Tippie Student Competes for Million-Dollar Hult Prize

This past month Karthik Iyappan Gunasekaran (MBA ’14) competed as part of a 5-member team for a chance to be awarded the $1 million Hult Prize by former President Bill Clinton.

KarthikAlongside Astha Singhal, Graduate College, Public Policy Center; Mitul Sarkar, alumnus, Neuroscience PhD Program; Sandeep Bodduluri, Graduate College, Biomedical Engineering; and Simrit Kaur Sodhi, Carver College of Medicine, Karthik’s team was selected out of 10,000 applications to move on to the regional competition in Boston, Massachusetts.

Though the team was not one of the six finalists, Karthik was grateful for the opportunity to work on a social venture focusing on helping the 250 million slum dwellers worldwide suffering from chronic diseases. He found the experience very rewarding, and was excited to receive valuable feedback on the team’s business model.

As team leader Mitul Sarkar put it, “Social entrepreneurship through the Hult Prize is an unparalleled opportunity for us. How many years of employment in a typical career track would it take before any of us reached a position to improve the lives of millions of needy people worldwide?”

The Hult Prize offers itself as a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship, and Tippie is proud that one of its own was selected to compete in the regional finals.

President Clinton said, “The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces.”

We look forward to future teams from Tippie continuing to participate in this worthwhile endeavor, and wish Karthik the best of luck in his future work.

Cheeni Rao

About Cheeni Rao

Srinivas “Cheeni” Rao is a 2014 MBA candidate. A graduate of the University of Chicago as well as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the founder of The Iowa Book Doctors, a publishing services company that edits and ghostwrites manuscripts for publication. He was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick in 2009 and is an accomplished novelist and playwright.