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College Career: Homeschooled to Harvard

To better understand the ideas and challenges of a 21st century leadership, Sharad received a full scholarship worth Rs. 4 crores to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in the United States of America. Sharad graduated with a B.A. in International Relations (with a special focus on International Security) and a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Tufts University, home to one of the world’s first and foremost programs on foreign policy and international relations.

In college, Sharad delivered guest lectures while still a student, managed the varsity Ice Hockey team as its first non-American Team Manager and ran his internationally awarded startup Dexterity Global from his dorm room. To raise capital to further advance a rapidly growing Dexterity Global, Sharad worked in the college dining halls, assisted researchers at the university’s science labs and served as a student monitor at a 130 year old interfaith chapel.

Sharad set some major records during his time in college. He was the first first-year student in college history to win the $100,000 Entrepreneurship Challenge. He was inducted in the Rockefeller Foundation’s global list of 100 Next Century Innovators while still a college student. He was awarded with the Paul and Elizabeth Montle Prize for Entrepreneurial Achievement as a second year student and the Davis Foundation Peace Prize the following year. On college campus, Sharad was the only individual besides a Dean (a famed geopolitical expert and formal NATO Admiral) to have a verified social media profile.

Sharad founded a pro bono startup-consulting firm, as a second year student, to enable other college students to build and lead startups and helped several student led teams in Greater Boston Area to launch their own technology startups. This led to the creation of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellows Program at Tufts University and Sharad was inducted as the founding ELS Fellow for the program. In 2014, when Harvard Business School announced HBX Core, its first program for undergraduate students, Sharad was admitted in its first cohort.

Sharad shared excellent relationships with the University President, the Faculty, Coaches, Trustees and alumni and was a regular invitee to scholar lunches, major university dinners, events with Trustees and to lunches and dinners with eminent guests visiting the college campus. During his four years in college, Sharad interacted and dined with billionaires as John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple and Jeff Rothschild, the former Vice President of Facebook, top White House officials as Jonathan Greenblatt, Direct of Social Innovation at the Obama White House and David Axelrod, President Obama’s Chief Strategist and many other notable CEOs, venture capitalists, politicians and world leaders.

As a graduating senior, Sharad was inducted in the university’s prestigious Honos Civicus Society in recognition of his academic achievements and civic leadership. He was awarded the Presidential Award for Public Service, the Wendell Phillips Award for demonstrated leadership and oratory, Senior Award for an outstanding college career and the honor to be the graduation speaker at the University’s 160th Commencement. He was one of the three graduating seniors in the United States to receive the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award and was the first Tufts undergraduate ever to make it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list while still in college.

In May 2016, Sharad became the first Indian in 160 years of university history to deliver the Graduation Address at Tufts University and later that month turned down a Master’s Degree offer from Harvard University to return to India to continue working with children and youth.

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