Meet Siddhartha Sen and Shravan Khare, MBA students at CWRU and winners of the 2017 Startup Weekend Cleveland competition!
Tell us a little about the Startup Weekend Cleveland competition and the success your team had there.
The Startup Weekend Cleveland held by Techstars is an annual event in which teams compete for prizes up to $40,000 to fund a new start-up or to develop a new piece of technology. Our team - INSPIRIT, designed a sensor to monitor real-time and accurate hydration levels. We specifically chose the target segment to be elderly patients at nursing homes around the US although there are broader implications--marathoners, hospitals, health conscious people--everyone can use it! We went through 2 rounds of competition, and in the end, our team won! Now we have the opportunity to leverage the prizes and the companies we can work with such as LeanDog, SmartShape etc. to develop this idea!
What made you want to study at a US university and CWRU in particular?
Sid: My brother, my friends, and colleagues had studied abroad. After gathering reviews from most of them, I understood that the US would be the best option for me due to the structure of education and the flexibility of people here to accommodate and help internationals. I chose CWRU because I shortlisted a few universities and then asked some of my relatives who stay in New Jersey to review them for me. They found out more detailed information and told me the culture here is superb for international students, the campus size and quality is amazing, and the education system is top notch. I sent in my application and got accepted, and as they say, the rest is history.
Shravan: The design aspect of CWRU, entrepreneurial spirit and the scholarship I received. I heard the US is a land of opportunity for startups.
Name one thing about studying in the US that you had heard about before arriving and was surprised it was actually true.
Sid: I had heard that the professors are like friends and mentors because they are always trying to be available to help you inside and outside of the course material, which in my experience, turned out to be absolutely true.
Shravan: I had heard about the resources this university has for creating start-ups and now am experiencing that, which is amazing.
Name one thing you tried for the first time while studying a CWRU. Did you like it?
Sid: I tried a hotpot dish with some my international Chinese friends from my cohort, and I have really started enjoying it whenever I have it now!
Shravan: Start-up culture. It is truly motivating.
What do you miss most about your home country?
Sid: My family, friends and most of all the variety of food.
Shravan: My family and friends from there.
What is something you love about Cleveland?
Sid: I came from very fast-paced, busy city - Mumbai. For me, Cleveland was very peaceful which was exactly what I wanted. It has the right mix of silence and noise, which gives it an amazing ambiance for students and young working professionals.
Shravan: The rejuvenated entrepreneurial spirit which is high right now.
What is your favorite place to visit in the Cleveland area?
Sid: My favorite place is the downtown Cleveland because there is so much to do there. From entertainment at downtown to a peaceful scenic view at the flats, one can go there and have a great time!
Shravan: The Jolly Scholar, haha.
What would you like to do after finishing your studies at CWRU?
Sid: I am in the process of starting up a venture and already have one running, so hopefully, things can work out with both of those and I continue to put all my effort in making them successful.
What advice would you give to other international students arriving to study at CWRU?
Sid: I would advise them to get in touch with as many people as they can before they come, through LinkedIn or through ISS, and be as social as possible once they arrive. People here are very friendly and always ready to help, so being proactive will really help to develop an individual and build a network.
Shravan: Always believe in yourself, anything and everything is possible here!
How has your global perspective changed now that you have studied in the US?
Sid: I always interacted with clients from the Middle East and northeast Asia when I was back in India. But to experience the work infrastructure here and the quality of life here by living here has made me learn so many things personally and professionally which have honed my skillsets and my mentality as a person. I will always cherish coming here and take away all the positives I can.
Shravan: It has changed my thinking in many ways. I have become more adaptive, more flexible and more open to new ideas!