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Choosing JMC from India

June 20, 2023 - Beth Brauer

Alumnus Spotlight: Nainika Kumar (SRP '20)

Nainika Kumar majored in social relations and policy with minors in graphic design and public relations and graduated in 2020. Kumar came to JMC from Gurgaon, India.

Nainika Kumar holds diploma
Nainika Kumar holds her diploma after earning her master's in marketing analytics from USC.


Where do you live currently?

I am currently living in Los Angeles but actively looking for jobs in the Midwest or on the East Coast.

I heard you lived for a period of time in Dubai and when you applied to JMC, you were living in India. Did you anticipate staying in the U.S. when you applied to study here as an undergrad?

Yes! I lived in Dubai after graduating in 2020 for two years. My parents moved to Dubai from India while I was still at JMC. I did anticipate staying in the U.S. when I applied to study as an undergraduate; however, COVID had other plans. Moving back home did wonders for me as I, like most of us, needed to feel part of a community during COVID isolation. Happy and grateful that I got to live with my parents and younger sibling and just hang out with them after four years of living in the U.S.

How did you learn about JMC, and why did you choose JMC over other programs in the U.S.?

While researching programs specializing in sociology/pre-law. I had applied to other programs for international relations/international business, but when I got admitted to JMC, something clicked! I am so happy I made the decision to continue with JMC as it has shaped me into the person I am today and gave me so many tools and lenses to use while in the work force.

What was the best part about choosing the residential college experience for your education?

The best part about choosing a residential college was being surrounded by peers who were eager to engage in rich conversations that sometimes bordered on longwinded debates. Waking up five minutes before class was also a great perk, since the classes were on the 3rd floor and, freshman year, I lived on 4S and sophomore year I lived on 6N.

What was your most memorable JMC class/professor and why?

My most memorable professor has to be Professor Gene Burns. He is one of the best professors who is not only passionate about the topic he is teaching but also wanting his students to ask all the questions and learn as much as they can. He has helped me inside and outside of class, and I couldn’t be more thankful for having him for one of my SRP core classes. I would also like to give a shout out to Assistant Dean Jeff Judge. If it was not for him, I would still be debating if I should purse IR or SRP or change routes and go the business school. 

What have you been doing since you graduated from JMC, and what are your future plans?

Since I graduated in 2020, I have been working in the marketing sector, focusing on sustainable and green businesses. I also recently graduated with my master’s in marketing analytics from USC Marshall School of Business. I am going to continue working at the intersection of marketing and corporate social responsibility/sustainability.

Do you have any advice for prospective students, especially international students considering JMC among the various social science programs out there?

While I typically refrain from offering advice, as I believe it can sometimes distort our experiences through the lens of nostalgia, there is one piece of guidance I would like to share: Be open.

When I initially started my journey at JMC, I had no inkling of the vast knowledge I would acquire in areas that seemed unrelated or unfamiliar to me. Yet, it is precisely these unexpected subjects that make me who I am today. I am able to work at the intersection of marketing and social relations because I learned about the impact and importance of education policy, health care policy and how the experiences of particular identity groups and communities are impacted by policy.

I know as an international student it can be daunting to learn so much about another country, but learning  about the U.S. also gave me a perspective about systems and policies in India — or the UAE — and how I may contribute toward needed change wherever I am.