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GOPIO organizes ‘Meet & Greet’ for Indian students

Chandrika Tandon and Gautam Mukunda in a fireside chat with students from India
Chandrika Tandon and Gautam Mukunda in a fireside chat with students from India.

In a fire side chat, Chandrika Tandon shares her success mantra with students

GOPIO-Manhattan organized a ‘Meet & Greet‘ program for Indian students studying in the Northeast to connect them to the community and providing mentoring opportunities and raise awareness of consular services at the Indian Consulate.

The program was held at the Indian Consulate in New York on Oct 21 with students from many universities across the Northeast participating in person or virtually, according to a GOPIO press release.

Chandrika Tandon, a Grammy-nominated artist and humanitarian, engaged in a fireside chat with moderator Gautam Mukunda, Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and  host of Nasdaq’s podcast “World Reimagined.”

“Students can succeed whether here in USA or in India, as long as they put in their work with honesty combined with hard work and dedication,” she said.

READ: Indian American couple gifts $100 million to NYU School of Engineering (October 6, 2015)

There is a merit-based admissions process at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and the incoming class has a very promising future with emphasis that new and existing students today have many more choices of majors to pursue such as computational biology not offered couple decades ago.

Tandon has donated $100 million to Tandon School of Engineering at New York University.

Mukunda’s questions varied from Tandon’s journey starting with her professional career to music to philanthropy.

Consul General of India in New York Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, host for the evening, highlighted that this year Indian students were the highest among the international community in the US.

READ: Chandrika Tandon: Connection, coordination and curiosity key to solving global problems (September 12, 2020)

The goal, he said was to expand the program to include more students from the pool of 200,000 students that come to the US for further studies to gain exposure to various services offered by the Consulate from registration at the Consular Portal, to cultural events to mental health support initiatives.

GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, who also serves as an advisor to GOPIO-Manhattan encouraged the speakers to mentor, motivate and guide the students.

“In the 1960s and ‘70s when a foreign student joined a university, he/she was given a host family, now with connected world and social media, the host family concept went away and the 4.5 million Indian Americans could serve as the host family to the new students.”

GOPIO-Manhattan Executive Vice President Prof Rajasekhar Vangapaty introduced the panel discussion moderated by Rajeev Kumar Goyle, attorney and a lecturer at Wichita State University

Goyle asked the panel to assist students in formulating their choices of major and career path and implored them to reflect on the fireside chat.

READ: Chandrika Tandon: Ellis Island is ‘symbolic beginning of the American Dream’ (May 30, 2020)

Srikanth Jagabathula, Robert Stansky Research Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Tech, Ops, and Stats at the NYU Stern School of Business, asked the students to “wear different hats, multi-task, go out of your comfort zone, explore and discover.”

Raj Pandey, CEO of SaaS and Services startup ZopSmart added, “students should immerse within the system, learn and connect with the people.”

Gagan Gujral, Director in the Financial Services Group added that students should not be afraid to ask for help from teachers and peers as he reflected on the cultural differences between homeland and the United States.

Shobhit Kumar, Senior Tech leader at a major Life & Annuity said, “Students should be willing to raise their hands and ask for help. It is a sign of commitment.”

Sridhar Ramasubbu, CFO at Trianz, advising students to take initiative and be ambitious but without stress, said, “leadership is not given, leadership is taken.”

Monica Arora, a partner and co-head of the Private Funds Group at Proskauer suggested “Students focus on the idea that is most important is building real relationships.”

READ: Chandrika Tandon: I sang before I could speak (December 1, 2019)

Dilli Bhatta, talking about his personal journey from F1 to OPT to H1-B to Green Card, told students “ask your employer whether they will sponsor your visa or not, but you give your best services.”

“Now that you are here, outside of your studies, you need to network with your professors, peers, everyone & communication is the key, ask for things,” he said.

Shivender Sofat, President GOPIO-Manhattan, who joined virtually spoke of the importance of mentoring to the students.

Siddharth Jain, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member & Program Coordinator called on Dr. Abraham to present Tandon and Jaiswal with mementos including First-Day Covers from GOPIO Foundation Day and a sheet of 20-Deepawali stamps.

Jain concluded with AC vote of thanks. Other GOPIO-Manhattan officials present at the meeting included Treasurer Braj Aggarwal, Co-Secretaries Dr. Lisa George and Bhavya Gupta and Raj Punjabi.

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