My Takeaways from Hult Prize Experience

It would not be incorrect to assert that the education system of our country is flawed. The lack of conscious effort in upgrading the syllabus, curriculum and educational system is evident. There is a critical absentee in any technical education in Nepal: entrepreneurship.

During my four years as an undergraduate student of civil engineering at Tribhuvan University, I felt the education system was designed to make us job-holders rather than leaders. We read and learn the syllabus thoroughly but the requirements we need to be competitive at corporate level is inadequate. We lack basic skills of communication, leadership and team management.

What lacks in the curriculum designed by the system is being fulfilled by several other platforms nationally and globally. One such platform I came across was Hult Prize. Through this program, I not only learnt how to accept an opportunity as challenge but also how to create opportunities. It made me realise that unlike what we learn in classes that risk taking is hard, it is actually inevitable. Risks come attached with opportunities and with such chances, comes success.

Accredited with one of the most important social entrepreneurship awards in the world by Forbes, Hult Prize, in partnership with the United Nations, is the world’s biggest engine for the launch of for good, for profit start-ups emerging from university. Every year 1500+ universities Students from all around the globe participate in the challenge to bring a change in their respective societies.

Named the “Nobel Prize for students”, ranked amongst the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Co., and “Top 5 Ideas Changing the World” by TIME Magazine, Hult Prize has trained over one million youth in impact entrepreneurship over the past decade. The movement has deployed more than USD 50 million of capital into the sector, mobilized and empowered millions of young people think to rethink the future of business. The main aim of this challenge is to ignite the fire of social entrepreneurship in students and help them inculcate habits of leadership and self reliance.

I was the Campus Director of Hult Prize at IOE Purwanchal Campus for year 2019/20. This program has really been an important chapter in my life as it helped me change my perspective towards social change and entrepreneurial mind-set. It was a learning experience for me, where I learnt the application of quotes and theories into real life situations.

From a normal student of the campus to organizing the first On Campus Program for the campus, the journey was enthralling as well as a learning experience. Reminiscing the program makes me remember all those people who encouraged me to apply for the post, helped me conduct the program and stood by my side through the entire journey.

Participating in extra curricular activities always coaxed me, be it in school or college. When I joined my engineering college, I was lucky enough to have found my seniors who shared the same mentality as me. The supportive environment in the campus inspired me to look after learning from different programs.

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I got to know about Hult Prize while I was having one such conversation with my seniors. I applied for the post of Campus Director. Before me, in the past years, other students had also applied for the same but consequentially, were not selected. But what they were able to succeed in was imprinting our campus’s name in the mind of Hult Prize Community. So, when I applied for the post, luckily, I was selected and for the first time, our campus was to hold an On Campus Program. Thankfully, I always had my seniors as guide for me throughout the journey.

The selection as Campus Director was easy as compared to the completion of the program. I had taken a leap of faith in applying as Campus Director but the success or failure of the On Campus event had to go through test of time.

The first step was to recruit energetic and enthusiastic team members who would be the part of this wonderful journey. I believe that a team with a common goal can eventually lead to success of any endeavor. When people with alike mentality work for a similar goal, the work becomes easier and the working environment is motivating.

After the organizing committee was selected, we started the phase of planning. Several ideas were bounced between one another, positive criticism were faced, many brainstorming sessions were done among the committee and finally, a layout for the program was zeroed on. From recruiting Campus representatives to mentorship sessions, the team had planned it all.

I not only got an opportunity to work with amazing people but I also learnt the importance of team work, leadership and communication working with them.

With the hard work and dedication of the team, the On Campus was successfully completed. What had started as just a normal conversation between some students resulted in a successful completion of a program, one of eight On Campus Rounds in the country.

Throughout the journey, I was unsure about my capabilities as a Campus Director but at the end of the program, the hard work and constant dedication of the team helped me realise my potential and be a part of change. I was able to gauge the leadership abilities in me.

As Mr. Dumbledore in Harry potter quotes “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices .”, we should always strive towards positive choices and work with dedication towards achieving the goals.

In the book 5 AM Club, the author says truthfully that “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”. The beginning of the program (or for me, the advent of new perspective towards personal change) was challenging. From team selection to planning things, there were too many suggestions, options and decisions. But at the end of the program, when the jury was deciding about the winner of the program, my heart was doing somersaults as the program was about to end and successfully at that.

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I learnt a lot from this program on a personal and professional level. The major takeaway for me was to realise that waiting for a correct opportunity to come to you at the right time when you are at the right phase of mind is too rare to actually occur. It is upon you to make the time right and be prepared.

 I always believed that the will to do something is as precious as your ideas. It was really appreciating to see all the participants equally elated about the results without a tinge of jealousy or partiality, I realised the true spirit of competition then.

The journey changed me. Before, I used to wait for any opportunity to come to me but now, I realise it is we who create our chances. The only thing we should keep doing is to try and evolve, be a better person than we were yesterday. We should be the change we wish to see in the society.

There were many people who helped me during this program but the seniors who I entirely owe this to are Aashish Poudel, Shasank Pokharel, Aviyan Das and Ashish Dhakal.

Following on by the saying in the book ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’, “When the market crashes the bankers put away their jeans and bring back the ties. But the entrepreneur simply rolls up his sleeve and works twice as hard.”

I am now the Community Manager of Hult Prize Nepal Community and trying my best to share my journey and learning with new Campus Directors in the country. Tough times require quick and sustainable decision making and through the program, we learn to analyse the situation and decide up on the right course of action.

Kabit Labh is an undergraduate civil engineering student at Purwanchal Campus (ERC), IOE. He was the Campus Director of Hult Prize at IOE – ERC for the year 2019-2020. He has also worked as the Business Head of DELTA 1.0, a national level technical festival held in Purwanchal Campus. Currently, he is working as an advisor for CESS-ERC and also as the Community Manager for Hult Prize Nepal Community.

Hult Prize at IOE, Purwanchal Campus is currently hiring Campus Representative. For details, click here.

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Kabit Labh

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