Monica Shrivastava says her biggest strength is her ability to empathise with and align the interests of all the stakeholders. “My work depends on the relationships that I build. I believe women have the emotional intelligence that enables them to communicate and align everyone to a singular mission. This is a great skill for any product manager, and I think that is being recognised today,” says Monica.
Currently, the Director of Product Management at BYJU’S, Monica is responsible for overseeing the much-loved Disney. BYJU’S Early Learn product. Explaining what her role entails, she says, “I manage the product not just in India but in the United States too. I ensure that our learners — young children — have the best possible learning experience.”
Read all about Monica’s career roadmap and how she’s redefining tech leadership at BYJU’S in this International Women’s Day special edition of People Who Make BYJU’S.
Monica’s path to BYJU’S
After graduating, Monica started working as a software engineer at a tech company. She considers the three years that she spent there, as some of her most valuable years. “I learned patience and resilience. For three years, I would just write code and even though it was repetitive, I could see myself improving. The experience inculcated this desire to strive for excellence,” recalls Monica.
But Monica wanted to learn more, and this desire prompted her to pursue an MBA. The course eventually became the stepping stone for a career in consulting and travelling to places like the United States and Japan. “During my years as a consultant, I learned everything I needed to know about managing people. It also taught me great work ethics and enabled me to take charge as a leader,” she shares.
Like any good story, though, Monica’s journey has also had its share of ups and downs. “I was handling the assembly line of a factory, with a team comprising male factory workers,” she tells us. “That was perhaps the most challenging time in my career as I knew very little about running an assembly line. I had spent a few years as a consultant, where I learnt so much but managing assembly line workers was a different ballgame altogether,” recalls Monica.
However, this experience taught her one important lesson — a setback doesn’t mean complete failure. “As women, we feel the need to prove ourselves. We feel that we have to go the extra mile to make ourselves noticed and heard. But that’s not always the case,” she says.
“When I moved on to e-commerce, I was able to harness my strengths and develop a customer-first approach. My experience also taught me how to build and manage products that are used by millions and that has been consolidated and reinforced during my experience at BYJU’S,” she adds.
Developing customer obsession
Besides customer impact, Monica says she enjoys the dynamic pace and environment in which BYJUites collaborate and create products, powering the education of millions. “The ability to clear roadblocks when an idea has to be brought to life is admirable at BYJU’S. Since our products are disruptive and don’t have any predecessor, you get to be your innovative best,” she says, “Anybody can pitch in their ideas and this brings in a very diverse perspective.”
“With BYJU’S, I am a customer at the same time,” adds Monica, “When I see my daughter use the products I’ve helped design, no amount of joy can equal that. That we are improving the learning of children, shaping up their lives at an impressionable age is highly rewarding.”
Being a friend and mentor
It is this wholesome experience that also enables Monica to inspire and empower her team members. “It is important to let individuals, especially women, decide for themselves, find their own path,” she says. “I try to be a friend, mentor and cheerleader to the people in my team and support them beyond work. I feel they should be comfortable enough to connect with me,” says Monica, adding, “As women, it is our duty to uplift each other.”
This means, donning the mentor’s hat now and then to women who are interested in pursuing a career in tech. “Don’t look at tech roles as something binary,” says Monica. “Look at this field as one that solves problems. To be successful here, you need to be analytical, objective and data-driven, and these are the qualities that I see in abundance in young women joining STEM fields today. And what’s missing — for that you always have us to guide and mentor at every step of your career at BYJU’S.”
Bidushi took a left turn from journalism and landed up in the corporate world. She is a foodie and considers eating good food amongst the greatest joys of life. Keen on travelling and exploring new places, Bidushi has spent the last four years of her life in three different Indian cities. But she has also learned that her bedroom is her happy place. Screens relax her greatly — whether it's watching a movie or a TV show or reading a riveting bestseller on her e-reader. A cheerful person, she prides herself on making friends easily. When not working, Bidushi can be found spending time with her parents, talking to her friends over a call, or browsing the internet for that one lipstick!
Arya C is a 4th grader who talks about her transition from the US to India and how BYJU`S has helped her at that. She also loves how BYJU`S has made learning a lot more fun.
Meet Sourabh who has a ton to say about his BYJU`S learning experience. His love for quizzes, games and other fun activities are paying off!
V Shriya is a class eight student who has been using BYJU’S for a year now. She shares her experiences with using the app and how it has helped her in improving her academic performance.