Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) aims to equip students in grades 9-12 with information about careers, entrepreneurship, and the skillsets they’ll need in their futures. We’re connecting with past MBV campers to learn more about how camp has impacted them, and where they are today.
Vardaan Gupta is a current freshman at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has been a part of MBV for four years, and, in his words, “I hope to continue for as long as I can with this amazing program.” Gupta is working on completing a double major in Mathematics and Physics with a focus on Finance/Financial Computation.
A Woodbury, MN native, Vardaan first learned of MBV through his brother, who has also been a camper and student staff leader. Vardaan has been filled the roles of camper, CEO, and returning CEO during his time at MBV. “I saw how much fun it was when I dropped [my brother] off and came to visit, and I also saw how much the camp helped him with his future in business and finance,” Gupta said. COVID-19 halted the in-person camp for Vardaan, making his two years at MBV virtual.
“The year that I came back as a CEO in-person, I was so shocked. I got to see all of the fun events, like the keynote speakers, the mock interviews, and more!” Gupta said. “It opened my eyes to how much more fun it [in-person camp] was, how many more people I would help learn more about the business world, and how many people I would meet that would impact my future,” Gupta said.
Meeting the adult volunteers, such as those keynote speakers and our Resident Business Leaders (RBLs), helped Gupta, as well. “RBLs and BestPrep Staff have played a huge guiding role in my participation and [desire] to continue at MBV as well as come to the realization that I want a future in the business or finance world. The RBLs showed me real-life experience in the business world and offered me insight on things I can do to improve my chances for jobs or even just internship opportunities. The BestPrep Staff have been nothing but supportive of whatever I needed, from letters of recommendation to offering leadership positions at camp,” Gupta said.
Minnesota Business Venture’s model is to connect students to a group, or company, that then prepares a business plan. At the end of the week, participants pitch their business plan to a panel of judges, or investors, and ask for a fictional loan to create their business.
“The program showed me how to plan out a business plan from the start to the end and how to pitch it to potential investors that might want to offer support to the company for partial ownership in it. Being on the finance team, I got introduced to all sorts of documents that one would handle with an actual team of financial analysts. It made me realize that, because of my history and experience with math, I would want to perhaps pursue a minor in Finance or just something in the Business realm,” Gupta said.
When asked if he’d give any advice to students considering MBV or any of the other BestPrep programs, Gupta responded “Just take it all in. Go into whatever you’re doing with an open mind. Make as many connections as possible with anyone and everyone; you never know when you might need them down the line…Try everything and do whatever you can to just have fun. This camp and the other opportunities that BestPrep offers are potential opportunities that could change your life forever. The number of people that I’ve met who had no idea what they wanted to do in their lives before the camp came out of that week realizing that they wanted to do something related to business because the camp opened their eyes.”
Gupta’s current goals for education and his career are to finish his four years at the University of Washington, with hopes of landing a job in research on math or physics, and possibly heading to graduate school. He still credits MBV for opening his eyes to the fact that teaching might also be in his future, as he really enjoyed leading groups of students through the business plan process.
In Gupta’s words, “Thank you to all of the donors, volunteers, and educators who have supported BestPrep’s programs and made my journey possible. Without you guys, I’m not sure where I’d be, how much I would know in this world, or even if I would want to do anything in business.”