With the help of some friends, a Rutgers MBA student carries out his own brand of community service.

Experiences: MBA student shows some heart

Yashwanth Dhakshana has always been motivated to help others. Now, he's doing it around his MBA studies.

By Yashwanth Dhakshana

I strongly believe my motivation to do community service is genetic. This is because everyone in my family says that I’m an exact replica of my father whether it’s through his mannerisms, personality, or the big noses we share.

It’s only recently that I came to know about another thing I share with my father: our love of helping others. My uncle, who I connected with when I moved to New Jersey, told me about all the good my father has done for others – the Indian villages he donates to so children can go to school, the people he’s mentored and the thousands of dollars he gives to charities each year. My father has never told me about any of these things. Yet, without knowing about them, I’ve always been motivated to do community service and have helped as many people as I can. For example, I impacted the lives of 350 children by spending two years teaching third and fourth grade in an Indian slum.

So, in my opinion, my motivation to do community service is genetic – something passed down to me by my father.

At Rutgers I’ve continued to help others. Last November, I started a non-profit called Merak with a group of my MBA friends that feeds the homeless in Newark. Each Sunday we cook, pack, and distribute meals to the homeless in Newark. So far, we’ve handed out 252 meals.

I started a second non-profit called 3 Ps with another group of my MBA friends. 3 Ps stands for people, profit, and planet. 3 Ps focuses on teaching the basics of investing (like stocks, bonds, and real estate) to children in Newark. We’re currently working with students in McKinley Elementary and hope to expand to other schools in the coming school year. We also have plans to develop a smartphone app by the end of the fall semester. The great thing about the app is that it would allow children to learn investing without the need for a teacher or parent to guide them on the material. The app would also allow us to bring our content to children outside of Newark.

Ex-pe-ri-ence: The process of doing and seeing things and of having things happen to you; skill or knowledge that you get by doing something.

There are plenty of lessons that can be gained from doing community service. I was able to learn two important business skills as a result of organizing the non-profits at Rutgers. The first, was the importance of having the right team for the right project. Merak and 3 Ps are made up of different people. That was by design. Both non-profits are successful because each has the right team. The second skill was that nothing comes without effort. When 3 Ps was started, I made phone calls to more than 30 different schools, 29 of whom didn’t want to work with us. But I kept making phone calls, meeting different school officials, until finally someone gave us a chance. Had I given up after my first rejection, 3 Ps would not exist.

MBA student Yashwanth Dhakshana with his internship supervisor Cheryl Couch. He did a finance-oriented summer internship in Nevada with the Department of Rural Development.
MBA student Yashwanth Dhakshana with his internship supervisor Cheryl Couch. He did a finance-oriented summer internship in Nevada with the Department of Rural Development. Photo Credit: Yashwanth Dhakshana.

The success of my two non-profits fills me with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

At the moment, I’m a full-time MBA student, concentrating my studies in finance and strategy. When I graduate next year, I would like to work as a business analyst at a prestigious bank. One day, I hope to become the prime minister of India. While that may sound ambitious, I have a lot of ideas for how to transform India into a prosperous nation and holding the top job in the country would definitely allow me to implement those ideas.

Yashwanth Dhakshana is an international student pursuing a Rutgers Full-Time MBA with concentrations in finance and strategy. He is scheduled to graduate in 2018. His essay is part of an ongoing feature highlighting the experiences of Rutgers Business School students.

Photo Credit:Thinkstock/JPWallet/istock

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