Twenty-two year old Anand Masagalla from a village in Vikarabad feels like he is dreaming after being shortlisted among the top 40 applicants for the Harvard Summer Crossroads Programme. He has been selected from a pool of 2,500 candidates in the open competition at the Asia level. Coming from an underprivileged background, where his parents are agricultural workers, Anand feels that this is just a first in his list of achievements.
Talking about the challenges he has faced to come this far, Anand says, “For my father it was difficult to make both ends meet but he did everything he could to provide education for his children. I studied at Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Society in Chilkur. And after completing my intermediate at the Residential Welfare Society, I was attracted towards the field of commerce and business studies.”
Describing the selection process for the Harvard programme, he says, “It’s sheer luck apart from my hard work that I got shortlisted. All the applicants were asked to write an essay on a given topic initially. Then we had to give a presentation and appear for a personal interview on Skype. The whole process took around 20 days.”
Anand adds that this programme is one of its kind as it is exclusively conducted for students from the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and Africa, who may be facing challenging financial and social circumstances and are the first ones in their families to attend college.
“Initially, I was not aware about the programme; it was my teacher at school who pushed me to apply for it. I will first be heading to Dubai next month for a ten-day course and later on, for the full-fledged five year integrated BBM and MBA programme, I will be going to the Harvard campus in the US. Who could have imagined such a 360 degree change in life,” he says.
Anand is keen to pursue his MBA and help people like him realise their dreams. “God has helped me get education and recognition and now it is my turn to give back. As soon as I finish my studies, I will look into ways of helping others who come from a similar background and have the talent to excel,” he says.