Using the experience she gained during her MBA studies at Imperial, Saumyaa Vardhan (MBA 2010) launched India's first religious e-commerce website, a science and technology based platform providing ancient Indian vedic services through authentic and qualified professionals. We caught up with her at a recent reception for Imperial alumni, students, offer-holders and friends in Delhi.
Can you tell us about your studies at Imperial?
"My Imperial MBA studies not only provided a real-time experience for testing and improving my decision-making skills, but also helped to prepare me for future challenges. The MBA programme bestowed a hands-on experience of real life business challenges, taking experiential learning to a new level.
The Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design (IED) course provided an unparallel opportunity to enhance my entrepreneurial skills by planning and developing a business venture. The IED course is a collaboration between professionals from Imperial Innovations and students from Royal College of Art (RCA), which gives a unique dimension to the module and to the overall MBA programme.
Social and networking events are an integral part of MBA life at the College. The Business School organised dinners, BBQ parties and pub evenings from time to time during the course of the programme which was a great opportunity to interact with everyone and learn from people with diverse backgrounds."
What is your fondest memory of your time here?
"The MBA programme at Imperial gave me a chance to interact with some of the most effective future leaders, which helped me enhance my personal growth towards becoming a successful leader in the future. I enjoyed the whole year at Imperial."
Tell us a bit about the work you are doing now?
"After Imperial, I worked with KPMG and Ernst & Young as an Assistant Manager in Transaction Advisory Services. I then moved to India to start the country’s first religious e-commerce website www.shubhpuja.com. Shubhpuja is a science and technology based platform providing ancient Indian vedic services (such as Puja, Astrology, Vastu consultation) through authentic and qualified professionals. We are scientifically revolutionizing the ancient Indian spiritual practices."
How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?
"Through different modules, Imperial not only taught technical subjects but also leadership. I believe, my leadership qualities have been constantly improved and nurtured by continual adaption to new challenges and situations during the various core courses, the IED module and my consultancy project. Specifically in the final project, we independently devised a strategy followed by analysing the results, which challenged the academic concepts and gave substance gave us the experience to undertake real life challenges."
What have been your career highlights so far?
"My venture Shubhpuja.com was ranked as the #2 most inspiring start-up in India in 2014 and has been featured by more than 30 worldwide media houses including Forbes CNBC, LA Times, Voice of America, New York Magazine, OMNI TV Canada, CNA Taiwan, Zee News, Hindustan Times, ET, Indian express etc. It feels great to know that people have loved our innovative concept and to be featured by top media houses. I was also invited to appear on a panel discussion with Indian’s leading scientists during the time of solar esclipse on India’s most viewed TV channel, Zee News. The show was viewed by millions of people all over the country."
What are your plans for the future?
"I would like to expand my venture overseas and be recognised for the quality of services that we offer."
What would be your advice for current students?
"My advice for current students is to make the most out of the Imperial community through their quality education and enterprising environment. Besides this, they should believe in the power of ideas complemented with academic studies."
What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
"To start with, preparing myself mentally and financially to take the plunge and choose to become an entreprenuer (vs going for a defined career path). Moving from a structured and process-oriented way of working to something so technical and unknown was a tough decision to take but I am glad it all worked out in due course of time."
Do you have a favourite quote of saying?
"Always have faith, believe in yourself and find your own happiness"
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
"Imperial is truly the hub of innovation, technology and design and this resonates through the culture of the College. I would like to thank Imperial for shaping me as an individual."