We are pleased to introduce you to Jigar Mehta, President of the Westminster India Alumni Network (WIAN) New Delhi committee.
Jigar is a talented entrepreneur, inventor of Honey Twigs – cleverly marketed mess-free sticks of honey for when you are on-the-go or need a quick pick-me-up. He graduated from the University of Westminster in 2010 with an MA in Marketing from Westminster Business School.
In his spare time, Jigar head’s up WIAN’s New Delhi committee and has great ambitions for the India alumni community. Here, he tells us a bit about himself and why he volunteers his time for the University of Westminster.
Would you like to introduce yourself to the alumni community in India?
I graduated from the University of Westminster in 2009 with an MA in Marketing and Communications.
For me, getting into Westminster was the turning point in my life. Very few people know this, but I was very shy when it came to public speaking. But by being a part of all the class presentations I gained the confidence to be able to face a crowd and address them.
I love meeting people, talking to them and finding out more about them. I truly hope to meet a lot more of you.
Can you tell us why the New Delhi committee is important for our alumni community in India and also for the University of Westminster?
The New Delhi Committee is a way of bringing alumni together through networking and social events, volunteering and social media. We are helping to ensure that new graduates returning home to India feel welcomed to the alumni community and have access to career support. As well as providing a way for alumni to have fun together, socialize and relive our memories of the University!
We want to create a vibrant, active Westminster community, where alumni feel they are supported and also have the chance to share their own expertise.
What has it been like connecting with other Westminster alumni at WIAN events, such as the New Delhi Reception on the 7 January?
Being a part of the University of Westminster is an experience that cannot be replaced. Meeting alumni, both new and old, and hearing their experiences helps me to relive all the days that I spent there.
Attending WIAN events is a great opportunity for us all to meet, interact and network with each other. We as alumni feel much more connected to each other and the University. The whole experience makes you feel special and leaves you with a smile.
Being President of the committee must be a huge commitment of your time. What do you gain from volunteering, and what would you say to people who are thinking of volunteering?
To those thinking about getting involved, I would say get in touch! I’ve benefited from being an alumni volunteer in so many ways; it offers the opportunity to widen my network in New Delhi, allows me to meet new alumni and catch up with old friends. I remember how I felt as a student and young graduate and I really want to support those that are in that position now. And to those young graduates thinking about volunteering, I’d say, consider the employability skills it’ll provide you with – it’s a great addition to your CV!
You came up with the idea of Honey Twigs while you were studying for your Masters at Westminster. Tell us about Honey Twigs and what sparked the idea for this?
The whole of Honey Twigs came during my Master’s dissertation. My course leader – Jon Pike – always pushed us to get original ideas. I had always liked honey and when I submitted my initial idea, Jon suggested that I take this idea ahead and not let it go.
Once I was back in India I worked for an entertainment venue. I was looking for a change and one day it suddenly hit – why not start something that I was passionate about and had already done the ground work research on in my dissertation? And hence Honey Twigs was born.
What are the challenges of starting your own business, and what have you learnt along the way? How do you keep yourself inspired?
Well, starting up in a business that I did not know much about was the biggest challenge. But I just put my heart and mind into it and got down to putting the pieces together. Sometimes it would get really frustrating when things didn’t go right. But I have learnt that if you put your mind to it, the path clears out. Persistence is the key to attaining success in any field. You just have to put your faith and energies in the correct direction.
Inspiration to do more comes when you see the results of all your hard work. Today Honey Twigs is available at all the leading stores in the metro cities and on the biggest online platforms. The biggest return is when people start appreciating and recognizing your brand.
What advice do you have for any of our current students or young people who are hoping to become entrepreneurs?
Be passionate, be persistent, be patient – the key to any successful venture or entrepreneur. And most of all have faith in what you are doing. It can be very frustrating in the beginning, but once you learn your way round, it gets better.
Tell us your best memory of the University of Westminster and being a student in London.
My favourite part of being a student at the University of Westminster was the diversity of students. Our class was a great mix of people from different parts of the world and it just felt like one big family and we still very much connected through social media.
Find out more about the University of Westminster’s international community.