Vidhya Anand: Student Profile
At the end of the day, no matter what we’ve worked on, should you fail to tell a story about it, I believe it takes the life out of it.
With an unshakable interest in storytelling and a fierce desire to understand the dynamic of life around her, Vidhya Anand has recently found herself in the best of both worlds. The writer and MBA student in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business has been able to further explore her writing process through an independent study in Journalism with Professor Jenny Wohlfarth, and this narrative-loving business student seems to only just be getting started.
After receiving her bachelors in Visual Communications from Loyola College in Chennai, India, Vidhya went on to work multiple writing internships, eventually landing a full-time position as the head editor at a small lifestyle magazine in India. While there, she interviewed sports legends, artists, business leaders, and celebrities. “I believe I had some of my best starting years as a writer,” she reflects. “I had the opportunity to interview some amazing people... it was a glorious time. While I was still finding myself, I also truly loved the work I was doing.”
As her career in the writing world blossomed, she also craved new adventures. Vidhya made the decision to combine her love of writing with other interests, and she began pursuing marketing work. She joined Tata Innovation Labs (TCS), where she worked as the promotional writer and visual designer for projects revolving around robotics and AI. As she built upon her marketing and business experience, furthering her education seemed like the next step to take. After debating between graduate schools in the UK, New Zealand, and the United States, she soon decided on UC’s Lindner College of Business.
While a writing student deciding to pursue a graduate education in business is delightfully unexpected, Vidhya explains her decisions and beliefs beautifully. “I realized I wanted the best of both worlds. When I say that I mean that I knew I was creative, and I had this strong undying passion to write, but I also wanted to understand how businesses work. I’ve always believed that would give me a larger than life understanding of how the world runs. And it did.”
Soon she found herself swapping the familiarity of India for a new Ohio home. Vidhya moved to Cincinnati to pursue a master's in business administration. She secured a graduate assistantship with The Graduate School Office where she planned professional development events and created marketing strategies for their social media accounts. As she got deeper into her MBA, the craving for writing resurfaced—it never went away, graduate school just gets hectic—and Vidhya began an independent study in journalism with Professor Jenny Wohlfarth. “My advisor, Angie Cook, at Lindner College of Business, has always been supportive of personal student interests, allowing us to pick up courses and independent studies that vibe with our needs,” says Vidhya, “That’s how I got in touch with Professor Jenny Wolhfarth for a semester long independent study in journalism... Working with Jenny gave me the confidence and belief that I should keep writing.”
As Vidhya forged deeper into the fall semester of 2018, she continued with her journalism study, realizing the urge to create only becomes more prevalent with practice, and a new side project blossomed that’s now taken on a whole life of its own. This new project combines Vidhya’s love of writing, reaching others, and creating impact. She posts brief yet eloquent, Rupi Kaur-esque epigrams to her Instagram account (@i_vidyaanand), accompanied by her original artwork (sometimes collaborative artwork from DAAP student Arvind Sundar), and allows the world to interact with her art and poetry. It’s the kind of storytelling she’s always been interested in, and something that her business background now supports.
“The reason I started working on poetry and epigrams along with features during my study was because it’s important to also try and address social changes, responsibilities, and just the contemporary political climate across the world,” says Vidhya, “We are in perhaps one of the most transformative times in our cultural history. And, it’s a great time to write about that, to make art about that, to make movie and music about that.”
Her epigram Instagram series is titled “Metamorphosis” and depicts simple yet complicated emotions, the relatable and the everyday, but also the extraordinary. “Metamorphosis is a series that embraces and pokes everyday human emotions,” says Vidhya, “Specifically fleeting emotions and feelings—ones that shape us, but we fail to stop and ponder about—while simultaneously questioning our social standpoints in today’s world. As a 25-year-old, what better time to talk about change, because you’re also experiencing it.”
And what’s more, she feels her graduate education has enhanced her writing skills, as well as her ability to understand the world around her. “When it comes to writing,” Vidhya says, “I think it’s true when they say, it comes to you naturally—even when you’re not looking for it. Then one day, you jump on it, sharpen it, and let yourself grow with the right set of skills. Just like any creative area of work, be it theater, music, or art.
“I [have] this innate need to know and understand people's stories. Not just sympathize, but empathize... While I always like to think of myself as a writer, I’m also a marketer. I think both of them are entwined in one very important aspect of what runs the world—storytelling. It’s so important and crucial to tell stories. It could be about you as a person or a product you own. At the end of the day, no matter what we’ve worked on, should you fail to tell a story about it, I believe it takes the life out of it.
“On the other hand, I believe I have a lot to say—be it politics, culture, or how nations and people are changing—and my education has helped me say it well. As Sylvia Plath put it, ‘Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.’ For me, grad school has helped me become more consciously aware and have a keener perspective of the world.”
Follow Vidhya’s poetry and artwork on Instagram, at @i_vidyaanand.
Written by Danniah Daher