My Tryst with Entrepreneurship at Ashoka: Learning about myself and the world
Rohan Manoj shares his experience of choosing Entrepreneurship courses in his last year and the impact it has had on him and his outlook
My tryst with Entrepreneurship at Ashoka has been one of adventure, going out of my depth to attempt to try something that I had never come close to trying before and doing it with people that may be “Smarter” or have more knowledge of the subject field. I’d never done entrepreneurship before this semester began and didn’t know what to expect but decided to go for it and see after the first semester of the year whether I wanted to continue or not, while the first semester of the year had its ups and downs, moments where I wondered if it was truly for me, if I was good enough, if it was worth it, the answer to all those questions were definitely yes and I wanted to continue to pursue a minor and so much more. I’m unsure of whether I want to be an entrepreneur or start my own venture, however, I quickly realized entrepreneurship at Ashoka isn’t about wanting to startup by yourself, but is more about building the entrepreneurial mindset in an individual and preparing you for the outside world and these are skills that any organization would want, and in this regard, I learnt more in my one semester about myself and being a leader than I had in the entirety of the previous 21 years of my life.
This past semester I had taken 3 Entrepreneurship courses – Leadership Lessons from the Road Less Traveled, Venture Planning and Strategy, and Understanding Law for Entrepreneurs.
During my time on the road less travelled, the takeaways that I have had from Professors Sunil Handa and Rashmi Bansal supersede that comfortably. I’ve felt more empowered and confident in myself when I have heard their stories notwithstanding the fact that even a lot of the guest speakers that we hosted, had turned to them for help. Now that I see myself towards the end of the course, I see the transformation in myself as a professional, thanks to the opportunities I’ve been given by the Entrepreneurship Department. One key takeaway that I will hold and spread about entrepreneurship at Ashoka is that whether you want to be an entrepreneur or not it’s important to take these courses because even if you do decide to work, the mindset of an independent entrepreneur is crucial.
Whereas another course I thoroughly enjoyed was Venture Planning and Strategy in which having been from a psychology background, I have spent a lot of time analyzing behaviour within scope, with there being an outcome which is expected or lines in between that we couldn’t escape. However, with this course, I felt encouraged to colour outside the lines, to express thoughts which might, as ridiculous as they sounded have some semblance of truth to how it worked if analyzed in the correct method. One aspect that I loved about the course was the analytical aspect, the fact that we were encouraged to think on our feet, the fact that with the case we were encouraged to come up with a one-pager for a question that may or may not exist and more than that the fact that we discussed all the aspects of our cases with our peers, and even the faces behind the cases at times, and that we weren’t discouraged from asking the hard-hitting questions.
Last but not the least, the third entrepreneurship course that I’ve done was one with the most mixed emotions. It wasn’t too taxing because it was on a Saturday. However, when it came to the contents of the course it was arguably one of the most interesting courses that I had done in the semester, in the sense, no other course covered the length and breadth that this course covered. As someone that has a vast interest in law and has had generations do law, it was of great insight to me and offered the privilege to learn from esteemed practitioners.
My tryst with entrepreneurship is something that I really do want to continue post my time at Ashoka and really do believe that a lot of the relationships I’ve made with the faculty will be relationships for life and I will be forever grateful for this. That is something the Entrepreneurship at Ashoka has done that no other department has been able to do.
Rohan Manoj is an ASP’23 student at Ashoka University.