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SFU Co-op Student

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Gateway of India Monument in Mumbai (Bombay)
Gateway of India Monument in Mumbai (Bombay)
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Adrian Pope on Getty Images
Versed in the native tongue, the student-gone-intern has little trouble conversing in Hindi with associates; however, giving instructions in English is at times problematic.

Born and raised in India until the age of 12, Sheena Rupani may be no stranger to the Mumbai scene. However, a return to the stomping grounds of her childhood finds her adapting to a niche altogether foreign. For in the world of Ogilvy Action, a marketing company with 49 offices in 40 countries, deadlines and pressure are taken in stride. “I have certainly learned how to work under pressure, as there is a lot of work to be done,” remarks the third year Communication major. Understandable, given the high profile of her employer. A respected network of brand experts, Ogilvy manages an A list of clients, including Coca-Cola, Motorola and Heineken.

Landing a position amid the skilled ranks of one of India’s forefront marketing firms for Rupani was a relative matter. That is, she happens to have a successful relative – her father - working within the advertising industry. Knowing that she desired an international co-op that would build upon the skills she had learned in her studies, the seasoned Communication undergrad employed those contacts which were necessary in order to find herself working on the campaign execution team at Ogilvy.

“I am in the team at Ogilvy that executes campaigns and performs follow-ups afterward. Ogilvy handles accounts for cities all over India, so I have to call up other branches and tell them about the new campaigns, and make sure they have executed them.” No small feat for a first co-op term, given the skills and connections that will be drawn from such hands on experience. Moreover, paramount to the effective execution of Rupani’s duties is clear cross-cultural communication. Versed in the native tongue, the student-gone-intern has little trouble conversing in Hindi with associates; however, giving instructions in English is at times problematic.

Despite potential issues with language, Rupani recommends that even those who lack a mastery of Hindi take the leap and work in India. “Bombay is a wonderful city,” she remarks. “It would be a different and unique experience for one to come and work here. I find that it was easier for me to adapt because I was born here, and I can speak the local language, but even if someone isn't familiar with the language, it would be a good experience.” For finance and convenience-sake, Rupani chose to dwell with her father in the city, rather than seek housing with the International Co-op department, which offers guidance in such endeavours.

For Rupani, downtime in Mumbai is as lively as work. A love of Indian food finds her becoming quite accustomed to the local fare, while a fondness for things foreign draws her to Chinese and Italian as well. For in Mumbai, similar to Vancouver, tastes of the globe are equally at home in the culinary districts. “Living in Mumbai is very different. Mumbai is very lively and vibrant, and home life starts at 10 pm.” Rupani also notes that her co-workers at Ogilvy are warm toward one another, a phenomenon which she contrasts to the British Columbian workplace, where in her view, workers are more reserved. As for being separated from her Canadian home province for an extended period of time, the co-op celebrity remarks, “I miss the peaceful environment in BC. Mumbai is a very fast paced and a vibrant city, there is always traffic and constant honking.”

As Rupani works away at Ogilvy Action in Mumbai, India, she is on the lookout for potential employers and positions for other eager international co-op hopefuls looking toward Asia for employment. Judging by her experience on the fast-paced marketing scene, such a position would cater to the portfolio as well as the stomach.

Beyond the Blog

  • Interested in working in India? Contact the International Co-op Coordinator, Amy Lee at icoop@sfu.ca for more details

SFU Co-op Student

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