Kaushlesh Biyani reaches his goals with UEX’s Business Foundations Certificate
11/3/2011Kaushlesh Biyani is an alumni of The University of Texas at Austin who went “back to school” with University Extension (UEX) in order to take business classes and jump-start his personal and professional goals as an entrepreneur.
In the interview below, Kaushlesh discusses how courses offered by UEX as part of the Business Foundations Certificate program are helping him build his own business.
How did you learn about UEX?
I had heard about UEX while I was a student at UT, but never took advantage of it then. Now I really wish I had.
How is taking courses with UEX helping you to reach your goals?
I’ve always done freelance work along with my full-time job and had tinkered with a few business ideas, something more than just ad-hoc contract gigs. This program seemed like the perfect place to figure out if my ideas could be converted into a profitable business opportunity. It also seemed like a great place to meet like-minded, driven people and get feedback on my ideas.
How did you learn about the Business Foundations Certificate?
My advisor at UT told me about the program almost a decade ago, but I had forgotten all about it! I have a degree in business economics from UT, so I’m not doing this for the “certificate.” This program is so hands-on, that it gives you that perfect mix of theory and practical application that most undergraduate courses can only aspire to. For example, I put together a full-blown business plan as part of my entrepreneurship class, and I’m going to use that business plan to launch my new venture.
What courses have you taken already? Any additional courses that you’re planning to take?
I have taken Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. I’m hoping to take Legal Environment of Business, too, as that will help me figure out the specifics about incorporating my business and protecting my intellectual property.
What were the classes like?
The classes really exceeded all my expectations. I was impressed by the level of dedication that my professors showed, always willing to meet outside of class and office hours. My fellow classmates were great as well. And I can say that of all four classes that I’ve taken. The classes are a good mix of current students and people who’ve graduated and have been working for five to ten years. This provides a great balance and leads to some very varied perspectives and insightful problem solving.
What would you say are biggest benefits of taking courses with UEX?
Apart from the obvious time and cost benefits, the classes have given my week some structure. It’s easy to procrastinate on a business idea, when you have a full-time job and freelancing on the side. Having concrete deliverables and your classmates looking forward to seeing your ideas are very big motivators and really help you get stuff done! The classes have successfully helped launch my photography business, Biyani Photography. And I’m working hard on launching two other businesses.
Any advice to someone considering taking a course with UEX?
Best money you’ll ever spend. If you do the math, you get the best business consultant in the field (your instructor) and a focus group (your classmates) for the price of a single class! If you were to hire a consultant and a focus group to do the same, it would cost you upwards of $5,000. Taking classes with UEX is one of the best business decisions I’ve made!