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Next Genius Scholar Transitions into a Business Development Specialist at Morph Management

Vaibhav Pandey, a Next Genius Scholar achieved his goals at Wheaton College.


Vaibhav Pandey pursued his graduation from Wheaton College, Massachusetts in 2022.


While studying in grade 12 at Hilltop School, Jamshedpur, Vaibhav applied for the Next Genius Scholarship. The entire process of applying was a great experience for him. The Next Genius full scholarship provided him with an opportunity to study abroad and also opened many new doorways for him. According to Vaibhav, “It is not just a financial scholarship, but a scholarship that comes with connections and networks, which create a different atmosphere when you go to college. It has been a golden opportunity for me”.


On being interviewed about his experience at a liberal arts college as a Next Genius scholar, Vaibhav said, “I was never prepared in school to go to a liberal arts college and was always taught to choose a career path in advance, where I would have to continue regardless of what happens next or if I would still like it in the future. However, at a liberal arts college, you can come into the college without a plan and explore thousands of different courses before deciding what you would like to do. It has a small close-knit community which makes it very interactive and a place where people are acquainted with each other, and become your family. The place becomes home to you. My life would have been way too different in India or in any career-oriented college”.


Vaibhav further described his life on campus. Technically, he lived on campus for the entirety of his 4 years of college. He lived in the ‘Meadow’s East’, the biggest dorm on campus, for a year and a half during his sophomore year. After that, he moved into a theme house called the ‘International UC Davis House’, where he, along with ten other international students lived together and shared their cultures. However, he stayed back at home for 3 semesters and missed out on spending his junior year on campus due to the Covid pandemic. When he came back, it felt like he barely knew anybody from the new batches and as if he was reliving his freshman year. Moreover, he said, “The whole community at Wheaton is quite open, accepting and understanding. My friends and I have hosted many events and celebrated Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali on campus in our senior year. I was also the social media head and operations manager of the South Asian Student Initiative on campus”.


Apart from college life, Vaibhav spoke about the food available on campus. He said, “The college dining hall food is a problem for some students because they serve limited vegetarian options. The food on campus is good but the flavors are different from those in India, which is why, I have started cooking by myself”.


Vaibhav also talked about the professors in the college. He said, “Other than academics, you can also talk to the professors about your emotions. When I approached one of them regarding some financial problems that I was facing, he considered and gave me extra time. Whenever I did not understand a concept, I made sure to clarify it with the professor after the class. This is a skill that I lacked but developed it for my personality. My math professor had a really unique approach to teaching, and so does my business professor. All the professors are extremely friendly. They put in efforts to boost the confidence of their students. It is a community-building way of teaching and focuses on growing together”.


Further, Vaibhav shared about the Career Services and alumni network at Wheaton. He said, “The Career Services is immensely helpful. They discussed with us resume-building in one of the math classes. They host events to guide us about resume, CV writing, and applying to jobs. One event is held in every couple of weeks. They provide the students with various job opportunities on campus like the library, financial center, being a guide, and much more. You can earn up to $1000 and invest in things that can make you grow. Apart from this, you can contact the college alumni. You need to know them personally, make a LinkedIn connection with them and seek help from the Career Services to approach them. I took a good amount of assistance from one of the first Next Genius scholars, who also graduated from Wheaton, Rishil Sheth. I connected with some more alumni to understand how they built their careers”.


Vaibhav mentioned about one of his biggest achievements in his college life. In his freshman year, he took a class on ‘Fundamentals of Business’. The biggest project was to come up with a business idea towards the end of the sessions, which would prepare them to raise money on campus for a foundation and then donate it to them. A few of his classmates made portraits, and some others did services and much more. Vaibhav sold a few varieties of Maggi noodles, in different flavors and several Indian beverages. Within 4 hours, he raised $100, which was sheer profit. That is when he realized that even without doing much, he could help the society and give back to everyone. That is when he developed an entrepreneurial mindset and began to think of growth and sustainability.


At Wheaton, Vaibhav studied Economics, Math, and Business Management and he now plans to get into Marketing. Currently, he has two job offers in hand for the position of business analyst, related to sales and marketing. He is still building skills and developing his hobbies, such as, photography, shooting videos, and several others. In the future, he wants to become a data analyst and a career analyst, having an edge over marketing 5 years down the line. 10 years later, he sees himself receiving passive income from multiple sources.


While concluding, he shared some tips for aspiring Next Genius scholars. He said, “To be college-ready, have some idea about what you want to do before getting to your university. You should know how to network and contact people, especially through LinkedIn. You should know how to cook and maintain your relationships back home. When you get there, try new things, like those which you cannot try in your country. Play sports like I came here and started the Wheaton College Cricket club. Success should be your motivation. Just be amazing and be yourself”. To apply for the Next Genius Scholarship Program, visit www.next-genius.com .

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