Q&A: Saumya Joshi

Saumya Joshi, Tulalens Advisor 

By: Kathleen Pointer

Saumya Joshi works in academia, but she’s not just drawn to what’s happening inside the classroom. 

“I work a lot with the students and the industry and academia, so it’s quite an interesting mix,” she said. 

Saumya, an Associate Director at the Indian School of Business, one of the top 30 in the world, curates and develops programs and expands their outreach.

Her portfolio includes applied learning activities, practicum courses, life consulting assignments and pro bono work.

In other words, she helps students  take concepts taught in the classroom, and apply them in the world — something Tulalens founder Priya Iyer was drawn to when they met. 

“I immediately knew I wanted to work with Saumya after our first meeting because I could tell she was an incredibly good problem solver, she had the ability to ask probing questions and the humility to listen," Priya said. "Her diverse experiences at ISB, the private sector and her previous volunteer work with women in slum areas led her to become a huge value add to Tulalens very quickly.” 

She previously worked in the private sector as a Supervising Analyst at Ernst and Young and an Associate Research Analyst at Deloitte.

Saumya, now an advisor for Tulalens, helps to make sure ideas work as well on the ground as they do in a brainstorming session.

Saumya Joshi, a Tulalens advisor and an Indian School of Business Associate Director.


What do you like most about where you live?

The thing I love the most about Hyderabad is it has a very temperate climate. It does get really warm, but it is very manageable unlike other parts of India. It doesn’t ever get really cold. 

I use the same the wardrobe throughout the year — I buy a lot of dresses.

The topography, too — Hyderabad is in the southern part of India. It is very rocky and it has a lot of lakes. There are natural rock formations all around and it’s gorgeous. It’s very rustic, very natural. I love that. 

What would you do on your perfect day off?

I would read a book. I would make myself a nice cup of tea, read a book in my bed, and not get out of it all day.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can sing. I used to be part of my school’s rock band. They were very bad, but I was also part of the choir and they were really good. 

I can also play hockey! I used to be the university center forward. But I busted my knees and gave up hockey. I’m super tiny, so people are surprised that I used to play hockey and hold that stick, but it’s true! 

How did you learn about Tulalens?

I heard about it from the ex-dean of my school. Over a year back he wrote to me about Priya. She wanted to connect to ISB regarding some help and he asked if I could I meet her. 

At the time, I didn’t know a lot about Tulalens. I did a quick Google search to see about the venture. I went for my meeting with Priya one fine day, and just looking at her enthusiasm — we hit it off super well!

How are you involved with Tulalens?

Most of my work with Tulalens is with Priya.  We have good rapport and we get along really well. Her energy is infectious!

We usually end up talking one to two times a month. If there is any sense of a roadblock, we discuss it. I’m focused on business development, and helping her with forging partnerships in India. I advise on marketing, expansion ideas, and where we would want Tulalens to be down the line.

Why do you think Tulalens’ work is important?

  1. The demographic we’re helping — they are the bottom of the pyramid, the most neglected section of people simply because they don’t have the capacity to pay a lot.
  2. The issue that Tulalens is trying to solve or sort out — it is a very interesting way of looking at healthcare service in India.

Everyone else is looking at providing the service. Tulalens is looking at what is available and how can we make people more aware of the services. And then, it’s generating a feedback loop that will help improve the services.

Information is power. A lot of us are very tech savvy and have everything at our fingertips and knowing is a huge power, but we don’t realize a lot of people in the world don’t have that access. They need someone to help be the bridge.

What about Tulalens inspires you? 

It’s a mammoth task what we’re undertaking. It’s not an easy space to be in, but we’re all doing it because we believe in it.

And all of these young and really qualified people in the U.S. are trying to sort out a problem across the world. They could be doing something more profitable, but they're not.

It gives me a lot of hope.