Anshu ThapaMay 25, 2021
Anshu Thapa grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal and moved to Kirksville as a freshman at Truman State. Since graduating from Truman, she has worked in different states and different countries. Anshu currently lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband Swaroop and their dog, Dexter. Anshu spends most of her workday analyzing financial data and coming up with business solutions for her job at PG&E. When she is not working, you can usually find Anshu tending to her plant babies in her California garden. Anshu enjoys morning yoga, reading books, being outdoors, and has recently discovered her love for biking around the hills of the Bay Area. Anshu loves to travel around the globe, but mostly enjoys spending time in the mountains of Nepal.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated Truman in 2010, with a BA in Communication, concentration in Public Communication.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
During my time at Truman, I was involved with TMN-TV (now KTRM Studios), where I had few opportunities to work as a TV anchor and reporter. It was such a unique experience. I was a member of the International Club, where I met people from all over the world, some of whom I still call friends. I was also involved with TSODA (The Society of Dance Arts) and really enjoyed performing during the yearly dance recitals. Lastly, I had an on-campus job with Res Life.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I did go to grad school; however, not right out of college. After Truman I joined the workforce becasue I wanted to gain some experience. After years of working in Business Development and Marketing, I decided that I wanted a career which was more focused on quantitative business analysis. For that I attended Xavier University in 2016 to pursue my MBA with a concentration in Finance.
Taking few years off after my undergrad from Truman was been beneficial for my career. For one, it gave me an opportunity to explore different career opportunities and discuss these options with professionals outside of academia. Taking the time off before graduate school helped me develop more realistic expectation for my career goals and helped me have a more concrete vision of what I wanted in a job.
What was your first job after graduation?
After graduating from Truman, which seems like an eon ago, I moved to New York City to take an internship with a fashion house as a Public Relations Intern. It was an amazing experience and I learned many valuable lessons. I loved spending a year in NYC. After that, I found my way back to my home country of Nepal to be closer to my family. I worked for a travel company in Business Development for the next 4 years.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
Since grad school, I have worked as a Financial Analyst. I recently changed my job in 2021 and moved to San Francisco, CA. I began my journey at Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in the Rate and Regulatory Affairs Department. At present I work as a Rate Design and Analysis expert, where I provide support in the Gas Transmission and Storage Cost Allocation Rate Design Proceeding, Monthly Pricing, rate forecast analysis and all other rate related projects.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
The lessons I received at Truman, especially at my classes with the Communication Department, taught me to think within and across all disciplines. My degree required me to take courses in a variety of disciplines, but also courses with heavy focus on writing and public speaking. Taking these classes have been such a valuable addition to my career.
Other Liberal Arts courses that I took at Truman were incredibly effective at teaching me how to develop transferable soft skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and more. I think these are incredibly valuable. Having these skills has made me more versatile and has opened doors to a wide range of jobs during my career.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Experimental Methods. I struggled throughout this class, as it was heavily research based with lot of reading and lot of writing. I seriously remember crying while writing my final paper; however, Dr. Diane Johnson was so supportive and helpful. I spent numerous hours in her office seeking help and she welcomed my questions. I can’t imagine what I would have done without her support. I am so grateful to have taken this course because the research, writing and presentation skills that I gained here helped me through my time in graduate school.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
When I think of my greatest accomplishment at Truman, I don’t think about the accolades that I received at Truman, but the experience that I gathered throughout the whole journey. I can’t help but think that the greatest of my accomplishments at Truman is the confident and hardworking person Truman helped me become. I am sure I am not unique in this experience; however, this is what I value the most from my life at Truman. Also, the friendships I built at Truman were and still are my constant source of support, while I navigate my life so far away from home. I truly value those.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Having small classes was one of the things that I really liked about Truman. Small class sizes meant there were opportunity to receive more individualized attention from my professors. The ability to walk into a professor’s office and have them know your name, your work, and the areas where you need help is one of the most beautiful things about Truman. It is those relationships that made Truman such a great place to spend my college years. Truman also has an abundance of student organizations and clubs to join, as well as a variety of fun events to attend. Regardless of your particular interests, there is always something exciting happening!
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Seek opportunities to work for the Truman Media Network, be it the radio, TV, or newspaper. Also, develop relationships with your professors and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Trust me, they will help you and guide you through your struggles. Finally, make sure to take elective classes from different departments, because that will give you an exposure to multiple backgrounds, which might come in handy in years to come.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Start building a network of professionals right after college. Seek out mentors, ideally somebody who is experienced in the industry you want to work in. You will be surprised how willing people are to guide other professionals who seek help. Many companies also offer formal mentorship programs. Career advice is especially important for young professionals because the visibility you have so far is limited. Those with more experience or have the ability to see the bigger picture can help you dream bigger.
Figure out what you don’t like. I think the first few years of your career is as much about figuring out what you don’t like as figuring out what you do like. Try to get a better understanding of what brings you joy and what doesn’t. The best way to do this is to continuously try new things and step out of your comfort zone. This might help you identify your next career move that you’ll find more happiness in.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
I miss the simple life in Kirksville a lot. Kirksville was my introduction to the “American Life” and my first home away from home. I landed in Kirksville from Nepal as a teenager, so this little town holds a very special place in my heart. I also miss the ease and convenience of having all my friends around me all the time and being able to see them more easily. It seems like my friends are all over the globe now.
Other Things I miss: varied breaks between courses, always having something to be working on, like-minded people who valued learning, summer breaks, campus parties, pizza rolls/ramen noodles for three meals a day.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
I am bad at this. “Learn how to skillfully communicate your brilliant ideas.” How’s that?
If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?
I would love to teach class in Intro to Personal Finance. I wish I had the opportunity to take business classes for my liberal arts degree to prepare me for adulting.
If you would like to learn more of Anshu’s story, you can follow her on LinkedIn.