Meet SWIB co-president, Tashrima Hossain

SWIB Blog Picture -- Tashrima.png

Think back, what led you to join SWIB?

I joined on a whim, I was in High School debate and it was a really male dominated and I think that was the first time I felt the effect of my gender so I was looking for some sort of female empowerment organisation and I saw the SWIB flyer in my dorm. I thought wow, this is really cool, so I interviewed and really enjoyed getting to meet everybody and just hearing about the kinds of work they were doing. There are so many skills in business that are applicable to any arena.

What are some unconventional skills that you've gained from SWIB?

Be very intentional about using my voice. When I first started college, I would only say something in a meeting if I thought it was purposeful, I still kind of struggle with that, but I’m learning more and more that it is important to speak all the time. Speak at the beginning of a meeting, speak throughout because people will perceive your credibility and level of knowledge about whatever the subject area is based on how verbal you are in the conversation. This has taught me the ability to speak even when I don’t necessarily need to.

What's changed most about you (professionally and personally) since your early years at Stanford?

I have started to focus more on what I think my particular path is. I came to college and was really confused as to what I want to do and so I was like maybe I should work in finance or consulting or tech or maybe I should study CS. Actually a friend recently told me that when I got into Stanford, I told them that I thought I would double major in International Relations and Computer Science, which is crazy now that I think about it. But I think as I have approached my Senior Year, I have gotten more thoughtful about the things that I don’t enjoy doing. Ultimately, I definitely see myself in the realm of impacting: civil impact litigation, and policy advocacy. Although, that is not as conventional or structured of a path, it is something I’m more excited to do.

#1 best experience/moment from SWIB.

My freshman year, I had a consulting interview and was really freaking out. I didn’t know what consulting is, this is so intimidating and all these things. I knew that one fo the presidents was starting at Bain. So I just emailed her one day and I was like Catherine, I’m really nervous, what do I do? She was in her senior spring and sat me down for like four hours on a Saturday just to go through her tips for interviewing and consulting interviews. Preparing for an interview wasn’t fun but the idea of having somebody who is a part of this organisation be so generous with their time and wisdom was unimaginable.

What was your personal journey in choosing your major?

The reason I chose International Relations is because I am very risk averse. Doing debate in high school, I think it really geared me towards thinking about foreign affairs so I applied as an IR major. When I started college, I just started taking all the classes and the sophomore year, when it came to declaring a major I was already half way done so I might as well declare IR. I think that the nice thing about that is it has given me more flexibility to take all sorts of classes after finishing the major so I’ve gotten to do what I thought I wanted to do but I’ve also gotten to dapple in a lot of other things.

What was your personal journey in choosing your industry of choice?

I’m working in finance for now. The way that it happened was actually at a SWIB event. We had a finance trek and we visited JP Morgan and I met this women who went to Stanford, was in SWIB and I just loved her. So I was like you’re doing this finance stuff, it might be interesting. I sent her my resume, went through the interview process. It started after my Sophomore year, and I did after my Junior year. It is definitely totally out of my ball park, finance is so hard for me, I can’t remember the equations or like pop stuff into excel but it has definitely taught me a lot about being able to use numbers to critically analyse and being very efficient and action oriented. Those are the kinds of skills I would like to develop in the next one to two years. It is something that I think could be very beneficial in the arenas of law or non-profit or government.

What did you wish you knew as a freshman?

One of the best things you get out of being at Stanford is just the people and unstructured time. You feel so much pressure to join clubs, and study for classes, and take 22 units and all of these things and always to grow. But I think that something that is really specific to Stanford and college that we won’t get after is the ability to really connect to people from so many different backgrounds. I wish that I knew I should just spend time not putting things into my calendar and I should have just hung around with people.

A few words of wisdom.

Be really thoughtful with everything you do. I think at Stanford we have this idea that in order to be successful you have to everything or you have to do everything that everybody tells you to but I remember talking to this guy on the phone one and I really admired his work in law and he said everything that you do in college will end up being one line on your resume so if it doesn’t give you any fulfilment there is no need to do it, it’s just not worth it. Be really really thoughtful about what gives you energy and spend time on those things.