GOPIO Manhattan Organizes ‘Meet & Greet’ for Students from India at the New York Indian Consulate

Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York inaugurating the event

(New York, NY: September 20, 2021) The GOPIO-Manhattan (NYC) in cooperation with Consulate General of India in New York organized the ‘Meet & Greet’ for Students from India studying in the Northeast to connect them to the community and providing mentoring opportunities as well as to raise awareness of Consular services to students from the Indian Consulate. Students from 21 universities, mostly from the Northeast participated in person or virtually.

The chief guest/host for the evening Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswalcommented, “Welcome to all the students from India with open heart as you pursue your future studies here in the North-East region and help in the growth of economy here in USA and back home in India.”

He further highlighted the goal to expand this program to include more students, from the pool of 200,000 students that come to the USA for further studies, to attend in person more interactive sessions and gain exposure to various services offered by the Consulate for the benefit of the students from registration at the Consular Portal, to cultural events to mental health support initiatives.

Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, via a video message welcomed the students from India and commented “Indian Students continue to be a strong bridge between India and USA. Delighted to welcome the students virtually!  The education and knowledge partnership are an area that holds great potential in our bilateral relations. During my visits across US, I’ve always made it a point to visit universities and visit faculty and students there.” He further added “We have an active student hub and a dedicated student wing at the Embassy. You can count on them for any assistance.”

Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador of India to the United States, welcoming the Students from India

The program started with a welcome by GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, who also serves as an advisor to GOPIO-Manhattan. Dr. Abraham encouraged the speakers to mentor, motivate and guide the students.

Dr. Abraham said, “In the 1960s and ‘70s when a foreign student joined a university, he/she was given host family, now with connected world and social media, the host family concept went away and the 4.5 million Indian Americans could serve as the host family to the new students.”

GOPIO-Manhattan Executive Vice President Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty moderated the first panel on mentoring students in the current market environment and added his learnings to the students using his unique perspective as a Registrar of Fashion Institute of Technology, the MIT of Fashion. There were four panelists in this session who are asked to comment on several questions. 

Ms. Abha Kumar, Business transformation leader/ Board member Advisory Board Shopelier, Former CIO- Corporate & International Vanguard, shared her experiences with the students and said, “The way we worked in the past will not be relevant post-COVID…we now will look for employees who have the ability to have a wide perspective and connect the dots.”

Speakers and organizers at the ‘Meet & Greet’ for Students from India, From l. to r.: 1st Row: Speaker Akshat Singh, Speaker Apeksha Tewari, Speaker Ankit Chaudhari, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Speaker Joe Simon, Dy. Consul Varun Jeph and Consul Vipul Dev. 2nd Row: Dr. Lisa George, Bhavya Gupta, Speaker Prasan Kumar, Speaker Aseem Trivedi, GOPIO Manhattan EVP & Session Chair Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty, Speaker Neil Datta, GOPIO Manhattan VP Vimal Goyle, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member & Program Coordinator Siddharth (Sid) Jain

Ms. Kumar further added that students should master the technology component; the companies also look for certain emotional intelligence when they hire. Lastly, in corporate America, your work doesn’t speak for you, you need to speak for yourself.

Mr. Prasan Kumar, Senior VP & Strategy Director at Publicis Group & Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian New York College added “When you’re in a classroom, experiment as much as you can.” He elaborated, “bringing more than a text book education is significantly important, get your perspective as per your interest, helps you being a problem solver and think long-term for career choice reflecting from his personal experience of moving 4 careers in 2 decades from IT to advertising now.”

Mr. Neil Datta, Head of Due Diligence at Forbes Family Trust & Co-Founder Meritas provided insights in the current market context and said, “You’re either a fintech company or you don’t know it yet.” He further added, “The ability to be a problem solver is a crucial skill that helps you in whatever you choose to work in.”

Mr. Joe Simon, CIO at Entain which is involved in Sports Betting, echoed the thoughts of the speakers and added, “Cultural sensitivity is crucial.” He further added that in order to succeed, one needs to be fairly convinced about what one is trying to do and that the two most underrated skills in corporate America are patience and persistence.”

The second panel on F1 to H1B via OPT was moderated by Mr. Aseem Trivedi, Manager of Data Analytics at Ernst and Young. He shared his unique path to Green Card as an experience for the students. He reminded the students “One should start thinking now what after H1B?”

Some of the Indian Students present at the Welcome Reception with GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Dy. Consul Varun Jeph, Consul Vipul Dev, GOPIO Manhattan EVP & Speaker Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty & GOPIO Manhattan Board Member & Program Coordinator Siddharth (Sid) Jain

Mr. Akshat Singh, a recent economics graduate of Columbia University brought his experience with Students and shared the idea “Get started on OTP process asap and do not wait for 6-months or so.”

Mr. Ankit Chaudhari, Associate Vice President at JP Morgan Chase commented about his personal journey from F1 to OPT to H1-B to Green Card and suggested students “ask your employer whether they will sponsor your visa or not, but you give your best services.”

Ms. Apeksha Tewari, Master of Laws from Penn State Law and Lawyer, shared her personal views to the students as part of the panel said, “Now that you are here, outside of your studies, you need to network with your professors, peers, everyone & communication is the key, ask for things.”

Mr. Shivender Sofat, President GOPIO-Manhattan, who joined virtually told the importance of mentoring to the students, discussed chapter activities and motivated everyone to volunteer and become members at future events held by GOPIO Manhattan.

Mr. Siddharth Jain, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member & Program Coordinator; conducted the questions & answers session and concluded with vote of thanks to Chief Guest/Host Ambassador Shri Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Dy. Consul Shri Varun Jeph, Consul for Political, Education and Culture Shri Vipul Dev, Consul for Community Affairs Shri A. K. Vijayakrishnan and the consulate staff. Other GOPIO-Manhattan officials present at the meeting included Vice President Vimal Goyle, and Co-Secretaries Dr. Lisa George and Bhavya Gupta.

“The students had an excellent time networking with students from different universities as well as with speakers and the Consulate and GOPIO officials and we plan to do a much bigger event next year hopefully after the Covid restrictions are over,” Dr. Abraham added.

In accordance with its mission to serve the larger society and those in need, GOPIO-Manhattan Chapter has taken several initiatives in the recent past. A Community Feeding is organized by the Chapter providing ​vegan or ​vegetarian lunch for the homeless and needy at Tomkins Square Park in Manhattan on the last Monday of every month. The chapter appeals to the community to support the initiative by being a volunteer and/or a sponsor.

For more info on GOPIO Manhattan, call President Shivender Sofat at 731-988-6969, e-mail: or visit here:

Facebook Link: GOPIO Manhattan NYC

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