A Kumon Maths Completer who is pursuing what he loves

Dec 2019

Rishi Nagarajan completed the Kumon Maths programme in his matric year, in 2017. Straight after school he completed a semester at UCT while he waited to hear if any of his applications to universities overseas had been accepted. In April 2018, Rishi heard that his application to the Georgia School of Technology (Georgia Tech) had been accepted, and he started his first year in Atlanta that same year.

The decision about ‘what’ to study was between computer engineering and electrical engineering. Rishi finally decided on Computer Engineering, and was excited about the programme offering at Georgia Tech as it offered opportunity to study both the hardware and software side of computer engineering, and to minor in computer science. Rishi, now in his second year, made use of the year-end break to attend ‘Summer Classes’ online. He currently takes seven classes at university, when the average is five. By taking extra classes while on ‘break’, Rishi aimed to free up his workload for his second year so that he could do the additional minor, and still graduate within four years.

Rishi would love to work in the aerospace world one day, with his dream job being to work at SpaceX, doing Research and Development. Another dream job would be to work for BMW or in the manufacturing industry, working with embedded systems and micro-controllers. Elon Musk is one of the people that inspires him most, as he is from SA, and because he has done so well as a technology entrepreneur and engineer. Rishi loves that Elon Musk is energetic, and that he puts in a lot of work when something is important. Starting up he worked with what he had, slowly building up his own businesses to what he has accomplished today.

Another inspiration is Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, a digital media company that is generating a revenue of $131 million, and started as a social media company. Rishi loves Gary’s personality, the fact that he is so energetic, hard-working and charismatic. He sees Gary as a true entrepreneur, and admires his ability to market and sell things. Rishi takes times to listen to his talks for inspiration.

Rishi is grateful for his time with Kumon because it sparked his interest in maths, and deepened his understanding of the subject. From the start of his studies, Rishi was always a grade or two above his school grade, and this was always beneficial. He believes that Kumon teaches you how to teach yourself, and this will help you wherever you go, especially in university. It boosts your confidence, as well as helping you with soft skills such as discipline, the value of hard work, and time management. Mom Sujatha was a great motivator throughout his studies, and “Aunty Zarina” and her staff encouraged Rishi’s total independence, and assisted him with time management and scheduling of his workload.

When Rishi was in Grade 11 and 12, he tutored his friends and other students on Grade 10 and 11 maths and Physics. He was confident enough to do this because of Kumon, and did it for the love of it.

Rishi says that it is hard work to persevere through the programme, and the work does get more difficult; but it is difficult for a reason. You may not see results at school, but you will definitely see it at university.

“Try to be the best in your environment, and if you really like something, give it your all.”

After graduating Rishi would love to spend a few years in the US, but would like to eventually work in SA as he believes there are many untapped business opportunities in this country. When he retires he would love to teach at his old high school in Lenasia.

Rishi is an inspiration for us all of someone who is pursuing what he loves, and who is making the most of what is available to him. We wish Rishi well as he completes his degree at Georgia Tech.