Even as the pandemic took a mental toll on us, a strong-headed Sanskruti didn’t let it deter her aspirations to create sustainability and change for society.
19-year-old Sanskruti Dhawley (BBA intake of 2020) founded Synergia with an aim to spread health resilience amidst COVID-19 and build strong mental and physical health through Yoga and Meditation. A Dean-lister student and a Yoga entrepreneur, she is also the Project Head at UPAY’s Campaign Manzil.
As Sanskruti completes her Bachelor of Business Administration program, what are some of her biggest takeaways from SP Jain? How did she score a perfect CGPA in her previous semester? All this and much more! We caught up with our young entrepreneur to find out.
Q. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a 19-year-old sophomore student who feels strongly about sustainability and change. This drove me to lead a pan India project for 300+ underprivileged kids and women, managing 50+ volunteers with an Indian NGO called UPAY. With that, I am a Dean’s lister student and a struggling young Yoga entrepreneur. I love to dance, swim, and read! I am a believer in the thought that there is a meaningful flow attached to everything we do in life. One thing leads to the other, building you a cycle of productivity.
Q. When did the idea of Synergia first strike you? How did you get your first few clients?
My interest in Yoga grew out of my childhood forte of Contemporary dance. After graduating as one of the youngest instructors from Sri Sri School of Yoga, Rishikesh, I wanted to commercialise the skill while looking at it from a sustainability eye. The aim of Synergia since day one has been spreading health resilience amidst COVID-19 and building strong mental and physical health through Yoga and Meditation.
I come from a house of Engineers and Doctors. My initial lessons about Entrepreneurship were from my favourite POM Professor Shrinivas Shikaripurkar. My baby business wasn’t doing very well back then. In our sessions, he mentioned about agility in contemporary businesses and capturing niche markets. He motivated us to write a business plan and taught us the basics of Marketing, helping me to get my first clients.
Q. Your first clients are always around you! Your most immediate circle.
A great brainstorming activity, in this case, is Reverse Brainstorming. Don’t look for clients instead, look for friends and family members who your first clients could potentially be. They give you your first testimonials helping you kick-start your business.
Q. How did you manage taking sessions in Singapore?
Our Global Learning Director at SG Campus, Mr Nathaniel, was kind enough to shoot a mass email about the weekly session every Wednesday at 5 PM at the Leadership Hall. In the very first week, we had a great response; six people from the master’s cohort joined the session, each one with a unique purpose to find in Yoga.
For example, I share the same hometown as Mr Jay, who was seeking relaxation and regular practice through my sessions. I realised that resources such as ‘5-minute bed Yoga’ and ’20 stretches to do from your workstation’, etc., that I shared on our WhatsApp GC served better for this set of people. It was a restorative one hour, we did journaling and gratitude activities coupling it with meditation for an overall soothing experience.
Q. Tell us a little about how you started working for the Indian NGO and your role in it.
After serving as an Art of Living Volunteer, I wanted to do something more pressing, experience a social problem closely, with more touchpoints. This was when I decided to join UPAY, an NGO dedicated to serving underprivileged children and women. Teaching in an actual slum, interacting with their parents, and constantly surveying the place was much more challenging and dangerous. I was promoted after nine months from a volunteer to the Secretariat of Operations.
One day on a brainstorming call with my Zonal Director and a great mentor Mr Faraz Rupani, he told me about a curriculum called DISE, developed to make learning the English language easier for students by focussing more on Listening and Speaking skills. This gave birth to Campaign Manzil, and we launched this Nation-wide Campaign engaging 300 students with 50+ volunteers. Manzil gave me the escape that I was looking for, being around smiling faces, and facilitating real change helped me take some time to connect with myself.
Q. What are your biggest university takeaways?
(1) One tacit rule to success – Network!
One valuable advice that I received from my seniors was building a strong network. Networking is a conscious effort to build strong social relationships and exchange ideas with people around you.
I got my full-time internship in Dubai through a network that turned out to be one of my best experiences. I was interning as a Reconciliation Specialist and Finance Strategist at Lal’s Group. My manager made sure that I took holistic learnings back, and hence, I was on three-day store visits and worked on operations strategy.
Another way of networking at college was through clubs. Applying for a position at TAMID was one of the best decisions at college. I was around the most amazing people at SP Jain, the best pool of seniors that I am still friends with. It is great to have such wonderful, helpful people around you that you can run to for help at any time.
(2) One way to cure all apprehensions is just ‘Do it, and you’ll know’.
If you are stuck with thoughts like, ‘I don’t think I am ready, I don’t have the right knowledge, I can’t do it, I will fail’, learn to trust your instincts and just go for it. That’s the only way you’ll know answers to the unknown.
Last summer, I had two internships in hand that I did not want to say no to - a part-time job and the other full-time. Working for Synergia and UPAY NGO was always my priority. I was stuck with thoughts like, will I have enough time and energy left? Will this affect the quality of my work? I’d only get an answer by just doing it, and I’m glad I took that decision. I had a very productive summer, being around amazing people, learning and networking. You never know when an experience could be life-changing!
Another way is when you want to do something, but you think you know too little about it, find someone at university who has already done it, could be a peer, a professor or an alumni. 99% per cent of the time, you’ll find someone who gives you a first-hand account of your curiosity subject. Ask them all your questions as you have the most helpful people in SP Jain.
Q. How did you score a perfect CGPA last semester? Is there a secret way to it?
I wish there were one, but Consistency is the key! Follow through the sessions, make your notes, revise, and practice. I was not always the most motivated chap in the class. One thing I discovered over semesters is that Motivation is overrated, environment does matter (James Clear, Atomic Habits)
Three things I always kept in mind;
(1) Surrounding myself with amazing people. TAMID was my way of doing it. Being SP Jain’s premier business club, it was in the hands of bright leadership, the best people at SP Jain, I would say. It was a good culture to grow in and opened doors for opportunities and learning. Look for guidance; I was around people who had already achieved a perfect score in the past. I had constant help and guidance, which added value multi-fold.
(2) Temptation building works magically. I would reward myself at the end of every study session. For me, it was as basic as a song. I would tell myself I could listen to this song only when I finished two topics. Creating a learning-friendly environment works!
(3) Find a place that gets to your zen mode. Some of the best places at the SP Jain campuses are as follows -
Dubai Campus: The Library, Music room, the evenings under the canopy shade of cafe’s in front of the campus, a small space with windows near the stairs with a place to sit – Level 2 (evening time), benches around DIAC.
Singapore Campus: Decision tree lounge (my favourite), Chill-out lounge, library. Also, when you go to block B on the second floor, there is a small but not so visible terrace; climb up the small uphill between Kamath’s and the Block A building (best spot for the grass + sunlight combo), high rise chairs in front of Uncle’s.
In a couple of months, I will have my Sydney Campus list ready.
Q. How are you planning to spend your summer?
After being on Singapore beaches for four months now, I plan to do my dream fellowship with a start-up company, in the start-up nation, Israel, as a part of TAMID’s fully paid fellowship. Every year TAMID nationals select a few students from each chapter around the world for this prestigious fellowship. It is my true honour to be a part of this cohort, sharing space with other fellows from Harvard, Michigan, NYU, and more. TAMID will cover major expenses such as Flight tickets, Accommodation, Food, etc. Apart from this, I will continue working from home for my internship in Singapore and build some progress on Synergia.