Anushka is a consultant with Rouse, supporting our ASEAN practice with her local IP expertise and project management skills. A member of our Indonesia team, she is currently based in Singapore.
Anushka comes from a family of lawyers and judges in Delhi, so it shouldn’t be at all surprising that she has ended up practising as a lawyer. But the path she took to get there was far from direct – and that has turned out to be a huge advantage.
When she was at school, Anushka’s parents directed her towards the sciences. Like many Indian parents at the time they thought the best career paths were to be found in Medicine or Engineering. Science subjects would not have been her preference, but she went along with it and she did well. When the time came to go to University, however, there was a long family discussion –her parents were still focusing on Medicine or Engineering, whereas Anushka’s preference, at that stage, was to study Commerce - although she didn’t have the appropriate background. In the end she opted to study Psychology, which had been an optional subject at school, and the only subject she had truly enjoyed. Apart from that, she was good with people and psychology as a profession was something she thought would play to her strengths.
During her time as a Psychology student at Delhi University she did internships with several NGOs including Fellowship programs providing assistance to people in rural areas of India. She would go out and talk to them and help develop ways to improve their life. Another was with the Salaam Baalak Trust, an organisation established to provide assistance to boys who were desperate and living on the street. Again, she would go out and talk to them and work with them to find ways to improve their life. It was a marvellous few years. She says that as a psychology student, you learn a lot about people – also about yourself.
By the time she graduated, however, Anushka had decided that, after all, she did not want to pursue Psychology as a profession. For one thing, the options seemed to her quite limited; for another, she feared she would become too involved in her clients’ problems. So, she started to think again - and she didn’t have to think twice: this time Law seemed the obvious path to follow.
Her first job after graduating was as a Judicial Law Clerk to a Supreme Court Judge in Delhi. It was a great opportunity, but certainly not easy. She worked seven days a week and not on just one area of the Law, but a wide range: whatever comes before the Judge, the Clerk has to work on. It’s a role where you have to work quickly and you have to deliver. It was challenging in every way, but Anushka now sees it as one of her best career experiences. After she had been at the Supreme Court for six months, she moved with the Judge to the National Green Tribunal, a special tribunal that had been recently established to handle disputes relating to environmental issues. She remained there for a year, before moving in-house with ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company in Mumbai, where she worked on both commercial and litigation matters.
She was enjoying the work and probably would have stayed with ICICI Lombard for more than a year, had it not been for the fact that during her time at the Supreme Court a colleague had introduced her to a friend of his, Pranav, and she and Pranav had decided to marry. As he was working back in Delhi, this meant a move back to Delhi. There, she was able to get another in-house position, this time with Bharti Infratel Ltd, a telecommunications infrastructure company.
Neither Anushka nor Pranav had any plan to leave India, but he is an actuary and the opportunities for actuaries in India are relatively limited – outside India, they are far greater. So when one of his senior colleagues who was working in Indonesia told him about the opportunities that existed there, he decided to apply for a position and he was successful.
Anushka was happy to move, even though it meant leaving her position with Bharti and not knowing what her next step might be. In fact, it turned out to be a great opportunity for her too. Soon after they arrived, she found that she could do an external Masters degree with the University of London: 16 papers to be completed in one to five years. She managed to complete the course in one year and immediately started looking for a job. Her first port of call was the British Chamber of Commerce and there she was told that an IP firm, Rouse, was looking for a lawyer. It turned out to be the perfect job for her. Her time at the Supreme Court, as well as her in-house experience, had given her the ability, and the confidence, to deal quickly and efficiently with a wide range of legal issues. In fact, she sees this as perhaps her greatest professional asset.
She and Pranav loved being in Indonesia and from the outset felt very much at home there. But in October of last year, for professional reasons, they moved to Singapore and are now settling in happily there as well.
It is often said that no experience in life is wasted, which is true, but only up to a point. It very much depends what you do with the experience. Anushka has certainly made the most of hers – her study of psychology, her Supreme Court and tribunal clerkships and her in-house experience, have equipped her perfectly for her current role.