Julie-Lynn Tikekar

Julie-Lynn Tikekar

Study & year of graduation: International Full-time MBA 2001
Employer:
PayPal
Job title:
Senior manager, risk management

What are the most valuable skills that you took from your education at RSM?
The first year at RSM was challenging. Having a liberal arts degree and no maths since college algebra, it was quite a challenge to face the accounting, statistics, and economics classes with the same confidence as many of my classmates. But knowing that many, many others had taken this journey before me gave me the confidence to just keep at it. I learned a few things about myself:

  • Facing a challenge is easier than running away from it. At RSM, I often chose a more difficult route just for the sake of the experience rather than the certainty of success. And that is OK. 
  • Collaboration is key. Project work in finance can't all be done by the math gurus. Strategy also plays a role and the final solution can only be done together.
  • Remember to breathe. Not everything has to be– or can be –  done today.  Sometimes a deep breath can give you time for finding perspective and a better way forward.

What was your most memorable moment at RSM?
There were two.

The first was a summer-long experience for a project with MEXX. I had a number of options but chose a project in a new industry (fashion!), a new domain (product development) and with two classmates that I had never worked with before. I learned more about product development lifecycles, fast fashion, and making really good Italian risotto that summer than I could ever imagine.

The second involved a bike, a lot of wind, and some nasty hail. I had left school after a long day and was attempting the very, very, very long bike ride back to my flat when I was hit by wind and rain that, well, is not uncommon in Rotterdam. About half way home the hail started and I raced for cover under a bridge with a few other classmates who were equally frustrated at the weather. We stood there –speechless – contemplating spending the night under the bridge to avoid the hail when a woman cycled past us balancing two young kids and a briefcase and a bag of groceries. So I mounted my bike and faced the hail for the last 10 minutes’ ride home. And I survived!

Not many of us remember bike rides 15 years later. It was much more than the hail stinging my face. It was a sobering reminder of how your perspective changes when you choose to look around. Challenges that seemed insurmountable are sometimes actually quite doable, especially when you chose not to let failure be an option.

How would your former classmates describe you?
The class was made up of such a diverse group of people; 40 nationalities, dozens of professions, and the most amazing range of personalities. This diversity highlighted everyone's uniqueness, but also made it easy to really feel confident in your own strengths and relaxed in your own skin.

I hope my classmates would describe how RSM really brought out the best in me. Someone who is strategic, solutions-oriented, collaborative in the classroom; communicative, fun and thoughtful during the many fun times when our books were closed.

How do you stay connected to the school and what do you gain from it?
My first job out of RSM was in London, along with nine other fellow classmates. While we all settled into our lives in that amazing city, the support and companionship from my dear friends was truly very special- and I often wondered how long it would last.

Since then, my career and personal thirst for adventure have taken me to all corners of the Earth. No matter how busy I am, I always take advantage of my travel to keep in touch with classmates, as well as contact local RMS alumni associations to make new connections. In fact, I have travelled with a classmate and his family, had dinner with several more, and met four new RSM alumni in Delhi just in the past six months. 

There is definitely a common thread between all of these people and it seems to be the desire to connect and collaborate. I guess what I gain from this is really what we all gained at RSM; a reminder of the importance of collaboration and engagement in our careers and in our lives, and how it must remain a priority.

What is your greatest passion in life?
Living! Breathing in each day and finding something new to experience and savour.  

Fortunately, I married a partner who shares my zest for adventure and is always up for something new. We have lived in five countries together, travelled across six continents, and have lived in India for the past six years.

If you look, every day (especially in India) presents something new to open your eyes and love this world even more.

What is your ‘I WILL’? 
I WILL never be afraid of facing new challenges