Aastha Agarwal is an all-rounder with experience of being both an IITian and IIMer. She has explored her diverse interests in music, dance, art, speech and even swimming, and has one of the most amazing academic backgrounds! She is a great example of an “ideal student” having big dreams & goals to achieve! She is also passionate about social work and mentoring people using her skill-set. 

Let us see how she bagged the prestigious Aditya Birla Scholarship!


1. Can you describe the application process?

Unlike other scholarships where direct entries are allowed, one can’t apply directly for ABGS – the candidature is considered only through the Dean of eligible institutes. It’s a grueling 3-tier filter! 

  • The first step is to achieve a Top 20 rank in the specific institute based entrance exam ranking at the time of admission. 
  • The second step involves filling out a long application form (essays + key achievements). 
  • The third step entails the shortlisted students (<=5/20 per institute) traveling to Mumbai for interviews.

Moreover, for the retention of the title, there is a yearly reassessment until the completion of the course!

For comprehensive details, please refer to the website – http://www.adityabirlascholars.net

2. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

A graduate from IIT Delhi and IIM Lucknow, I’ve worked for a year in the Financial Services space with J.P. Morgan, and I’m currently working with Goldman Sachs. On the personal front, I am a gallivanter, a philozoic and an aesthete with a keen interest in mentoring and social service. My upbringing has instilled in me strong values, the quality to endure hardships with fortitude & strive for excellence which serve as the cornerstones of my life.

3. Major accomplishments

No exaggeration, but I do have a long list! 

My LinkedIn profile would be an apt reflection of this.

4. Why do you think you were selected?

I was 1 of 16 students from top B-schools across the country to be awarded for academic excellence, leadership, and extracurricular activities. I was also the sole recipient from the entire batch at IIML. But I strongly feel that it would be wrong to think about the reason for my selection as there are plenty of factors at play.

5. Any failures or rejections?

I’ve had my fair share of failures and rejections. It’s like consuming cod liver oil – they say it’s good for you and you know they’re right, but it can still be a tough pill to swallow!

6. Can you tell us a bit about your experience? 

It was both exhilarating and intimidating until 22-Sept-2018 i.e. the day of my interview with the who’s who of the corporate world including Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya (Former Chairperson, State Bank of India), Mr. Noshir Kaka (Managing Director, McKinsey & Company), Ms. Renuka Ramnath (Founder, MD, and CEO at Multiples Alternate Asset Management), Ms. Sukanya Kripalu (Director, Sukanya Consulting), Dr. Pragnya Ram (ABG Group Executive President – Corporate Communications & CSR).

In hindsight, going through the entire rigmarole turned out to be extremely gratifying, especially when I saw the full-page coverage in the National Daily dated 01-Oct-2018, dedicated to the ABG Scholar Batch of 2018.

7. Any advice you would like to give future applicants?

Be perseverant and resilient – this coveted award was a culmination of my 23-year old life’s worth of achievements! And I don’t want to risk my advice sounding like the prose of a scientific journal, so I’ll quote one of my favorite movie dialogues that inspires me to be myself: 

“It’s not who we are underneath but what we do that defines us.” 

The Batman Trilogy

Can you feel the rush of adrenaline after reading this interview article? Use that as the motivation and inspiration to work hard to achieve your dreams and ambitions. 

Scholarship Track wishes all the readers the very best for their future endeavors and plans! Keep reading our blog to find other interesting stories, tips, and more!

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