“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

She didn’t just leave her surname behind.

She left her family, her home and her identity behind.

My mother got married at 21 and had me at 22. She never worked, despite being a national scholarship holder throughout high school and completing a Masters in English Literature.

When I was five, she once told me that I must study well because men want educated wives. So, I did.

But somewhere along the journey, my goal shifted. I wasn’t doing it for a husband, but for the respect that women, like my mother, deserve.

I worked on ships in the deep seas of Gulf of Mexico, led oil and gas operations in Africa and played Tabla: An instrument mostly played by men. I did things that most women did not.

Over the years my ambition has become to inspire girls to dream big. I want to create a space where I can make women believe in themselves. Where every woman feels empowered.

I met my husband – who, incidentally, is also an HBS alum – during our undergrad, where I was one of the 30 women in a class of 750 men.

I was focusing on my education when I stumbled upon him, but I married him not because he wanted an educated wife, but because he makes me believe that I can achieve anything.

— Sneha Biswas