Entrepreneurs Vishal Khera, MBA ’2000, and Vanitha Khera came to the U.S. as immigrants and went on to remarkable success. Now the Kheras are making that journey possible for other Indian graduate students through their gift supporting Graduate Fellowships in Business.
“To pursue his higher education dreams, Vishal saved while working in Singapore after undergraduate school, had no debt, and was fortunate to have part-time jobs,” says Vanitha. “But we see a lot of young Indian graduate students, especially from remote, tribal areas in India who don’t have as many means of getting financial support, who can benefit from this scholarship.”
Philanthropic engagement has always been important to the couple.
The Kheras spent a large part of their careers working at some of the largest IT consulting companies. In 2010, sensing that cloud computing was going to be a game changer, they built a company that would help Federal agencies move to the cloud using low-code platforms, like Salesforce and ServiceNow. Their company, Creative Systems and Consulting LLC, grew to around 300 employees and $65M in revenue by 2021, and was recently acquired by management consulting company ICF.
As the company grew, the Kheras pledged to set aside one percent of revenue for charitable giving. They also set up a matching fund for employees, so their team also had the opportunity to make a difference in organizations they cared about. Education has been a very important goal for them. They supported 25+ schools in India through Ekal Foundation.
“That had a tremendous impact for employees. It brought them together,” remembers Vanitha, CEO of Creative. When team members did local service projects at homeless shelters, the company posted photos on LinkedIn. That inspired other companies in her network to engage in service projects, says Vanitha.
The Kheras are involved with humanitarian organizations providing education and disaster relief services in the United States as well as underserved communities in India, and continue to be involved with the Smith School, with Vishal being a recent addition to the school’s Board of Advisors. And they’ll continue telling the story of how being involved makes a difference.
“Some people don’t even think about making a contribution under the assumption that it will not make a difference, but I think that sharing these stories can show people the difference you can make,” Vishal says. “You need to see someone else doing it so you realize ‘I can do this too.’”
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.