• MGEM | Karishma Bali

How has Karishma's experience been?

Karishma studied the MGEM programme with Cohort 10.  Since graduating, she has been hired as a consultant and teacher while bootstrapping two ventures. Below, you can read what she stands out in the master's degree and her personal assessment.

Could you briefly describe the master?

The MGEM program was the best decision I’ve ever made. This master’s is unlike many: it’s a tri-city program in Global Entrepreneurial Management that begins with the Fall trimester in Barcelona, Spain at IQS; Spring trimester in Taipei, Taiwan at Fu Jen Catholic University; and finishes off in the United States. Being a global program, students come from all over the world. Our cohort represented 30 students from 16 nationalities, and that created an environment for truly experiential and open learning that extended well beyond the classroom setting. For me, the program opened a window of opportunity in the business world — something I had almost no exposure to prior to starting the program.

What would you highlight about the program?

People and adventure. I am filled with so much gratitude for meeting some of my best friends in this program and learning from their cultures and life ex-periences. It also teaches you how to immerse yourself in the world and that’s truly the embodi-ment of lifelong learning!

What did you enjoy the most?

Travel. Traveling is the biggest reminder of how small of a space you occupy in your own little world. I had so many firsts in this program. Living in Spain, living in Taiwan, hiking, running an international marathon, meeting locals, assimilating to different cultures — the list goes on. I enjoyed constantly being in dynamic environments that fed my curiosity about the world while simultaneously breaking the norm of what education is.

How did you feel about living in three different countries in one year?

Excited, nervous, grateful — there were so many emotions! MGEM was such a unique experience, it’s difficult to describe in simple terms. Living in three different countries within one year is something you can only understand if you’ve experienced it. If life allows, I’m a huge advocate for living in a foreign country or simply traveling somewhere unknown to you.

Overall, living in three different countries in one year was equally challenging and rewarding. The experience was incredible. After returning home I realized I barely talked about it because reflecting upon it makes it seem like it was just a dream! 

Any special anecdote?

Oh, my goodness, the year in MGEM alone has given me a lifetime of memories. But I’d say one of the more comical ones was a trip to the Philippines I took with 10 of my friends during the Chinese New Year break in Taiwan. We were island hopping in the Philippines and everyone but me got off the boat to swim because I didn’t quite know how to swim. But I was encouraged to diaper a life jacket. It looks hilarious but after doing this, I was able to float in the water and join my friends.

What’s the most valuable knowledge you got during the master?

Learning to evolve with the program. Becoming very action oriented.

The professional and personal growth that MGEM offers is parallel to none. Entrepreneurship is very action oriented. You can plan and plan for so long but at one point, you just have to get started and evolve with your idea, work, or venture. This exact sentiment was displayed time and time again throughout my program through case studies, coursework, class discussions, panels, speakers, internships, and company visits. It’s extraordinary what’s possible when you’re able to go full force with passion in idea execution.

And lastly, I learned how to be respectful of and express gratitude for mentorship. But always ask questions and never take in anything blindly! Though I graduated from MGEM in August 2019, my MGEM family still pushes me and helps me navigate the business world.

How the idea of Pulse Athletic Apparel came out?

The idea for Pulse Athletic Apparel is an intersection of my personal and professional passions. I love to run, and I’m obsessed with health, medicine, and entrepreneurship.

From a professional standpoint, I see the vitality of encouraging health and well-being, especially in current times. From a personal standpoint, I seek experiences out of sheer excite-ment for life, especially ones that encourage vivacity and “get my pulse up.”

And after spending an absurd amount of money on athletic apparel over the years, I developed a good eye and preference for quality, but I also wanted to create a brand that encourages a community of passion. 

Can you talk about your company?

Pulse Athletic Apparel, at the baseline, is an athletic and athleisure apparel company promising quality items without breaking the bank. But as a Chicago-based startup, we also hope to be more than a budget-friendly brand.

The brand was launched in July 2020 — right in the middle of a global pandemic and American civil unrest. Mandatory lockdowns across the world redefined “normal,” but as an en-trepreneur, I saw quarantine as an opportunity to create and connect. I saw the need for commu-nity.
This year brought on a new definition of “normal.” Distance, fear, and uncertainty took everyone by storm and the need for interconnectedness is relevant now more than ever.

Pulse Athletic Apparel was founded to bridge the gap between wellness and intent. It is a community for people who seek meaningful life experiences through their own unique actions.

For me, that action is running. As a five-time marathoner, I’m quick to emphasize how important it is for my well-being. Life has been very dynamic but running and fitness have been my constants. It’s how I stay grounded and find clarity. It’s what helps me stay motivated in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to cultivating my passions. And that’s the type of re-source I hope Pulse can be.

We are a community motivating you to find your inner passion. Everyone needs family, people who believe in you, people you can lean on, and people who help you grow. Pulse Athlet-ic Apparel finds its family in like-minded people. The brand has been seen on everyone from nurses, physicians, and health coaches to yogis, dancers, and students. They are people who align with the “Pulse Forward” mentality and embody its mission. I have personally reached out to my own network to spread the word about the Pulse, but I have seen organic growth too, receiving messages daily from people asking how they can be involved and be part of the Pulse family.

It is amazing how, despite being socially distant, you can still network and connect with so many people through a simple message.
And Pulse Athletic Apparel’s message really is simple: It’s easier to Pulse Forward when there’s an entire team cheering you on.