Madura Samarth ’95

Madura Samarth

If I said that my Lawrence Experience was the one experience that has shaped me most, it would be true.

Let’s rewind to my last few months in high school in Mumbai, when I was applying to colleges in the US in 1991…Lawrence wasn’t even on my radar. One of my closest friends, Pia Vachha (class of 1995) from high school had applied to Lawrence and suggested I apply too. She thought it would be fun to go to the same college. So I applied, using the common app I had already filled out and the rest is history. Not only did both Pia and I get in but Lawrence offered us both a financial aid package which was impossible to resist. In those days, it was almost impossible for international students to qualify for financial aid.

When I got to Lawrence, it was a serious culture shock (in a good way!). In India, we were used to listening to our teachers, never questioning anything that they taught us, and regurgitating whatever our textbooks said onto the exam paper!

Freshman studies was exactly the opposite of everything that my high school stood for and I absolutely loved it! From the books that we picked to the enriching discussions, to the way we began to respect different viewpoints…it was all so, and I hate to use this cliche, but intellectually stimulating. For the first time, going to classes and studying was actually something I looked forward to. Lawrence showed me that anyone can do anything - it didn’t matter if I hadn’t taken Math since the tenth grade, I could still do Calculus and Econometrics. All I had to do was be willing to listen, learn, and work hard.

As I look back on my career over these last 28 years, I can say that I owe every success I’ve had to my education at Lawrence. I majored in Economics and started out as an investment banker on Wall Street in New York. I realized within two years that investment banking wasn’t for me and pivoted completely to a field in which I had absolutely no experience - creating videos for brands and businesses.

Our company, Ripple Animation has now become one of the leading explainer video companies in India, and my co-founder (who also has a Liberal Arts education) and I built the business from scratch - every aspect whether it was marketing, sales, client servicing, managing finances and even the execution, had to be figured out. We could only do all of this because our Liberal Arts backgrounds gave us the tools to ask the right questions, research till we found the answers, and try different things even at the risk of sum it up, I would say it is because of Lawrence that I feel equipped to navigate the world of business, with all it’s complexities and ups and downs.

And let’s not forget the relationships and friends I made at Lawrence. These friends continue to be the people I’m closest to and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that the Lawrence experience is one that we all cherish dearly.