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Next Genius Scholarship Winner presently a Data Engineer at PepsiCo

Nithesh Bonugu, a Next Genius Scholar got an incredible opportunity to work at PepsiCo.


Nithesh Bonugu graduated from Texas Christian University, in 2022 majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics.


During his senior year at P. Obul Reddy Public School, Hyderabad, Nithesh applied for the scholarship through the Next Genius portal. He was shortlisted for the final round of interviews after the Next Genius Level 1 test, for which he visited Mumbai for the first time. Though navigating through the city was tough for him, he eventually made it and won the life-changing Next Genius Scholarship.


Regarding his experience at TCU, Nithesh shared, “It is mandatory for students at TCU to stay on campus for the first two years, but I chose to live there for my entire four years of college. The dorm life is simply amazing; it is an ‘immersive experience’ with numerous events to go to around campus and people to hang out with after classes. It feels like a second home. You will make many friends starting from day one, and some of them will remain your friends throughout college and beyond. In the first couple of years, I used to spend most of my time with a few of my friends, but when I started looking for jobs, I had to start networking and move out of my comfort zone. The exciting part is that the moment you start conversing with people, they introduce you to their peers, and that’s where the chain begins.”


Nithesh also spoke about the international students and the faculty on campus. He was fascinated with the education system in the US, which is quite different from the system in India, where students stay in one class, and the professors rotate. It was the biggest academic change for him. Many of his friends helped him learn how to approach professors, build rapport, and much more. He recommended interacting with professors in and out of one’s major department.


The TCU campus has a large number of restaurants to go to, theme parks at a close proximity, and a lot more. There are four coffee places, three main dining halls, and they are expanding the campus by building new dormitories. The college campus is a good place to take a walk around because it is full of greenery and flowers like tulips and jasmines. The football stadium is another good place to go to, which is always open. Nithesh added, “My favorite spot on-campus to hangout is Fuzzy’s, a taco restaurant. To add on, there are other peculiar practices here at TCU. Many believe that touching the frog-statue by Sadler Hall gives you good luck; and I can vouch for that.”


Further, Nithesh talked about the Career Centre on campus and his experience during that time span. He said, “The Career Centre helps students craft their resumes, and connect them to several alumni and recruiters. There are some firms that connect candidates to companies as a contract role, so you can work there for a brief period of time; and then, depending on how well you perform, they may hire you full-time. A career fair is held once or twice every semester. Employees from across the US come to TCU, and all you have to do is wear a suit, present your resume, and talk about your skillset to potentially get an interview. You can also talk with your professors on how you can network and connect with alumni you might not know.”


As for his career-related plans, Nithesh is currently working as a Data Engineer at PepsiCo.


While concluding, Nithesh gave some advice to all the future Next Genius scholars. He said, “If you plan to major in CS, learn about lead coding as early as possible. There is a website called leetcode.com with questions similar to those you get in your interviews, and it requires months of constant practice. You will receive plenty of assignments, but do not panic. For those pursuing non-CS majors, be outgoing. Even if you are an introvert, talk to people outside your circle and keep pushing yourself. Maintain all the connections you build. Your sleep cycle may become disoriented because your life will be different. Do not procrastinate your work; you will regret it. You have good resources, amazing places to visit, and friendly people to be with, and to make the best of these, you have to take the first step.” To apply for the Next Genius Scholarship Program, visit www.next-genius.com.

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