Student Spotlight: Nihaar Sinha
by Kathleen Toohill | University of Notre Dame
Nihaar Sinha founded and ran the Thomas Jefferson Consulting Club as a high school student in 2008. When county regulations deterred his goal of working with local non-profits, he founded SKA consulting. Sinha, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, continued to work as a managing member of the data-based consulting company until December of 2010.
Sinha graduated in 2010 from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the alma mater of recently profiled student AJ Swoboda. Sinha said he felt extremely well prepared for college after attending Thomas Jefferson, a school that developed and fostered his concept of what it truly means to be a student.
“The school is very challenging academically, but the students are phenomenal and really help push each other to do well,” said Sinha. “There’s a culture at (Thomas Jefferson) that rewards intellectual vigor, and students are constantly finding and creating opportunities to grow in all areas: intellectually, creatively, and more.”
During SKA’s busiest times, Sinha oversaw up to four projects at one time and managed seven employees.
“Data is king,” claims the “About” section of the company’s website. SKA offers grant-writing services, market analytics and demographic research, among other services, to a variety of clients, ranging from the Sankara Eye Foundation to Raise the Roof Tutoring.
“The toughest part about balancing school and SKA was not having an authority figure to make sure I stayed on track,” Sinha said. “Whereas school has set deadlines and obligations, startups are completely self-driven and it can be tough keeping your foot on the gas and driving growth.”
Sinha is now more interested in trading than consulting, though he said the analytical skills he developed while running SKA have been invaluable to his understanding of trading. “Trading, as with consulting, hinges on mining data and extracting relevant insights,” Sinha said.
Sinha is a sophomore in Penn’s Wharton School. He is concentrating in finance and statistics and minoring in computer science and math. Sinha also boxes, gives presentations for Wharton applicants, and mentors local elementary school students. He’s studying German and already speaks Hindi fluently.
“It’s nice to be able to pursue diverse interests, and the biggest challenge at Penn is not taking on too much,” said Sinha.
Sinha emphasized how valuable internships are for college students. He said that he learned his most important lessons the summer he worked as an intern at New Vantage Group, an angel investing group.
“My boss sat me down one day and told me you turn into the people you surround yourself with, so when you’re picking a career it’s important to look at the people in that field and ask yourself whether you want to be like them,” Sinha said.
“The other big lesson I learned from him was that your biggest asset is your time, not your money. You should pursue your passions, because ultimately working a job you hate just for the money will leave you unfulfilled.”
Sinha recommended that aspiring entrepreneurs be equipped to deal with crises.
“Any entrepreneur worth his salt is comfortable dealing with setbacks, has the ability to wear many hats, and above all is passionate about their work,” said Sinha.Kathleen is a senior at the University of Notre Dame. She is majoring in English and minoring in journalism and is currently an editorial intern at Notre Dame Magazine. She worked as an editorial intern at San Diego Magazine and a news intern at CBS News 8 this past summer. She works for Notre Dame's student magazine and coordinates high school visitation weekends for the Notre Dame admissions office.