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April 30, 2008

Overcoming Start-Up Doubts in India

Yasmina McCarty '08
Co-Founder, GreenMango
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Yasmina McCarty ’08, a graduate of the EMBA-Global program, won the 2007 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award in recognition of GreenMango, a company she developed with business partner Nandini Narula.

On February 1st I moved to Hyderabad, India to officially start GreenMango’s operations. That first day, a lot went wrong.

After a 29-hour journey, I arrived at the Hyderabad airport with my entire life in suitcases and the driver wasn’t there to meet me. Apparently there was a little mix up on the whole a.m./p.m. thing.

When he did finally arrive, he informed me that the guest house my business partner Nandini Narula and I had booked for the month (and secured with a deposit) was no longer available. I found another guesthouse to stay in for the night, and finally had a chance to rest, until someone else walked into my room — they had double booked the place.

I had a very low moment where I thought: “Oh my god, what have I just done?” Two weeks prior I had graduated with my MBA (as part of the EMBA-Global program) and watched my classmates take phenomenal jobs in the world’s business capitals as prestigious bankers, consultants, etc. And here I was moving to a new country, to a city I didn’t know and trying to start a company — what was I thinking?!

As my jetlag faded, my excitement about GreenMango returned, and since then our experience has been absolutely amazing. In our first week here we found a place to stay, set up the office, brought our first staff on board and signed up our first nine customers — it was exhilarating. All the months of planning and preparation were over and we were on our way!

I now stay in a lovely flat, where the rich sounds of life in India waft into my window every morning. We have a small but growing team, who are invaluable with their hard work and belief in GreenMango. And best of all, the customers are excited and signing up for our product.

Every day greets me with an unending list of problems waiting to be solved (e.g., how to get work done when the cricket match is on) and opportunities waiting to be grabbed (e.g., how to structure partnerships with Goliath when you are David).

But I couldn’t be happier and am truly enjoying every minute of this adventure.


by Dan | May 01, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Your classmates might have signed up for "phenomenal" jobs elsewhere but there was no one who could have succeeded at this but YOU.

by Rajeev | May 14, 2008 at 9:27 AM

Hi Yasmina & Nandini.. The success comes from taking risks and bigger the risks, bigger the gains. You have taken a big risk and I wish you best of luck with your new endevour. With a columbia MBA, You are equipped to be a success so don't worry about these small problems, focus on the end result. What you call an "adventure" right now will turn out to be an "accomplishment" Cheers

by pico | June 17, 2008 at 12:34 AM

Mina, God put giants in our lives to promote us. You may feel like your a David right now, but it was David who was choosen by God to defend his people. David, being faithful as a shepherd boy was promoted a king, not only because of his abilities but because of his obedience and availability. Remember, there was King Saul there, but such a king as he was, he neglected the responsibilities to face that Goliath. You are more than a conqueror, you have the qualities and abilities of a being a great leader. Your available and you have a very noble heart to begin with a noble task. Surely, God will bless the works of your hand. You are an inspiration to the next generation, not only there but in the places where you have touched people's lives specially here in the Philippines. May God continue to increase your sphere of influence and extend your territory.

by Syntactical | August 19, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Pico, "your" is not the same as "you are". Please, as someone on a Columbia University page, please understand the distinction. Yasmina, you had the dough for an EMBA. Which means you surely had the dough to start a new venture. Good luck with your new enterprise. Hope it meets with all the success that it deserves!

by Jason D'Mello | August 25, 2008 at 1:59 PM

Interesting article about moving to Hyderabad to start a company. Last August I did the same thing, and shared some of the experiences above...It is a vibrant city to do business in and I wish you luck with your endeavors.

by Anish Prabhu | September 09, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Jason, you say you too started a company in Hyderabad. Just out of curiosity, where is the company poised at now? Are you on your way to building your 'empire' or was it just an 'adventure' you chose to experience? Yasmina & Nandini, kudos to your courage. I wish you all the best.

by Lehana | October 07, 2008 at 2:19 AM

Well I am really moved by your courageous step....this is one of those rare steps and rare people like you only can take these steps............. In case, I am also social Entreprenuer and somewhat in a simmilar profile............ evaluating what i can do in cooperation or independlently ...........

by Venkat | April 09, 2009 at 2:10 PM

Yasmina, Congratulations for your effort and good luck on your endeavors. I am a prospective Columbia MBA student and am planning to apply for full-time MBA for fall 2010. Apart from my technology job at an investment management firm, I am leading consulting projects and aspiring to be a board member for not-for-profit organizations, ACCION and CAMBA respectively. I am interested in Social entrepreneurship and would like to understand what Columbia has to offer in that space. It will be great if you can contact me to share more information about the MBA program. Thanks

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