University of Pittsburgh business students Meghna Hingorani (’22) and Nishanth Abdullah (’23) have risen to the role of chief executive officers. This distinction is the result of their hard work and the experiential learning offered by Saxbys and the College of Business Administration.
The first Saxbys cafes at Pitt opened during the Fall 2021 semester in the Cathedral of Learning and Hillman Library and were run by undergraduate Student Chief Executive Officers (SCEOs) Angel Albright-Sexton and Ceari Robinson. They have turned over the responsibilities – from team development, customer service and financial management – along with advice for the Spring 2022 semester.
Trust and Respect
Both have embraced Robinson’s “cool aunt with boundaries” approach to managing them and their peers as employees, Hingorani said.
“I hope to be the kind of leader that my team members can trust,” said Hingorani, a senior from Mumbai, India, majoring in finance and minoring in economics. “I want to be a leader that team members not only enjoy and look forward to working with but also respect as both one of them and a figure of authority.”
Hingorani, whose dream job is to own her own film production house, said her focus as SCEO is “to ensure a balance between maintaining the team dynamics that I built last semester despite the added boundaries that come with my advanced role as Student CEO.”
She values the financial management pillar of learning in the Saxbys’ platform. At the same time, “I want to grow and develop as a person and professional by throwing myself into the deep end and facing a challenge that entrusts me with the responsibility of running a cafe — with a lot of resources and support.”
After starting at Pitt as a prospective biology major while also considering economics, Hingorani, known as “Meg,” transferred to the business school as a finance major in her third year.
“I found that the opportunities as a business major, especially with my now clear aspirations were incredibly flexible,” she said. “The core business classes, especially my Business Communications class, which I cannot appreciate enough, have been vital in helping me find the confidence to realize my skills and enhance them through resources in the form of experiential learning opportunities such as this SCEO role.”
Abdullah said his goal as SCEO is “to promote a safe, yet fun environment for my team members to come to work excited and with the purpose of being O.D.D.” These are the Saxbys’ core values of outgoing, detail-oriented, and disciplined to help ensure a meaningful experience for the team and customers.
The finance major expects his biggest challenge will be the balance of being a friend to the 40 students he will manage with constructive criticism to help their development. Another challenge will be translating the SCEO experience into the real world and the goal of becoming CEO of his own business.
“The biggest reward would be to see my own personal growth of becoming a greater leader for the future from learning from my yet-to-come stressful days and mistakes — and to utilize them as opportunities for growth,” said Abdullah, who was born in Bahrain, raised in Houston and moved to Pittsburgh during his senior year in high school. His identical twin brother, Roshen, is a mechanical engineering student at Pitt.
Abdullah, nicknamed “Nico,” became a finance major this semester after starting out as pre-med and then psychology, grateful for guidance and support from advisors and Pitt’s Career Center. “I’m super excited to work for Saxbys in this prestigious position,” he said.
Abdullah will manage the Hillman location, which is open 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and then 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.
Hingorani will lead the Cathedral location, which is open 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Read more: Student CEOs: Hard Work, Lifelong Lessons