The art of business
Suhani Mukherjee is passionate about business, dabbles in mandala art raising funds for charity and is a talented musician. She reveals the lessons she learnt from a summer program at Berkeley Business Academy
Asenior high school student in Dubai, Suhani Mukherjee is completing the International Baccalaureate program. With a passion for business (she runs Reminders Atelier), art (she has conducted multiple art workshops), and music (she has just graduated from the Trinity School of Music in Rock and Pop vocals), she is also affiliated with studentbased NGOs in India and has taught Mandala art to over 100 high school students and senior citizens. ‘‘Through this, I was able to raise funds for an NGO, which provides art supplies to underprivileged children,'' says Suhani, who completed a competitive summer program on Business management with Berkeley Business
EXCERPTS FROM AN INTERVIEW:
What were the lessons you learnt from the business you launched during the pandemic?
During the pandemic, a particular kind of rings- chunky clay rings – was trending and I purchased one online. However, I was soon disappointed because I found it very uncomfortable to wear. That disappointment inspired me to create rings of a similar fashion on my own.
Over the course of running this small business, I faced numerous issues, including those related to licensing, distribution to meet international demand and finding time once school began. However, over time, I was able to learn a multitude of new ideas and concepts about business that helped me overcome these setbacks. Through this I learned to always be willing to ask for help when required. I had always been reluctant to seek help, believing that completing the task myself would prove to be most meritorious. The true objective in any of my ventures now focuses on how much I can learn from the experience, so that my skills can be honed and applied to situations where necessary.
Tell us about the art workshops you conducted.
I am a self-taught artist, practising Mandala art since I was 11. Over the years, I have developed designs with deeper meanings that resonated with me. When my friend, a member of an NGO in India, asked me if I could help raise funds for their project, I immediately grabbed the opportunity. Over the course of a few weeks, I developed and curated a “Beginner's Mandala Guide”, a book on how to create original patterns in Mandala art. Although the book was not published, it helped over 150 students who attended my two-week workshop, the basics of this art form.
Share your thoughts on the summer program at Berkeley Business Academy.
I applied to Berkeley Business Academy for the Youth, a very competitive summer course that accepts only 50 students. This summer course was spread over 10 days, for 6 hours a day, throughout which we had professors and corporate guest speakers who shared their insights on experiences. Even though this course was online, I got the opportunity to meet many brilliant international students.
We were divided into groups of culturally diverse students which boosted my global engagement and collaborative skills. Throughout the lectures, one of the main focuses was sustainability and the ethics of our choices, and we analysed the actions of already existing businesses, providing innovative alternatives to their unsustainable approaches.
By the end of the two weeks, each group had to present a business idea and a plan to judges to raise “equity” for our “businesses”.
Through this course, I was able to open up more and speak up to voice my opinions, as it helped me be less introverted. I was able to practice being more open-minded and learnt to be a better leader by making sure no member of the group is being excluded from discussions.
At the end of the course, I realized that one of my strengths when working in collaboration is organizing the activities of the group.
What is your dream career?
I intend to study integrated design in the future with a mix of business management so that I can apply design into my future business ventures.