“Pursuing Liberal education at FLAME was one of the best decisions I made because it offered me insights into a wide range of subjects and prepared me to be adaptable in my career,” says alumna Vrinda Chokhani. The BBA Finance student went on to do her Master of Science, Financial Management from the University of Warwick. After graduation, a career in Finance was in front of her, and she started as a Credit Risk Analyst with JP Morgan Chase & Co. But after a two-year stint with the top organization, she decided to chase her passion. Vrinda has been training as a Chef at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and aspires to “make the best French desserts this country has ever seen”.
How did her career take this sweet turn? We find out.
Vrinda’s parents own a bakery business in Gujarat, and growing up, she always found herself around cakes and loaves of bread. Though she was indirectly involved in the family business, her choice of education was taking her on a finance career path. Her time at FLAME was with four Fs – Finance, her new Family (or ‘Flamily’ as she calls it), Fun-filled memories, and once again, Food. “From kaki’s vada pav to paneer Wednesdays; yes, food was always around. I have so many lasting memories, including the DIP journey, which used to be quite intense then. I’d say it’s the time where you should not hold back, explore everything to the fullest and most importantly, make mistakes. They help you find yourself in amazing ways,” she says passionately.
The impact of liberal education
For Vrinda, the most important lesson during her time at FLAME was never to stop pursuing what you love. It’s a mantra that she seems to be following to date. Looking back, she feels that studying a wide array of subjects and getting hands-on experience not only helped her during her Master’s program but in her Finance career too. “While most students doing their Masters with me had understanding limited to their subjects, I could relate to many different topics. Similarly, the hands-on approach and out-of-the-box thinking at FLAME came in handy in my higher education and the job. We were always involved in so many activities on campus due to which efficient time management in my career came naturally to me,” she states.
Starting at the top of the Finance world
JP Morgan Chase & Co is a dream for anyone who wants a finance or banking industry career. Vrinda agrees and asserts that not only do you get to work with the best minds in the industry, but you also have one of the best working environments. “You also get tremendous global exposure, which opens many more doors for you. It is a challenging but enriching environment to work in. Working from home meant I was putting in 12 hours a day during the pandemic, especially since I had to work on European times. However, the decision to quit was solely based on wanting to change my career path,” she says. As we were stepping into the “new world”, she was gearing up for a foray into the world of culinary arts.
The iconic stage is set
Given her family background, Vrinda admits that working in the food industry came naturally to her. But when it came to studying the culinary arts, she set her eyes only on Le Cordon Bleu Paris because of her interest in French bakery and pastry items. After some hesitation filled with self-doubt about being accepted at the iconic institution, she sent off her application. And voilà; the coveted chef’s hat was hers. “I have to admit, going from a well-settled career to student life again was unsettling and overwhelming. The uncertainty was a little scary, but I was happy to know what I wanted to do with my life. I also knew if I didn’t do it now, I’d regret it later,” she says.
Now Vrinda aspires to spark joy in people’s lives with her creations and run a successful business in the future. Her training at the legendary institution and her finance background seem to be the perfect ingredients to whip up that recipe for success.