Passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation, Nityashri Sankaran is also an ace tennis and chess player who enjoys dance, art, debating and public speaking. An ardent volunteer, she is the recepient of the Sharjah Award for Voluntary Work twice.

"Teamwork and leadership are extremely important to me," says the Hale student, who is preparing to pursue a World Bachelor in Business program at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. The only undergraduate program of its kind, it offers students the option to study at three universities. With Hale’s help she was able to receive a 25 per cent tuition scholarship to her choice of program. "I am so excited. Over the next four years, I will study in Italy, Hong Kong, and US," she says.

What inspired you to pursue this stream?

I participated and won an award in the Harvard Innovation Challenge, which focused on the power of businesses to rehabilitate society. After interacting with successful social entrepreneurs, and creating my own social business, I was sure that this was what I wanted to do – help people. I also participated in a research program through the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Who were your mentors? What lessons did you pick up from them?

My parents were my biggest supporters; my mother always emphasised the importance of hard work and persistence. My business teacher at school is a major motivator. The five lessons I picked up:

1. Never give up: in the past, I have probably failed more times than I succeeded. But my determination to achieve my goals got me where I am today.

2. Time management: learning to juggle academics and extracurriculars is a tedious process, but scheduling and proper distribution of time makes the difference.

3. Believe in yourself: Always believe that you are destined for great things.

4. Be a pioneer: don’t be afraid to think out of the box.

5. Humility: there’s no shame in seeking help, and learning to accept it.

What made you choose business?

My love for overcoming challenges and solving problems in the least possible time. Moreover, bearing leadership roles both at and outside school made me believe that I could excel in this field. In 2020, I organised a charity drive to help provide for my school custodians during the pandemic. The project was a huge success, and proved that I could take on bigger challenges.

What did you look for in a college/uni?

Some factors I considered were location, cost, my major, the social scene and campus environment, and career prospects. USC was particularly attractive because of their large alumni network, which I was sure would be helpful to me in the future. The counselors at Hale provided me with all the information I needed and were extremely supportive.

How did you build your profile?

Colleges crave applicants who are academically proficient, well-rounded and dream big. I’ve been involved in extracurriculars and social service since a young age, while achieving consistently good grades. It is important to find things you are passionate about and pursue them. I won the Sheikh Sultan Award for Inspiring Youth, which definitely raised my profile. Additionally, develop a profile so it reflects your career interests. I took part in innovation challenges exhibiting my abilities as an entrepreneur. I also took a summer course at Harvard University, and gained experience through internships.

Your dream career?

To become a social entrepreneur and contribute to my community in the coming years.

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