Divya Anne Joseph

Dream On...

A passionate traveler/reader, and an ardent believer of equal opportunities for all, Divya strives to work on meaningful projects that are meant to transform lives for better.

Born into an upper middle class Christian family in Kerala, my life path was more or less set the moment I was born. As a child, I was reminded of my life mission every now and then. I was to be convent educated and as soon as I am done with my graduation it would be time for me to settle down with the perfect man my dad would find for me. I would only be expected to work until the time I get married or maybe if the husband allows, I could work until I have my first baby.
Here goes my story...

AGE - 6
The day when my younger sister was born (at the hospital).
The nurse comes out of the labor room and tells my dad, ‘It’s a baby girl’!
And comes a comment from a relative. Oh another girl?!

AGE - 17
93% in Standard 10. Distinction in 12th.
Considering college options
Dad to Me “Don’t tell me you want to do literature! That too in Oxford! You are a girl! How can I let you go to another country? After all I will have to marry you off very soon! You have a score for the engineering entrance exams. You can easily get a seat in merit. You like computers. Why don’t you study computer science? It is the best engineering degree a girl can take.”

AGE – 22
College of Engineering, Munnar - When I got campus placement at a major IT MNC in India,
A classmate to another - “Yeah, Divya is just ‘hardworking’. Not sure what software development she will do. Girls are usually good at by-hearting things. I don’t think any girl can code!”

AGE – 23 -A major IT MNC in India
Manager to Me - “Are you sure you want to code? Girls in the team mostly do testing”

Marriage

Dad to Me. “Now that you have spent one year at work, I think it is high time we got you married. I already had my first heart attack. Can’t imagine leaving the world without knowing there is a man to take care of you. You have to say yes. I have found this very nice boy through my contacts. I want you to come home and meet this boy.”

Me – “Dad but I want to do my MBA. Why don’t you spend the money you saved for my marriage on getting me educated”

Dad – “Do your MBA and do what? Where will I find a boy for you after you complete MBA? I also don’t want you to go around and find someone for yourself and bring shame to the family. You are already 24. When else do you want to get married?!”

Feb 2nd 2008
After a tedious search my father was successful in finding someone who also had this principle that he will not take any dowry.

Sept 15 2010
A son was born, both families were ecstatic! It was, after all a boy!
Sept 2011
My mum who was taking care of my baby, had a heart attack. I had two choices send my son to a daycare or quit. I decided to quit. Because at that point, I did not think my baby was ready to be in the care of another person.
MBA
Jan 2014
Me- “Dad I have an admission from CEIBS for MBA”.
Dad- “Really! How did this happen. How can they give you an admission?! And how are you going to manage the finances”
Me – “May be a loan from a bank”
Dad- “Naah, I still have all the money that I saved up for your wedding. You can have that. But are you sure investing in your education is a good idea. Why don’t you buy an apartment? It is immediate return on investment. I am not sure if anyone is going to employ you after you finish the course. Anyway, I can give you the money, and you can do whatever you want. Though in my opinion, buying an apartment is a less risky option”.
I took the risk and decided to invest in myself. Joined CEIBS in Aug 2014.

A Dream Job
May 2016
Interview with a Well Known Indian IT MNC
Interviewer – “So I see you have taken a big break in career!”
Me- “Yes because I decided to be at home to take care of my child”
Interviewer –“Your profile looks impressive but I wonder if we want to make this expensive hire for this position for Business Development. Why don’t you join our pre-sales team? It is less work and you don’t have to travel”
Me- “I don’t think I would be happy doing pre-sales.”
Interviewer – “Not sure if our business needs are aligned here”.
The same thing repeated at a few other places. I could not help but wonder what my father said about investing in an apartment. Maybe he was right, I thought.

June 2016
Joined Alibaba in their International Business Development Department.

Dreaming On
From being told that I will have to be a stay-at-home-mom to be able to drive the business decisions for a multinational firm, I have come a long way. However I am not done dreaming. If all goes well, I hope to pursue a PHD in theoretical economics. Dream On…


Back to top

Read More