follow us

From BITS Pilani to Schmooze: Vidya Madhavan’s Path to Redefining Networking

From BITS Pilani to Schmooze: Vidya Madhavan's Path to Redefining Networking

Vidya Madhavan, a distinguished Manufacturing Engineering graduate from BITS Pilani (Pilani, '15). With a strong background in technology and project management, she founded Schmooze, driven by her passion for genuine networking. Understanding the significance of authentic connections, she endeavors to revolutionize professional networking through her platform, empowering individuals to cultivate meaningful relationships.

How did your experiences at Stanford University compare to those at BITS Pilani, and what were your key takeaways from both institutions?

My time at Stanford University contrasted with my undergraduate experience at BITS Pilani. Stanford's postgraduate program was intensely competitive, with students focused on their career paths. While I missed the emotional bonds of BITS Pilani, Stanford offered a vibrant entrepreneurship environment and stimulating intellectual discussions. BITS Pilani stood out for its diverse talents, fostering deep friendships. Stanford emphasized taking action, while BITS Pilani centered on forming lasting connections. If given the opportunity, I'd cherish reliving my time at BITS Pilani for its invaluable connections.

You also mentioned your interest in economics. Can you tell us more about your love for this field and your experiences?

I'm fascinated by economics for its insight into human behavior. My thesis in microeconomics deepened my understanding. Having it read and autographed by Raghuram Rajan, former RBI Governor, was a highlight, validating my research efforts. This experience fuels my passion for exploring economics' intersections with other disciplines.

Can you tell us about your experience co-founding Schmooze, a dating app that matches people based on their sense of humor through memes, and how it promotes inclusivity, especially for women?

Schmooze, born from recognizing the importance of aligning vibes and humor in modern dating, prioritizes personality over superficial judgments. With 30% female users, it aims for inclusivity and empowerment. Advanced algorithms ensure user safety, detecting scams and catfishing while promoting meaningful connections through mathematical analysis. By prioritizing storytelling and deeper connections over basic profiles, Schmooze reduces superficial assessments, leveraging social media's positive aspects. It aims to make online dating inclusive, enjoyable, and empowering for all.

How do you plan on staying connected with BITS Pilani, and what role does the institution play in your professional endeavors?

BITS Pilani holds a special place in my heart, and my team at Schmooze is predominantly BITSians, including my co-founder. I actively engage with the institution through guest lectures, mentorship programs, and alumni events, prioritizing giving back to my alma mater. Despite the demanding nature of my work, collaborating with BITSians feels like working with family and fostering a sense of community and support.

 What advice would you give to women, particularly those interested in entrepreneurship or leadership roles?

First and foremost, I encourage women to embrace the mindset of "doing" – to take their ideas and turn them into reality. It's not enough to dream; you must take action and push yourself beyond your comfort zone to bring your visions to fruition. My advice to aspiring women, especially in entrepreneurship or leadership, is clear: Believe in your ideas and abilities, dream big, challenge limiting beliefs, and ignore negative perceptions. Seek out role models and mentors for guidance. You can make a difference, embrace your strengths, seize opportunities, and lead confidently. It's time for women to rise, shape their destinies, and impact the world meaningfully impact on the world.

Could you share a moment when failure and resilience were pivotal in your journey towards success?

Failure and resilience shape my journey, offering lessons in perseverance. Embracing "local maxima, local minima," I navigate life's peaks and valleys, finding growth in triumphs and tribulations. It's not failure itself but our response that matters most. Falling short is acceptable, but not trying denies growth opportunities. Each setback builds confidence, affirming my ability to overcome challenges.

How did your experience at McKinsey shape your journey towards entrepreneurship, and what lessons did you carry forward from that time?

My time at McKinsey was foundational for my career, shaping my leadership approach and entrepreneurial journey. Immersed in a culture of excellence, I learned to set high standards and push beyond my comfort zone. Observing diverse leadership styles, I identified my desired leadership traits. McKinsey instilled a continuous improvement mindset, urging me to relentlessly set ambitious goals and pursue excellence. These lessons drive me to push boundaries and uphold the highest standards in all endeavors.