Focusing on the Future

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BVN Alumnnus Chirag Kulkarni accepts an award on behalf of CAPS as one of the most innovative incubators in the world at the National Business Incubation Association conference. “At CAPS, students are not only focused and offered freedom, but are held accountable for their actions,” Kulkarni said. Photo provided by Kulkarni.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to priorities. If your priorities are partying until 5 a.m., then you will most likely fall behind the people that are working hard to achieve their goals,” BVN alumnus Chirag Kulkarni said.

As a freshman at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., Kulkarni is pursuing a bachelor’s in business in Finance and Accounting. However, Kulkarni spends a lot of his time getting real work experience outside of the classroom. Kulkarni, an up- and-coming entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of C&M Group, a strategy-consulting firm focused on growth and business development for organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 500s.

“We are focused on entrepreneurial consulting, meaning that we work directly with companies that are looking for innovative, driven and out-of-the-box thinkers to create change within an organization,” Kulkarni said.

C&M Group looks at businesses and analyzes what are the unnecessary expenditures or cuts it can make to an organization. C&M Group suggests ways to improve customer experience and operations in a company.

“The consulting industry is based on trends. Many startups, or even companies that are introducing new products, don’t have trends to understand their company. We are a group of entrepreneurs who understand not only the turbulent nature of business, but also the emotional aspect that some consultants can’t relate to,” Kulkarni said.

“Outta The Box,” a web TV show showcasing some of the top young entrepreneurs from around the world, recognized Kulkarni as one of the top entrepreneurs under 21. His first company STR, a tennis racket-stringing business that he started in high school, received awards such as “second best business in Kansas City” and “top 15 business plans in the nation.” STR received a $6 million valuation and then was sold.

Kulkarni notes that when he started STR, he did not use social media to its full potential. Senior Allen Ye has helped spearhead social media efforts for C&M group.

“We primarily focus on delivering high quality content that will interest our readers on Twitter and Facebook. From there, we expect a percentage of them to actually become paying customers,” Kulkarni said.

As the social media consultant, Ye runs the company’s Twitter. This experience has made Ye interested in pursuing a career in entrepreneurship.

“Raj is an inspiring person and mentor. I’m amazed at the time and effort he has put into school and work and how much he has accomplished by himself,” Ye said.

Kulkarni can’t attend some school-sponsored activities because of meetings and business commitments.

“I try to balance between my work, school and family life, but the reality is my work life sometimes takes over if I am not careful,” Kulkarni said.

To deal with stress and keep himself on track, Kulkarni starts his day off at 4:30 a.m. with meditation. He also blogs as an outlet for his ideas and to give back to the community.

Kulkarni defines giving back to the community as changing someone’s life. He has received emails from people who thank him for giving inspiration to their kids and young people in general.

“I received an email from a guy who watched my interview with ‘Outta The Box’ and showed his two kids. Even though I am so young, I feel so empowered because I am impacting someone in a positive way,” Kulkarni said.

– Sydney House