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Stern Singles Presents: Sanjana Shankar

It’s hard to get the full picture of someone in just a 30 minute Zoom interview, but I think I’ve got a great one for you this month, Sternies. 

Sanjana was nominated by a fellow full-timer who gave the literal quote: “Sanjana is great, dynamic, and into it.” That’s the strong and short delivery to describe November’s bachelorette. See below for another testimonial: 

Sternie Testimonial: 

“WOW WOW WOW. Sanjana is the Wonder Ball of people: you already love what’s on the outside, but you’ll be captivated by the inside. Sanjana is a cross-functional friend: a confidant, a phenomenal karaoke partner, a helpful hand to a classmate in need. She will make you laugh so hard that you’ll need to go camera-off during a zoom meeting. Am I in love with Sanjana? Yes.”

Alright, give me the “life” elevator pitch. Who is Sanjana?

I grew up in eastern Kentucky, but am super proud of my Indian culture – I felt like the representative POC growing up. I’m into all types of entertainment, especially the performing arts and world cinema, and always knew I wanted to work in marketing for those, but before then I took a bit of a detour working in tech and sales. It was the right path for me though; I love meeting new people, presenting ideas and being involved in communication, which I studied at Northwestern. Now I’m getting my MBA and want to work in streaming services where I can combine my passion for tech and entertainment marketing. On the whole…I’d say I’m defined by the company I keep and the passions that I have. 

I love how you phrased that last bit, it really seems like you know who you are very well.  Do you believe there is love to be found at Stern?

The hard-hitting question! I think yes, there are people I still haven’t met yet, even though my cohort got very close and we all know each other. There’s always people you haven’t met yet.

What are you looking for in a guy?

That he’s single? 

Makes a lot of sense to me. But actually…

He definitely has to have a sense of humor. I love hanging out with friends and being out and about, dancing, so those things too, but hopefully he’s also capable of just enjoying being at home, binging some TV with me, casually oscillating between the two extremes, you know. I’d also like someone who has a culture of their own or can appreciate culture, as mine is very important to me. 

Any dealbreakers?

Someone who isn’t really aspiring toward something or who doesn’t have passion for something in his life. No need to be a giant CEO, but just have something they’re excited about and working toward. Ooh, also really wouldn’t want someone so into fitness they can’t appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

Simple pleasures such as…?

You know, food, having a lazy day in watching TV with me sometimes. Maybe making what I call the poor man’s cacio e pepe. 

Say more about this poor man’s cacio e pepe.

It’s literally mac n cheese and I’ve made it my whole life and everyone makes fun of me for it. I use pasta, milk, butter, Kraft American singles, and salt. And it’s delicious.

Understood. So other than this, how important is food to you in your life?

Does it matter to you if your partner is a foodie or not?

I’m sure I can learn some new things about different types of cuisine; if he’s not a foodie, as long as he’s not stopping me, it’s not a problem!  

What are some of your hobbies?

I love TV. I will binge-watch everything on Netflix – British TV, Bollywood, K-dramas, animes, you name it. 

Music? 

EDM, but it has to be funky. Groovy. 

Movies? 

A TV show but recently, Squid Game, then my top 3 favorite movies as follows: 1) My Best Friend’s Wedding 2) Pirates of the Caribbean 3) Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version)  

Hidden talents?

I can do that 3-leaf clover with my tongue. 

You say you’re really steeped in your Indian culture. Can you share an example?

I grew up dancing a traditional style called Bharatanatyam, starting at 8 years old, and am still in the Indian classical performing arts community and spreading awareness! It’s a very cool art form, considered the ballet of India, and is entrenched in tradition and storytelling.

I ask everyone this: what’s the thing that surprised you most about Stern? 

The people — it’s business school, but still, I was really pleased by how passionate the students are. It was an awkward first year having to go remote in the spring, but it was cool how amped up people were to get to know each other. 

Any final words? 

(Ed: Sternies, I write these interviews retroactively, and when I say she came up with this on the spot I am not kidding)

I’m an open book, what you see is what you get. 

I like to have a good time — 

Obviously looking for a partner in crime — 

And I freestyle rap in the meantime. 

Mic drop.

If you want to contact Sanjana, you can check out her Instagram or email her at sanjana.shankar@stern.nyu.edu.

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