With one month left in the semester, graduation is just around the corner for a handful of Berkeley students. At the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, we believe the student body is not only critical to the success of the Center’s long-term vision and initiatives, but constitutes the pillars who help support its day-to-day endeavors in order to promote technology-centric innovation.
During the following weeks, we will be featuring some of the student characters that have been key for the operations of the Center and are about to finally graduate from this challenging but highly-rewarding University and will go on to do great things around the country and beyond. Through this series, we will get to know first-hand how they have grown and lived entrepreneurship throughout their time here at Berkeley.
This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Vruti Desai. Vruti is a fourth year Berkeley undergraduate student at the Haas School of Business who has been heavily involved with the Center during the past year. From supporting the Center’s Communication efforts and brand positioning around campus, to enrolling in its courses and outside-of-class initiatives, she shared with us her most meaningful experiences and the best pieces of advice she would give to the future generations of SCET students.
CRV: How did you first get interested in entrepreneurship?
VD: Every since I was young I have been fascinated with bringing innovative ideas to life. When I was younger, scrapbooking allowed me to express myself through pictures and anecdotes while it brought out my creative flair and unique style of thinking. I was also a Girl Scout and I achieved my Girl Scouts Gold Award by implementing creative solutions to community problems. When I came to Berkeley, I knew I wanted to get involved in an innovative environment. After hearing about SCET and the courses during Cal Day, I immediately started to take classes during my first year and completed my Certificate in Technology Entrepreneurship.
CRV: How do you see yourself applying what you have learned in SCET and in SCET classes to your professional career after graduation? Has your understanding of entrepreneurship changed or gotten complemented since you joined the Center?
VD: Over the last few years, I have not only taken SCET courses and worked at the Center, but I also partook in 3-Day Start-up, Big Ideas@ Berkeley, worked at the startup TINE tag (SkyDeck), and pursued my own venture, Expression for Autism. I believe my understanding of entrepreneurship has definitely been complemented through these experiences. I have not only developed strong business skills such as pitching and building a strong business plan, but have also trained myself to have an entrepreneurial mindset. My experiences in the start-up environment have also trained me to take risks, prioritize tasks efficiently, work in teams, manage ambiguity and learn fast. Most importantly, I have learned how to rally others to support a cause, overcome obstacles, and execute on an idea, no matter how small or difficult it may seem. I believe these skills will help me in any career path I decide to go in.
CRV: From your perspective as an undergraduate student at Berkeley, what type of students would benefit the most from getting involved in the Center?
VD: Any student who is interested in innovation and technology! You don’t need to be an engineering or computer science major to get involved. The best teams are the ones that come from diverse backgrounds and majors.
CRV: If you had the chance to talk to a student interested in getting involved in any of the SCET initiatives, what tips and pieces of advice would you give him/her?
VD: I would say get involved early on! SCET provides endless opportunities and I urge all students to take advantage of them as soon as they can. In my 4 years at Berkeley, I have taken many SCET courses such as Technology Entrepreneurship, Patent Engineering, Newton Lecture Series, BMOE Bootcamp, Challenge Lab, and participated in Collider Projects. Last summer, I also got to attend a Fintech Collider in Singapore with students from Berkeley, NTU, and HKUST! Participating in the Fintech Collider and interacting with students from different universities allowed me to further enhance my knowledge, give me different perspectives of the global economy, and further develop my personal and professional network. If it weren’t for SCET, I would have never received this global experience. Moreover, through the courses I have gotten experience presenting to real VC’s and working in teams to bring an idea to life.
CRV: What is your most memorable experience of your time working at the SCET?
VD: My most memorable experience was being asked to speak at the Grand Opening Ceremony and getting to cut the ribbon. SCET has really played a large role in my experience at Berkeley and I am grateful for all the experiences and skills I have been able to gain. SCET really is a global technology powerhouse in Berkeley, and everyone should take advantage of all the opportunities it offers!