Not many people can say they went from being a grad student to the owner of their own business in just a few short years but Smita Shah is one of the few who can. As an inspiration to many, there are quite a few people out there wondering how she got her start in the business world which is exactly why she sat down for a nice chat with Steve Cochrane. In this radio interview, she mentions that her academic career began when she first matriculated at Northwestern. It was there that she began excelling in her courses and graduated at the top of her class just a few short years later. Upon the receipt of her bachelor’s degree, she moved to Massachusetts so she could pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering at MIT. 

During her time in grad school, she was lucky enough to be accepted into a prestigious white house internship program where she worked for the office of the chief of staff in DC. Upon successful completion of the internship, she went on to graduate and accept a job offer at a company known as SOM. She only worked there for about a year before making the conscious decision to become the founder and CEO of Spaan Tech, a business that is now over 20 years old and has been flourishing since 1998. When she first opened this new organization, she wasn’t that invested in its success but now she realizes the importance of ensuring the company thrives for years to come. 

This is especially true because of the fact that she now has a significant amount of employees working under her so she recognizes the need to support them and their families. When she first started this new business, her primary goal was to bring together a bunch of talented people to create exciting new innovative projects and help the community at large. She has now succeeded in this goal but she still asserts that females have quite a way to go in the workplace as women are heavily underrepresented throughout the field of math and science. This is why she stresses the importance of women helping each other in order to get ahead in their respective fields. She’s also happy that the female student population is 47% at MIT. Learn more: http://elpc.org/board/smita-shah/

When she first started her own business, she wasn’t sure if this company was going to be a big success but decided to go for it anyway. She knew if she ended up failing, she could always go to work at a different company, and if she happened to turn this small business into a thriving enterprise, many young women would look up to her for generations to come. One of the main goals of the company is to work with local communities to build highways, bridges, and railroads to keep the community thriving. They also specialize in providing lighting for towns and cities such as stoplights, airport runways, and various emergency lights.

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