The Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship scheme was started in 2008 to support promising and talented Indian students with financial need. The fellowship will be administered to the candidates who get admission to the Stanford MBA Program and will be based on merit. The Fellowship program is a generous gift from Reliance Industries Limited, the largest corporate business brand in India. The idea of this fellowship has its roots in RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who is an alumnus of Stanford Business School. The Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship covers costs such as tuition, course-related fees, living stipend, and travel allowance with an estimated total value of US$170,000 per Fellow. Here is an excerpt from the interview of the winner of this esteemed fellowship, Nitish Bandi from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

Educational background (SSC onwards):

I have done my schooling in Veeramachaneni Padayya Siddhartha Public School Vijayawada from 1986 to 1998. Post this, I joined Sri Chaitanya Junior College Hyderabad for IIT coaching. I got selected in IIT in 2000. My engineering in IIT Kharagpur was a dual degree program from 2000-2005 which comprised of a B-Tech Agricultural and Food Engineering and an M-Tech in Water Resources Management. After engineering, I joined i2 technologies in 2005 as a supply chain consultant and worked for 3 years. I traveled to China, Singapore and Philippines to work with clients helping them strategize their supply needs and implement them.

Next I joined a network driven private-equity group called 7 Avenues, which has interests in Retail, Agri business, services and Internet businesses in India. I was involved in the Agribusiness venture called BIG INDIA FARMS based in central India. This is a food supply chain company involved in the strategic sourcing of agricultural products across central India, and building the foundation for a modern food supply chains that will span across India. This includes Farming, Processing, storage and marketing of food products. I was managing the operations of the company, along with business development to operationalize the food supply chain concept.

Now to work further in the sector and understand the business principles I wanted to do an MBA. A global MBA will allow me to learn about International Business and put to practice the learning’s for development of the agriculture sector. I planned to apply to the Stanford MBA and the initiative by RIL seemed to be a perfect fit for my career goals. Hence, I applied for the Dhirubhai Ambani Fellowship and got selected for it, and also got admitted to Stanford.

Screening Process of candidates - selection procedure- written test, interview and GD:

We have a written application which was to be filled and submitted. After this, some candidates were short listed and invited to the interview. Intellectual vitality is the primary requirement. They test applicants to gauge their leadership potentials, understand their personal values, the diversity that they bring to the institute and their commitment to society

Any special preparation required:

You have to get selected for the Dhirubhai Ambani scholarship and also get admitted to the Stanford MBA program. There is no special preparation needed. The fellowship is administered by the University and they pay the fellows each semester.

Future career plans after study at Stanford:

After Stanford, I would like to gain some global exposure by working with a worldwide corporation. This will allow me to learn about International business and global trade practices. In the long run, equipped with the knowledge learnt at Stanford and the global experiences, I would like to return to India and work in the agricultural and food sector. This will enable me to contribute to the growth of my country and also our help our farming community.

Advise to the aspirants of this Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship?

Right now, there are lots of opportunities available in many fields. I would tell the students to choose what is more interesting and appealing to them. Please pursue it wholeheartedly and put in the hard work needed. Always remember that failure is the best way to learn. So don’t get disheartened by failures.

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