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To Choose or Not to: An Insider’s Perspective on Selecting Undergraduate Programmes in India

In recent years, Ashoka University has seen a rise in enrollment, with students recognising the value of a liberal education in India. One such student, Dakshin Vinod, values Ashoka's interdisciplinary approach and the flexibility it offers in choosing courses

In an academic space congested with students choosing to obtain an education from Ivy League institutions and universities abroad, Ashoka University stands out as a competent runner in the sphere of academically rigorous modules and qualitative education. In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the enrollment of students to liberal institutions like Ashoka University. Individuals are gradually recognising the value-added benefits of pursuing a higher education in the Indian context. Steering away from a conventional foreign education trajectory, students are more inclined towards progressive and immersive pedagogical structures in India. Dakshin Vinod, from the undergraduate cohort of 2025, He is one such student who decided to pursue an interdisciplinary major in Economics and Finance, along with a potential minor in Computer Science.

He started working early on and has worked and led projects at multiple startups in the Indian and US ecosystems, learning and seeing impact. Presently, he is working with a venture capitalist firm, Antler, the largest early-stage investor outside Silicon Valley.

Hailing from the state of Kerala in India, Dakshin’s intrinsic nature as an individual to look at something from multiple different lenses is what drew him to Ashoka. When asked about his opinion on specific courses that appealed to him, he responded, “The UG programme, in general, giving you breadth of information is what I have loved so far. FCs (Foundation Courses), though they can get taxing if not in your area of interest, have given me a lot of perspective into subjects, people and how they work together.” Dakshin has embraced an ardent passion for economics and finance since the beginning. He has always made himself consider things from multidisciplinary viewpoints and come to a better, more equitable conclusion. Ashoka has added to it by giving him the flexibility to take and learn a breadth of subjects based on his interests, yet ensuring that his core interests remain undiluted and sharply in focus. A major criterion for selecting Ashoka University over other universities abroad was the immense potential he observed in the academic expanse of India. “It is a developing country. There is room for experimentation, growth and issues to solve. I would love to live and travel across the world in a few years, but I wanted to be a part of India and experience it in real time, at least in the early stages of my life. Every challenge it presents is an opportunity, an uncharted territory to pioneer. It is rich and diverse, so it offers complexities that, when navigated rightly, can lead to groundbreaking innovations,” says the determined entrepreneurial whizz when asked about the factors that played an integral role in choosing an exemplary institution like Ashoka University.

The aspiring Eco-Fin student also emphasised his attempts to become an active participant in sculpting the India of tomorrow and trying not to throw away any chance to build and transform its landscape. He is sure he will do it someday, and it is a promise he has made to himself. When considering an education abroad, it is indubitably crucial to review its costs and affordability. Having kept that in mind, Dakshin was of the firm opinion that the cost of an undergraduate education abroad did not make sense in terms of ROI (return on investment) or value addition. While high costs can sometimes denote value, he deduced that the true merit of education lies in its resonance with one’s evolving journey. He is certain that he has found it right here.

Something aspiring undergraduate students fail to recognise is that the most profound educational opportunities, more often than not, are found right at our doorstep. For Dakshin, choosing Ashoka was less about the geography and more about the alignment with his vision. In essence, it was not merely a choice of a university but a conscious decision towards a more personalised yet fulfilling educational experience.

Before concluding the productive interaction with the venture capitalist, Dakshin stoutly attributed Ashoka University’s ability to nurture a personal and cultural route, allowing him a deeper connection to the nuances of this place. Despite having moments of doubt comparing Ashoka to global universities, primarily around global exposure, he bridged this by actively engaging in international collaborations personally and leveraging Ashoka’s diverse community and network. Being an ardent believer in reflection and introspection, Dakshin greatly believes in the power of what narrative one may wish to craft for oneself.

“Will it be one of distant adventures or early experiences and discoveries closer to home? You are growing and constantly changing. Prioritise alignment with your deeper likings, and go with the flow. Know that you have a whole life ahead. You can make mistakes; there is more than enough room for it. Remember, it is not about where the classroom is, but the experiences and insights you glean within. Make the choice that lets you see with those new eyes and you feel is right for you,” said Dakshin with hints of pride and fulfilment in his voice while holding his morning cup of coffee and heading for his 10:10 AM lecture.


(Written by Ahana Walanju, a Political Science major from the undergraduate batch of 2025 at Ashoka University)

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