’s like, oh, my God, they said this person. But when you and so that person kind of gets that stigma of being like, I don’t know, like a- well, brownnoser, whatever.
Mehar [00:38:59] Yeah.
Lesley [00:39:00] But when you go to that working life and when you- all of sudden you’re in a job that is- it completely flip flops and like there’s no longer instead of being like always like you’re that suck up like nerdy kid in the class, all of a sudden it’s like, oh, actually that I should be doing that. Maybe I should have been doing that this whole time because it’s just like flip flop. So all of a sudden that’s like what you’re supposed to be doing and that’s- it starts kind of becoming that person that you were just making fun of.
Mehar [00:39:35] Yeah, definitely. But Lesley, I would definitely say that there are going to be those kind of people in whatever job you do. So there will always be these outperformers and you know, who are just doing better than everybody else. And you always want to- you’ll always wonder how do they do it? Like, how are they so good at what they do? But I would just say, like, make make a little bit- make a space of your own and wherever you work and be known for one or two things and really highlight those skills and just work on those one or two skills that- that- that you enjoy and and make and become the go to person for those one or two things. It doesn’t have to be- you can’t be a jack-of-all-trades. You don’t have to be brilliant at everything. But if you- if you really focus on one or two things and build- speak about your experience and build a niche. I think that’s more fruitful than comparing yourself to the best employee or person who’s getting the best employee award every year.
Lesley [00:40:35] Yeah, definitely. And it also goes back to the whole not knowing- not knowing what’s happening behind the scenes and everyone’s life too. Like you don’t know what kind of things- like, if you’re comparing yourself to somebody else, like you don’t know what they’re doing. So you get like you don’t know how much extra they’re doing to kind of get where they are. And you can’t really just compare yourself like that because they’re in a completely different- even if it’s the same type of job, everyone is in a different position.
Mehar [00:41:05] Yeah, definitely. And there are some things that we are good at that we we could be helping the organization or our bosses with. So let’s work on those skills. If- it’s important to recognize what we’re good at and- and keep doing- for example, in my current job, everybody says that I’m really known for having a positive attitude. So I try and highlight that, like, if there is a deadline, I always say, okay, you know, we can do it, let’s work on it. So I may not be the most intelligent person, but I know that I will be the person who has the can-do attitude or who will build the team to work together and all those things. So I think just recognize what you’re good at and and really highlight that.
Lesley [00:41:47] Yeah, definitely. And instead of saying how can I be more like this person? Think of it more like, what can I offer that I’m good at or from my skill set instead?
Mehar [00:41:57] Yeah, definitely. Or- or just if there’s somebody you look up to like there’s this really great manager in my organization who presents really well. So I reached out and I said, how do you do it? Like, how do you presents so well? Give me some tips. And I’m actually gonna be catching up with him shortly and he’s going to, you know, just run me through the things he does before presenting at work. So I think it’s just about like learning and reaching out. People mostly want to help you.
Lesley [00:42:24] Yeah. And not being afraid to ask for that help or to reach out to someone and say, hey, can you share your insight with me?
Mehar [00:42:32] Yeah, that’s something I really struggle with. Now I’m finally comfortable with, you know, just reaching out and asking for help.
Lesley [00:42:38] Definitely. One of the other things, too, I noticed from looking at your- some of your YouTube videos was that you talked a lot about communication skills and, like, presenting type of skills, and we get a lot of people who ask us regularly about how they can improve their communication. Some of- sometimes it’s for- they’re learning how to communicate. They’re learning to speak English and communicating, or they’re learning how to communicate professionally in a job. Do you have any kind of like quick tidbits that you can share for improving your communication skills?
Mehar [00:43:23] Yeah, I think communication has a few aspects to it. Right. So one of them is, of course, written and other communication and then there is having to present ourselves- how we’re standing and how our body language. So I think it’s very important to take note of both of them. Just, you know, small things like we don’t even notice these things on a daily basis, but standing straight, you know, making soft eye contact, not very harsh eye contact, but also having a smile on your face, you know, like a smile can go a long way. And I think communication is so important when when you’re talking to somebody, it’s about connecting with them on a personal level also. Because if you develop that relationship with the person, it’ll be easier to communicate on a professional level. So ask them, like, how are they doing, how is their day going, how is that project going? Things like that. And then get to what you want to say. And for written and for the way of speaking or developing stronger English speaking skills. I would just say observe. Like, make notes of how people present themselves or how people look. You know, what are the phrases they’re using? I watch a lot of YouTube videos, so watch a lot of English shows, listen to a lot of podcasts if you’re going to work. If you’re traveling. Just just put on- you know, there’s so many podcasts on work tips, on CV tips. Listen to a podcast like this one. It’s really, like- listen, listen to what other people in the industry are doing and learn and make notes. I think the best way to teach yourself is from the environment. So just pick up on those skills and it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be perfect. Ten on ten from day one. But you pick those skills up. And another thing I would say, if you’re writing emails, I would say write once, but read twice. So make sure you’re, you know, like proofreading what you’re sending. It’s- a small punctuation mistake can change the whole meaning of an- of an email. So just make sure what you’re reading. Maybe if you’re not sure, reach out to another colleague who can read it for a read, read through it for you or, you know, help you sort of draft what you’re trying to say. So, again, like it’s observing others, it’s continuously practicing to it- to improve yourself.
Lesley [00:45:41] Definitely. Practice is key, I think, for any any skill you’re trying to learn. Practice is- if you don’t practice something, it’s never going to go anywhere.
Mehar [00:45:50] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Even if it’s like if you’re trying to improve your vocabulary, just learn one new word today and use that. Like, don’t just learn it and forget about it. Use it. So you have to keep keep doing it again and again. It’s all about repetition.
Lesley [00:46:04] Yeah. Especially when you learning a new language. If you stop practicing, it doesn’t matter how fluent you are, it’s- you’re gonna forget it.
Mehar [00:46:11] Yeah. Yeah. You have to keep practicing.
Lesley [00:46:14] And that’s- that’s what I tell a lot of the people, like we have a lot of followers in other countries and they’re always trying, they’re always asking about learning English. And that’s what I always say every time is don’t stop practicing. Just practice.
Mehar [00:46:31] Yeah, of course. And sometimes, you know, if you’re from another- if you’re from another country where English is not your first language, when you’re thinking of a sentence, you’re always going to think about it in your mother tongue. So in your own language. But try and phrase that sentence in English and say it out loud, even if it’s not to anyone else, just say it out loud to yourself just so your brain gets used to thinking in English, you know, and then that swap is easier.
Lesley [00:46:56] Thinking in English is actually something that I- someone asked me about that like recently within the last month or so, and I just kind of stopped and I was like, I’ve never thought about that before, about the fact that you have to actually- it’s one thing to be able to speak in English, but to actually train your brain to think in English. I was like, I didn’t even think about that. And then I just kind of like did- started doing all this research because it was just something that I’d never- like as a native English speaker, it had never crossed my mind. But I was like, yeah, yeah. It makes total sense.
Mehar [00:47:33] Yeah, it really does. So I actually speak three languages and Punjabi is the third language, it’s from where my family is. I know how to speak and listen in Punjabi, but my brain would not go and think in Punjabi. It’s always gonna be either Hindi or English. So, you know, it’s about remembering what your- so that’s what- I’m comfortable in English and Hindi, but I’m not that comfortable in Punjabi. So your brain goes back to thinking in the languages you’re comfortable. So challenge your brain to think in English is what I would say.
Lesley [00:48:02] Yeah, definitely. That’s definitely a big thing for sure. So I think that’s super helpful.
Mehar [00:48:10] Thank you.
Lesley [00:48:12] So kind of moving in a more- on a lighter note, what is one of your favourite memories from when you were in school, either undergrad or business school, whatever you want to choose.
Mehar [00:48:31] I think- I have so many memories. When you say memories, I just think of my friends.
Lesley [00:48:38] Yeah.
Mehar [00:48:38] But I think those are the best years of your life because you’re gonna meet some amazing people and those people are going to be in your life hopefully for a long time. And I would just say I think- I think my favorite- like, I was always- there was a very big hustle culture in my home because my parents were always like, okay, you shouldn’t be sitting idle, like do something, either study or practice an activity or, you know. So I was always trying to keep what- I was always very busy. So I think my favorite memories were, of course, learning so many great things in school and picking up these great skills from my professors and these case studies or practical examples. But I think it was the part that came after school, which was, you know, working in groups, working on projects, working with teams, learning about other people’s experiences. There’s just not one one memory. There’s just so many evenings spent studying with others, learning about them, going for events together. And just growing up together. So I think make the most of your university college experience, because it only comes once and you will always think back to them being the best days or craziest years of your life because you are doing so many things, but you’re loving each moment.
Lesley [00:50:05] And it will go by way faster than you ever expected and then one day you’re going to wake up and say what? Like, where did all my time go? Because that’s what happened to me.
Mehar [00:50:18] Really?
Lesley [00:50:19] I was like, this went by way too fast and now I have to, you know, become an adult. And it just like. But yeah. And another thing I think too, even to build on that, is those friendships are so important and they do always end up lasting a really long time, because I think one of the biggest things about going away to college, university, wherever- wherever you end up going, that’s the time that everyone’s kind of finding themselves at the same time. So the people that you kind of become in university, that’s when you’ve really hit that mark. So then when you make those friendships in that stage of your life, it’s a lot more like longer lasting because everyone’s just kind of coming into their own and they’re kind of settling on who they want to be.
Mehar [00:51:12] Yeah.
Lesley [00:51:13] And so I think that has a really good foundation for a lot of those lasting friendships. A lot of the time.
Mehar [00:51:20] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I think you have- you’ve been through the worst with those people when you’re struggling with classes and you’re figuring out what you want to do, you’re applying for jobs. And then when you’re- when those friendships last. You don’t have to talk to those people every day of your life after university. But whenever you meet them, it’s going to be like, you know, nothing’s changed. It’s the same. It’s an evergreen and everlasting friendship. So yeah, just keep in touch with them after university is what I would say.
Lesley [00:51:50] And it’s easier than ever now with the Internet to keep in touch with people. So there’s not really an excuse.
Mehar [00:51:59] Yeah. Unless you’re like on a social media detox or something.
Lesley [00:52:02] Or if you’re just like one of the one percent of people in the world who don’t have social media. I know you kind of already mentioned this, too, before, but one of the questions that we usually one of our kind of go to questions on our podcast is we always ask if you could go back and talk to your 15-year-old self, what would you tell yourself? And I know you kind of did already mentioned this, that you would tell yourself to stop listening to whatever- stop worrying- stop worrying about what everyone thinks. But what kind of what else- is there anything else you would say?
Mehar [00:52:36] Yeah. So I think as a 15-year-old in a country like India is- it is not easy because there’s so much competition. We have one of the toughest set of exams at the age of- in- after 10th grade and 12th grade. So, you know, there’s a lot of pressure to perform really well. And, you know, a lot of kids, you know, they- they really go through a journey of failure and self-doubt and they put a lot of pressure- unnecessary pressure on themselves. And I think I was one of those. I was just like, okay, this is going to make or break my life. And I just want to say it’s- it’s ten, twelve years later and nobody asks about how much I scored in my 10th or 12th grade. So if I could go back in time and talk to my 15-year-old self and I would just tell her that, you know, do your best and learn as much as you can, but don’t think that your life is dependent on what you want to do for the next two years. Just enjoy the journey- enjoy the last two years of high school and- and just like to learn as much as you can and then just be- life is gonna figure it’s own- its own path and it’s never going to be just uphill. It’s going to be up and downhill. You have to deal with challenges and challenges are what grow you as a person. So I would just say, relax, take it easy. Do your best and leave up and leave the rest up to destiny and your hard work will pay off.
Lesley [00:54:06] I think that’s really great. That’s really, you know, a lot of the times this kind of thing is so- is helpful, not even just for students to know, but for kind of everyone to think about, just kind of sit back and do your best and stop putting all that pressure on yourself, because that’s when everyone gets into those like spiraling out of control or they run into, like, a burnout or overstress themselves or overwork themselves, and it’s most of the time it’s really not necessary.
Mehar [00:54:37] Yeah, yeah, definitely. Because when you’re that young, you’re like, okay. No, I have to get into a good college, I have to get into a good university. And then that’s gonna make my life and you don’t even know what’s going to happen. Just take it easy and- and enjoy the process. Enjoy the hurdles. And I mean, it’s difficult but you’ll get through them is what I would say.
Lesley [00:55:00] Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And I know you kind of already did this as well, but we usually also get our guests to kind of share one of their favorite motivational quotes. And I know you already kind of did. But do you have any other kind of quotes you would like to share?
Mehar [00:55:19] I have so many of just quotes I love, but I’m going to just pick one or two. I think these are two quotes that were said to be me by my parents, especially when I was giving the chartered accountancy exams. And I- it’s- they’re not very easy to clear and it sometimes takes multiple attempts. And in those days, my parents just said two things to me. My mom said, try, try, try until you succeed. So keep going even when you don’t want to. And my dad said setbacks are temporary. So things that are a setback for you right now. They’re not going to- it’s not going to be raining all the time. The sunshine will come and the hurricane will pass. So just keep going. And don’t lose faith. Have- trust your vision, trust- you were meant to do great things and you will.
Lesley [00:56:12] That’s awesome. And super expir- inspiring. I think- I mean, I think that’s a really good kind of final note. A lot of what you have shared today has been really, really helpful. And I think especially because, like I said, we have a lot of students who are listening, who are about to graduate or they’re in maybe their final two years and they’re kind of getting a little nervous and not really sure. So I think a lot of that’s really important because they don’t just like- there’s no job interview class that you take in your final year and you kind of just are thrown out into this world, this world of- this working world. And it can be really scary. So I think that everything you’ve shared has been really helpful. Do you want to drop the name of your YouTube channel right now so we can put it- so people can follow you and check out your videos?
Mehar [00:57:10] Yes, thank you, Lesley. My YouTube channel’s name is Mehar Sindhu Batra. And like I said, I’m just trying to help as many students as I can. I- I just want to say one final thing to your students is I know it’s tough, but it gets better. Just reach out for a- look out for resources that would help you. You know, the Internet is full of great things now. So if you’re struggling with anything, just Google it. And there’s probably somebody who’s done done it already. So they’ll be happy to talk about the experience with you. Just reach out to people and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Lesley [00:57:49] Amazing. Definitely. And we’ll put a link- we’ll put a link to your channel as well in the description so that everyone can head over there. But yet it is- so any final insights that you want to share before we kind of say goodbye?
Mehar [00:58:07] I would just say- I would just say that just keep going and remember that your challenges and your tragedies build you as you go on- on your way. So don’t be- like, don’t be afraid to talk about it. If there’s anything that you’re struggling with, it’s OK. Everybody’s going through something. And if you do hit, if you do become successful and if you achieve all the milestones that you wanted to achieve for yourself, never forget where you come from. And, you know, it’s very important. And we sometimes forget that when we when you’re doing great things, we’re on like on this other- on a cloud nine. So, yeah, just- just remember, your roots is what- is what I think really keeps me grounded. And be grateful. Be grateful for your experience in everyday life.
Lesley [00:58:57] That’s important, too. Yeah. Amazing. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. We really appreciate you joining us on our podcast today.
Mehar [00:59:10] Thank you so much for having me, Lesley.
Lesley [00:59:12] And we really appreciate all the insights you’ve shared. It’s going to be super helpful. So we’re really looking forward to that. And we will definitely keep up with you in the future and keep checking out your videos.
Mehar [00:59:26] Definitely, Lesley. If you ever need me to help your students with anything please do reach out.
Lesley [00:59:32] Definitely. Thank you so much.
Mehar [00:59:34] Thank you. All the best.
Lesley [00:59:36] You too. Bye bye.