Meet the Bansal sisters who landed scholarships at LSE and rocked the campus!

Rhiya and Priya, though a year apart, managed the rare feat of getting into the London School of Economics with merit scholarships. But there's so much more to them, as we discovered
Priya and Rhiya Bansal are pursuing Masters in Economics at LSE. And both of them have earned full scholarships while at ISBF. (Pic: Priya Bansal)
Priya and Rhiya Bansal are pursuing Masters in Economics at LSE. And both of them have earned full scholarships while at ISBF. (Pic: Priya Bansal)

Getting a full scholarship to study at London School in Economics would make any family proud. By that logic, the Bansals have not one, but two parties to throw. Their daughters, Priya and Rhiya Bansal are pursuing Masters in Economics at LSE. And both of them have earned full scholarships. It's an amazing feat that they achieved after a lot of hard work. But they are not all work and no fun. The sisters reveal how they helped each other and who is a bigger nerd and who is the party animal in a conversation with us. Excerpts:

How is life in LSE? Things you like and things you don't. How does freedom so far away from home feel? 

RHIYA: Life at LSE is competitive. Everything around here works on a first come first serve basis — right from securing an offer to the allocation of residence to the selection of our optional courses. proactive is the what you need to be. To be very honest, there is so much going around all the time, there isn't any time to think about likes and dislikes. I'm happy to go with the flow and experience whatever LSE and life in London have to offer. Independence has its pros and cons. Most of our time is spent at the uni and whatever little time we get, it's spent doing our daily chores. 

PRIYA: I would like to add, we were always told that the class size in LSE is huge and we won’t get personal attention, but to my surprise here although we have a class of approximately 300 students their organisation is equally efficient, that we don't really feel less focused upon. They have Teaching Assistants to help us and that's what I appreciate the most. Also, freedom away from home is fun and tricky at the same time. One needs to be mature enough to not take advantage of this as we can get really tempted towards the open environment here. There is a drastic difference from home. So many miles away from home, you get the incentives to party just one day more. Bigger the institute, more lucrative the parties. Self-check is extremely crucial to succeed henceforth. It's important to sail through the ocean of freedom and not drown.

Sister Concern:  Most people remember them, not so much by name but because of the fact that they are the 'sister duo' (Pic: Priya Bansal)

Tell me about the friends you have made. Do you hang out with a different set of people or are you two always together? 

PRIYA: Our interaction is limited for academic purposes and shopping for our groceries. We are very different personalities and this attracts us to a different set of people. We have a few common friends from our course. But outside of our department, we are seen interacting with different people, our timings of leaving our hostels is different, our timing of coming back different, we walk to the Uni with different people.
RHIYA: Priya has always been more of a party animal whereas I prefer a more peaceful environment to relax.

Tell me some fun stories from campus or maybe when you went out to party to a pub.

RHIYA: Every time we meet someone new and we are introducing ourselves, our names rhyme so they give us a questioning look to which we answer, "Yes, we are sisters!" and it's amazing how every single person is surprised and flabbergasted to have two sisters on campus pursuing the same course and on full scholarship.
PRIYA: Most people remember us, not so much by our names but because of the fact we are here together.

The Bigger Nerd: The best way to learn something is to teach claims Rhiya. (Pic: Priya Bansal)

Has going to LSE always been a dream that you worked hard for or did you consider it only after you were offered the opportunity? 

RHIYA: Our dream was getting into one of the top five colleges in the world. LSE being ranked among the best for pursuing a degree in Economics was obviously on the list.
PRIYA: "If you got to achieve something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done," this quote kept us going all through. It was definitely a deliberate effort. 

How many hours did you study and how did you prepare for your exams? How has your institute helped you? 

RHIYA: Well, consistency is the key to acing anything and everything. Approximately 3-4 hours on an average per day for me and at least 6-7 for Priya was devoted to our books. This is excluding the time spent in lectures. Examination preparations happen not in the end, but during the year. Reading the material once before our lectures really made a difference. This helps to absorb most of the things in class hours. It helped develop our comfort with the course material and imbibe it over the months. 
The role of the institute is specific to the faculty for each module. Some faculties have been extremely motivating. Usually, we have four modules per year. And on an average, every year 2 out of 4 faculties are on their toes to make things work for us. But I guess, it's more the student's enthusiasm and determination which keeps them going. It's what you make out of the resources provided by the institute. 

Tell me about yourself. Schools you went to, how was your childhood, any memorable things that you want to share. 

RHIYA: Most of my schooling is from Springdale, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi. Though I did spend a few years studying in Thailand and Kochi due to my father's work profile. I emerged to be my school topper during my Class X board examination. And I chose the Physics-Chemistry-Mathematics combination with Economics during my Class XI and XII. Quite early in my life, I was told that "thoughts become things" and I do live by this quote. All the time I spent clearing my basic concepts during my schooling is giving me all the fruit here at LSE. 

PRIYA: I have done my schooling from the Heritage School till Class X. During my Class XI and XII, I decided to take up the same combination but with Physical Education. I went to FIITJEE with a full scholarship. Though I was preparing for engineering, I wasn’t really fascinated by the stream. My sister was the one who encouraged me to replace economics with physical education in Class XII. Economics was intriguing. I decided to pursue Economics and here I am. My sister saved me.

Moving on to some fun stuff. Who is the bigger nerd between you two? 
PRIYA: Oh well, definitely me. I spend sleepless nights over books just to match my sister's intelligence.  Most of the times she is relaxing and when I go to her for doubts, she knows it all. I'm still unable to uncover the mystery. She is really quick in grasping stuff, whereas I keep struggling with the material for hours. Her guidance has been the reason I'm at LSE. I'm blessed to have a mentor and guide like her. Me being at LSE is Rhiya's dream. She showed me the way and then we made it happen. Right from seeking admission in ISBF to applying for Masters at LSE, Rhiya has been the guiding force. 
RHIYA: For me, having a read and explaining the concepts to Priya helped. The best way to learn something is to teach. If not for her listening to my boring lectures, I wouldn't have been here at LSE.

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