Humans of Haas: Vedika Dayal

Hailing from New Jersey, Vedika Dayal is a sophomore in the Global Management Program (GMP) at Haas. A fellow writer on the Haas Undergraduate Blog, Vedika is also the Director of Marketing on the GMP Student Board, a consultant for the Association for Socially Responsible Business, and the Entrepreneurial Lead for the Venture Capital Investment Competition. 

In addition, Vedika is a budding author whose book, Think Outside the Odds, will be published next April. Pre-order a copy here! She also writes a weekly newsletter called “Caffeine for Your Inbox.”

What is your favorite class at Haas?

My favorite class is UGBA 198, Build the Future, where different speakers come in and talk about experiences related to startups and entrepreneurship. Hearing from all these entrepreneurs who come from many diverse backgrounds, you see there’s not just one way to do business, and there’s not just one way to start a company. There’s not even one way to influence – some of the speakers were COOs instead of CEOs, so hearing from all of their different experiences made me a lot more excited about the space. 

Why did you decide to write a book?

I’ve always had a childhood dream of writing a book, because growing up, reading gave me a lot of love for the world. I’ve always wanted to walk into Barnes and Noble and see a book with my name on it. 

I’ve heard many entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19 talk about turning their disadvantages into advantages, or their wounds into wisdom. That was empowering to hear because I’ve always felt like a bit of an underdog. At the same time, I didn’t know how to take something I thought was a disadvantage and turn it into something really powerful. 

That reflection set me on a journey of talking to entrepreneurs who have struggled to get to where they are, and rather than simply overcoming that struggle, they have channeled it towards their own growth and innovation. So, I started to compile what I was learning, and that evolved into something bigger. 

Where do you find inspiration for writing?

I find inspiration in conversations, especially when I’m not a part of them. I love hearing other people talk and express their ideas. Often, I’ll go to coffee shops and try to soak up the environment and the different things people are saying. I’m inspired by those everyday interactions, because the people I’m writing to are normal people who may feel like their dreams are out of reach. Hearing other people’s energy excites me, and I want to pass that onto my readers. 

What have you learned about yourself while writing your book?

I’ve always been a little introverted and I’ve always thought of myself as someone who works best when I’m on my own. But one of the things I’ve learned from writing is that I love having conversations with people, and through this experience, I’ve talked to so many people through weekly interviews, events, and workshops. I’ve come to love the process of getting to know strangers and their stories, which is something I never thought I’d say.

By Sara Cheung

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