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Impacting sustainability in India as a Brunel graduate

Rushva Parihar

One of my best memories of studying at Brunel has been interacting and learning from inspiring young people who are fellow students at Brunel

Rushva, Alumni

Founder and CEO, YWater

Management MSc - 2015

From India

Tell us about your career journey since you graduated…

I work as a sustainability consultant in India. My company – Ywater - works with private sector companies to plan and execute their CSR programs. The programs developed tackle health and sanitation issues impacting over 3000 people in rural India. We also work to make young people the agents of change and have developed over 23 start-ups that tackle the sustainable goals in India. I also work to bring policy change by representing youth voices at the National Level and at the international level at the ECOSOC Youth Forum at the UN headquarters in New York.

What does an average day at work involve for you?

I have no typical day. I work across many sectors which makes every day unique. I could be working in a corporate office with companies in Mumbai, where I manage two CSR departments independently. I also work with the public sector which often involves traveling to smaller towns and meeting with local government to develop waste management plans. However, I have a daily check in with my team leaders in the villages on the execution progress of the CSR programs. Over the weekends, I mentor start-ups to help them grow and solve issues around water and sanitation in India.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

The biggest highlights have been the opportunity to speak and interact with so many young people. I am able to listen to their thoughts and ideas and help bring some of them to fruition. We have managed to start over 20 start-ups that tackle different aspects of SDG 6 in India. I have also had the privilege of representing these youth voices at the ECOSOC Youth Forum and at the Youth Assembly at the UN. I have also been selected as a Sustainable Development Goal Talent for UNLEASH Lab 2017 and have also given a TEDx talk.

How would you say Brunel helped you to get where you are today?

Brunel helped me the basis of running a business which has been key to my work. I also learnt the skill of entrepreneurship and executing projects from my time at Brunel. Furthermore, my interest in social development has also been a result of my time at Brunel. It was here that I learnt the art of academic research and writing that has been instrumental in guiding my work to ensure it is always up to date. I have also contributed to a book chapter on sustainable development based on my research with my co-authors.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

I chose Brunel to give me a grounded understanding in the field of business and to hone my skills as a manager which is critical to any sector you want to work in. I choose to do a Masters in Management with a specialisation in Marketing and Branding - while this sounds like a very corporate degree, it has helped me get the skills that are typically associated with the private sector and apply them to the development sector.

What is your best memory of studying here?

One of my best memories of studying at Brunel has been interacting and learning from inspiring young people who are fellow students at Brunel. Every class had a lot of discussions where we got to learn from each other. I also remember that the professors were very encouraging and, having worked in the private sector, they were able to share some very interesting case studies with us during the classes which were a great learning experience.

If you could give one piece of advice to new students, what would that be?

My advice is to participate fully in the classes. It is easy to get carried away but there is much to learn by being actively involved. I would also advise being active in the student community with the local elections and various committees. I was part of the LGBT peer support network and it was a very rewarding experience.

What would be your top tip or advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey?

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given is to never stop learning. Even if university is now over, don’t stop learning. Apply the skills you have learnt to the real world and nothing will be impossible. If you are starting a new venture on your own, my advice to you is to never give up.