Hi, I’m Abhi Vyas.
the kid who asked questions when nobody was willing to
I’m not perfect, I’m a work in progress just like the content presented on this blog.
These stories do not define who I am, nor can they. I’m constantly changing.
In fact, change is the only constant in my life.
I’ll do my best to document myself as I change.
All that’s in my control is what I do now, at this moment.
If there’s anything I can do to improve now please tell me–I’ll listen.
I started college on the pre-medicine track, on track to become a doctor in 7 years.
After spending a year as an EMT, 200+ volunteering at the hospital, and conducting research I questioned whether medicine was for me.
As a first-generation college student, I didn’t really know what options outside of medicine and engineering existed.
At the end of my freshman year of college, I went to this startup-weekend-esque event held by Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society.
The goal of the event was to create an environment for students to build teams, create a startup idea, and pitch it to investors in 48 hours.
My team and I had pitched the idea of a chatbot that would allow people to text their doctor’s office to book appointments.
We got 3rd place in the competition.
At the end of the event, I asked myself, “Why do you want to become a doctor?”
My answer had been, for the longest time, “To help people.”
I dug deeper, “Is becoming a doctor the best way for me to help people?”
I realized, “Maybe not. Maybe building a technology product that millions of people use or are affected by is the best way for me to help people.”
At this point, I had two options: either to learn code or to learn business by starting one.
That summer, I applied to an apprenticeship with a Rutgers alum who had started a successful marketing agency targetting mid-size businesses.
I got the offer and ended up living with 5 guys I had never met to build a separate marketing agency focused on small businesses.
I spent the summer sleeping on a couch in his living room and working 100 hrs/wk to bring this business to life.
After running our experiment for 3 months we realized that it wasn’t worth pursuing.
I returned to school in my sophomore year with a newfound perspective and decided to switch to the business school.
That fall, I learned the importance of networking.
I knew my parents didn’t have the connections needed to help me get an internship so I had to build a network myself.
I found that the best way to build a network was to go to events, so I went to every event that I could at Rutgers.
In fact, I became president of Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society so I could host more events.
After exhausting the number of events I could go to at Rutgers, I decided to go international.
I started applying for student tickets at industry conferences all over the world.
One of these applications was for an entrepreneurship conference in Toronto where Gary Vaynerchuk was a speaker.
Not knowing much about him at the time, I decided to go with a friend.
Gary’s speeches are often followed by a Q/A session.
During this Q/A session, I decided to get up and ask him a question.
Not sure of what to ask, I asked, “what would you tell your 19-year-old self if he was in the room right now?
He said, “to hook up with more chicks.”
I followed up by asking, “I missed an internship fair to be here today if you’re looking for employee number 706, I’m open.”
He asked, “Did you just ask for an internship?”
I gasped, “Yes!!”
He responded, “You got it!”
I just landed an internship at one of the best marketing agencies in the world by showing up and asking.
The following summer of 2017, I worked in the VaynerSmart department at VaynerMedia.
My role consisted of figuring out where the consumer’s attention will be in 5 years from now and positioning our brands on those platforms to take advantage of underpriced attention, VaynerMedia’s thesis.
At the end of my internship, I was fortunate to land a 1-1 meeting with Gary.
I thought of pitching him the business I was working on at the time but knew I wasn’t ready, so instead, I asked for someone to call when I felt uncomfortable.
He accepted and said he’d pick up whenever I decided to call.
For the rest of the year, I ran Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society with the goal of helping one more person see that there was more to the world than becoming a doctor, engineer, or a lawyer.
A close friend, Chris Sha, and I revived the organization and built it to 30 board members and 250 event attendees by the end of the year.
I even helped raise a small fund to help student founders in middle-market universities, like Rutgers, get funding.
It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my time at college.
After finishing an incredible internship at VaynerMedia that summer, it was now my Junior year of college. The time when everyone looks for the internships that become their first job.
While everyone was worried about getting an internship at the big banks, I decided to learn to code.
So I applied to a coding boot camp in San Francisco, Horizons, for the spring semester.
A week before the end of the semester, after I had put down a $1,500 deposit, bought a plane ticket, and dropped out of school for the spring, I decided not to go.
This past semester, spring of 2018, I was a full-time student working close to a full-time job at Interseller.
My role at Interseller — growth intern — consisted of everything from content creation for organic marketing, paid advertising, video editing, front-end web design, and working closely with the sales and product teams.
After an incredible 5 months of working at a venture-backed startup, I ended my internship.
I also rescinded my acceptance to an internship offer with Amazon for the summer of 2018.
Instead, I moved to Seattle to do more of what I love—writing, reading, and building—with people I’d work with for the rest of my life.
That’s the story so far…
Update, March 2019
I moved back to NJ in November to finish my last semester @ Rutgers.
If you made it this far, send me a message so we can get to know each other better!