2022 Best & Brightest MBA: Nikita Acharya, Warwick Business School

Nikita Acharya

Warwick Business School

“I am a full-time entrepreneur and part-time traveller.” 

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Fun fact about yourself: I started my first venture when I was a 19-year-old undergrad student with US$100 in my pocket to invest. I told no-one when I started as I was unsure if I would get enough support. However, after being featured in a local newspaper as a young aspiring entrepreneur, I told everyone about my venture, including my parents.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Kathmandu College of Management, Bachelors of Business Administration.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

* CEO/ Co-founder, Urban Girl Inc. Pvt ltd (2012); Nepal’s first online platform to sell fashion jewelries (Fb.com/urbangirl.me)

* Co-founder, UG Cakes (2014): Nepal’s first online bakery (fb.com/cakesnepal)

* Co-founder, UG Bazaar (2020): an online gift platform to sell products of Cakes, Gifts and many more items.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? I did not intern, but continued working at my start-up Urban Girl, managing and running a business of more than 60 people

Where will you be working after graduation? I will continue to expand my business and aim to alleviate problems in Nepali society. Specifically, I will continue to employ women and people from marginalized groups.

I look forward to developing a network of like-minded people, learning the best business practices, and applying my new knowledge and skills in my business operations, such as sustainable business practices.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I have joined the Social Impact Club and will be leading its marketing department. It is a platform for MBA students to discuss and work on ideas to tackle issues related to poverty, climate crisis, and physical and mental health.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? (A Chevening Scholarship: Winning a Chevening Scholarship was a huge coup for me. It is very competitive with more than 60,000 applications from all over the world for just 1,700 places, so to go through a grueling application and interview process to win a scholarship was amazing.

The Chevening Scholarship has helped me be a part of a diverse community. I am glad to have developed broader networks with students from other departments. I am learning so much from people doing notable works in their local communities, in different parts of the world. It has helped me to get connected with like-minded people. 

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am listed in the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30, class of 2020, in the e-commerce and retail category. In addition to awards and honors, I am proud to have built a team of 60 youths at my business. In Nepal, more than 1,500 youths leave the nation every day for better opportunities abroad! Many never come back. By creating jobs, especially for females and people from marginalized communities, I feel I’m helping them stay with their family in Nepal. They too are contributing to the local economy.

Why did you choose this business school? I wanted to do an MBA with a specialization in Entrepreneurship. Warwick Business School (WBS) does this and is one of the best business schools with research-oriented faculties. WBS also offers modules that I wanted to pursue; innovation and creativity in an organization is among them.

 Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? When I arrived in the United Kingdom (UK), I had to quarantine in a hotel room for the first three weeks. I attended the classes online. When I came out of quarantine and was ready to meet with my colleagues in-person, other students who came to campus directly had developed a good camaraderie. I stayed back and made less effort to join the group. I felt left out. In retrospect, I could have done more to be a part of the group, such as opening up and introducing myself to the new students. After all, students at WBS have diverse experiences, representing various nationalities. I realize we don’t have to be alike to get along. Diversity in any form could be as equally beautiful!

What is the biggest myth about your school? (and how was it the same or different than what you experienced). Before I joined WBS I heard a lot about the many networks for students and alumni to join and how you make contacts for life on the MBA, and that is what the great benefit of doing the course really is.

So I decided to join WBS to expand my network, not just among the cohort but also outside the business school. I am pitching my business at the WBS entrepreneur clinic to the school’s investor network. In addition, I am working with an investment accelerator firm where I will learn the best investment practices by entrepreneurs in the UK. So, I would say it’s not just a myth but the truth that once you are at WBS, you have a wide range of networks to join.

 What surprised you the most about business school? The three things that surprised me were the constant workshops, the great guest lectures and the very active participation of students in class. The workshops on personal development, leadership, entrepreneurship and career advice — on top of the classes — have been eye-opening. And the guest lectures from high-flyers in industry have been really fascinating, particularly, those from start-ups and entrepreneurs. Hearing what they have gone through and how they have overcome the many issues and problems to get their business off the ground has been inspiring. My fellow students have also been inspiring. We have so many different backgrounds and cultures in my cohort that every lecture there is somebody who can provide a real-life example or a different perspective on what is being taught.

All the things mentioned above have helped me gain so many new perspectives and understanding of the multifaceted dimensions of business. I appreciate the quality of knowledge I gained during the workshops, lectures, guest lectures, and interactions with the students in the classroom. I see the potential of implementing my new knowledge and skills in my business when I go back home.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? When I started to apply at WBS, I made sure I had a good SOP beforehand. It helped me to understand my own motives to do an MBA better. It was also useful for the programs team to know my past work experience and future goals. I was clear I wanted to do MBA to strengthen my business knowledge, broaden my network, and understand the entrepreneurial ecosystem in a new market. With these particular thoughts in mind, I sent my application and scheduled my interview.

I had also researched on the modules that WBS provided and realized that it very much aligns with my interest and would support me to understand the topic better, which I can further implement in my work. I also talked to few alumni to understand the school better.

During the interview process, I was very much open and honest about everything I said during the interview and the whole process turned out to be so much fun.

Post-interview, I took the Warwick test and did pretty well (76%).So I think my overall past experience, my present performance and determination for my future goal was the overall reason that gave me an edge during the application process.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It was Yon Bonwuttiwong from Thailand. She is undoubtedly the jolliest and hardest-working girl in the current MBA cohort. I was fortunate to have her in my syndicate group during the first term and observe her working style closely. She is a doer and makes sure that things get done. Her dedication to conducting in-depth research on every topic inspires me. She makes sure to note down everything during the group meeting, further utilizes her time at postgrad hub to research on the topic, and also makes sure what we deliver is what the assignment has required to ask. She comes from finance background and she has worked with companies to take it into Initial Public Offering (IPO). Being a startup entrepreneur, it was interesting to understand how companies grow in different markets.

Apart from her academic excellence, she is a person with so much positive vibe. She knows how & what to talk to people. She learns different words from different countries and remembers it precisely to deliver it next time she meets them. I would say this is a very good way of making friends and influencing people, probably a reason why most people love her!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents. My mom has always been my support system and my father has made me understand the importance of education, which is dearly important to him. I thanks my father for developing the lifelong learning culture in our home that has encouraged me to read, share ideas, and keep an open mind to advances in technologies, science, and arts. Even after running a few successful ventures, I took time to pause and reflect. Now, as a result, I’m learning. You have not become something, but are always becoming! Thanks to my parents’ teaching I realize that one is always a lifelong student!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. To expand my bakery in at least eight different cities with 12 franchises in the next three years: The franchising process has started already with one franchise in Pokhara this year.
  2. To raise investment for my e-commerce venture: www.ugbazaar.com.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? 

The pandemic has given me a different perspective on doing business. I was highly disciplined and maintained a routine life. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I developed a new perspective on the importance of flexibility and adaptability, and how technology has transformed our workplace.

It was fun to work and track the work remotely with my team, letting them do work at their leisure and comfort. And still, they met all the deadlines. In fact, our IT team was more productive working remotely compared to the pre-pandemic era when they were working in-person. Realizing the importance of remote work and harnessing its power, our team built an app for UG Bazaar.

What made Nikita such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Nikita has been such a positive force for the MBA cohort. She has bags of energy and get-up-and-go with a real can-do attitude.

“Her entrepreneurial skills and mindset were what attracted us to her. She has a fantastic track record for entrepreneurship and not only has she worked hard to establish her own business, but to build an environment in her home country of Nepal for start-ups to thrive.

“For a country like Nepal, having young women like Nikita actively campaigning for entrepreneurs is vital. She is aiming to build a better future for her country and other women who want to move into the tech start-up space, she is an inspiration for so many. Nikita is actively lobbying the Nepal government and policymakers to improve the environment and regulations for e-commerce in her country as well as seeking to bring in overseas investment.

“Through her business she is encouraging more youngsters to become entrepreneurs and helping them establish their start-ups. Nikita’s determination and passion is contagious and the MBA will help her to acquire the knowledge, skills and contacts to keep growing her business and Nepal’s start-up environment.”

Karen Barker
Director of Recruitment and Marketing

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