Khushboo Priyadarshini graduated from Pune University in 2010. Thereafter she pursued an LL.M from National Law Institute University, Bhopal. After pursuing Masters, she joined Marathwada Mitramandal’s Shankarrao Chavan Law College, Pune afiliated to Pune University as a Lecturer. Later , she switched over to SBI General Insurance Co.Ltd.
We asked her to share her experience while pursuing an LL.M from NLIU, work experience as a Lecturer and appointment at SBI General Insurance Co.Ltd.
How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
I am a law student. No, it’s not that I am still pursuing a degree… I completed my graduation from University of Pune and obtained Masters Degree from National Law Institute University, Bhopal. As of now, I am working as a legal executive with State Bank of India General Insurance Company. Yet, I still consider myself as a student because legal education for me is not just limited to obtaining a degree to use it for some end but the real essence of legal education comprises of the opportunity to update one’s knowledge and skills during continuation of one’s profession.
Why and when did you decide to do law? What interested you most about the subject at the time?
The period, when I had to make this choice, was one which although offered multiple career options but everyone’s mindset was limited to only two fields – engineering and medicals. And I did not want to be a part of the crowd. Also, I firmly believed that whichever field I would want to make a career in, should be one which provides me the learning space, where application of mind and not just fixed formula or theorem, is crucial. I perceived law as one such subject, as with every case, every situation, there is opportunity to learn something new and today, I can say that I am glad what I perceived then to be true, actually is true in the real world.
I will be pretty honest here. Unfortunately, I could not get through any of the NLUs and hence, I decided to pursue my bachelors from Pune University. During my 5-year course, while I got the chance to be under the guidance of some good professors, I also had the experience of studying a few subjects all alone because there were no teachers or lectures for those subjects. I managed to clear every semester with good grades. And when I held my degree on the day of convocation, I felt grateful to everything that happened to me during my course – the good as well as the not-so-good aspects because that’s what made me capable of completing one important stage of my life.
What do you have to say about the supposed ‘elite’ tag attached to certain law schools? Do you believe branding is something that’s very relevant/ important at any stage in a law student’s career?
The sad truth of our society is that yes, the ‘elite’ tag attached to schools plays an important role at least at the establishment stage. The perception of the real world about a student’s knowledge and skills is reflected by the brand which the student is associated with. I personally do not believe in this coz ultimately it’s your knowledge that will help you survive and not the brand.
When and how did you decide to pursue Masters? Was it a professional requirement or a personal endeavour?
I would say, it was a personal endeavour as well as a professional requirement. As I mentioned earlier, during my graduation period, the kind of experience I had in terms of availability and non-availability of good faculty, which created the interest within me to get into academics, which calls for a Master degree. So, the personal endeavour led me to take it up in order to meet the professional requirements.
How did you prepare for CLAT?Did you join any coaching?
No, I had not joined any coaching class. The notes I made during my graduation course really helped me in the preparation.
You have done your LL.M. from NLIU, Bhopal. What was your specialization? Why did you choose that particular subject?
I specialized in Business law. I chose this subject because of the scope it offers in terms of career options. It doesn’t limit me to one field. I took up teaching and now I am working in the legal team of SBI General Insurance. So the point I wish to emphasize here is that one has to liberty of choice, to get into academics, practice or corporate sector.
Can you please share your experience at NLIU?
In one word – fabulous! I got the opportunity to be under the guidance of learned professors who gave us insight about the real world apart from imparting the theoretical knowledge. And this blend got its magical touch from the heart and soul of the university that is the library – “Gyan Mandir.” Every day was an enriching experience for me and I shall always be grateful to NLIU and the teachers for that.
Have you considered Doctoral Studies?Any university you have shortlisted for it?
Yes, it’s certainly in my list. But as of now, I have not shortlisted any university but I plan to do it from one of the nationals.
How would you describe your legal education? Did you dream of changing the society or working on a revolutionary legal principle while as a law student? Did your legal education prepare you for the real world practice of law?
I would like to quote Christine Gregoire who said that Education is the foundation upon which we build our future. And to add to it, it also enables us to play a role at times in shaping others’ future.
I may not have dreamt of bringing about a revolutionary change. But yes, I believe in the power of this foundation. I have and will always try to work towards the benefit of the people I work with.
What are the main essential qualities of an Academician? What do you think differentiates between lawyers who chose academics from those of other professions?
Sharing your knowledge is what differentiates academicians from other professionals. While others use their skills and knowledge for their own and the beneficiary’s good, academicians share their skills and knowledge to make others capable of achieving their goals and they also try to keep this cycle moving.
The job demands one to understand the needs of every student and ensure that not a single student leaves the class without learning. Patience, diligence and continuous learning are the qualities which an academician must possess in order to impart knowledge to the students.
You worked as a Lecturer for one year. What subjects did you teach there? How was the experience? What kind of skillsets proved to be useful for you during this period?
I worked with Marathwada Mitramandal’s Shankarrao Chavan Law College, Pune afiliated to Pune University. In a short span of one year I got an opportunity to teach Arbitration, Administrative Law, Criminology, Family law and Jurisprudence. “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching…” I can’t agree more with this statement because as I have mentioned in the previous questions also, teaching is a job which provides the learning space. Also, I think the best job for one is that which leaves a smile on one’s face every day. It has been almost a year and a half that I left working there, yet the students still remember me, call me to share their doubts, their achievements and it is a great feeling. It makes me feel that I was able to do something good.
In terms of skill set, I updated myself with information; new examples related to subjects and imparted it to the students as required.
You are currently working at SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd. How did this switch over take place?
God always has a different plan for you. I still want to be in academics but somehow after my marriage, the things weren’t favourable for me to take up teaching. But the offer from SBI General happened and I made a choice to experience this phase of life also with the belief that one can connect the dots only looking backwards.
Why SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd? How did you go about achieving this? Please tell us about the recruitment process at SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd?
There was no plan in my mind to achieve this. I just kept going with the flow and things happened.
About the recruitment process at SBI general insurance, whenever there is a vacancy, the HR consultants and recruitment agencies shortlist candidates from various portals and the process is taken ahead. My selection consisted of 3 rounds – interview with the Head of Department, Group discussion with fellow candidates and interview with the HR.
What do Insurance Companies look for in prospective employees? Is the induction process any different from Law Firms?
The companies look for the candidate’s knowledge about insurance and related laws. I haven’t had any experience of the induction process of law firms so will not be able to comment on the difference. But the induction here includes briefing about the insurance sector, working methodology and certain guidelines which are to be followed for all the tasks.
What amount of legal work is there? What kind of work you are supposed to do there? How is the experience so far?
The job profile is strictly related to legal stuff – handling the agreements the company enters into with various service providers, consultants, etc. It also includes negotiating, drafting, vetting of the agreements. I handle the litigation part also which includes cases before various courts, ombudsman matter, arbitration matter to which SBI general is a party.
The experience so far has been enriching. It helps me grow professionally. I am able to witness implication and application of law in this sector.
There is a phenomenal obsession amongst law students with maintaining a very high CGPA. How important according to you is this in securing a job?
It’s a tricky question. I mean it is kind of obvious that sound knowledge and practical experience are important and not just securing good grades. But in our society, good grades are proportional to one’s knowledge. So you have to work accordingly. I hope the scenario changes in the future though.
What are your long term objectives? Where do you see yourself by the end of five years?
Pursuing PhD is a priority for me. I just want to keep going with the flow as when there is a set plan, the surprise element gets lost and I want life to constantly bring in surprises for me. I will keep connecting the dots with the hope that the end result is positive.
Lastly, what would be your message to our readers who are mainly young lawyers and law students?
Keep reading; keep comprehending because it is the only thing which will take u ahead.