Business student selected for Forbes Under 30 Scholar Program

UA Little Rock business marketing student Shibani Lal was one of 30 students chosen nation wide as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar. Lal has a digital media marketing business. Photo by Ben Krain.

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock business student has been selected for the Forbes Under 30 Scholar Summit. 

Shibani Lal, who will graduate in May 2020, is looking forward to the conference to gain advice and investors for her future startup business. 

“I want to start my own marketing business where I can help businesses grow professionally and target more platforms through social media and digital marketing,” Lal said. “Marketing is the foundation of business.” 

Characterized by Forbes as the “world’s greatest event for young leaders, founders, investors, and creators,” the Forbes Under 30 Summit will take place Oct. 27-30 in Detroit. Forbes partners with schools and organizations across the U.S. to provide an opportunity for underrepresented college students to attend the summit. 

Winners of the Forbes Under 30 Scholar program get free access to the summit and the chance to participate in networking opportunities. Students can also meet investors, entrepreneurs, celebrities, musicians, fashion designers, sports stars, cultural icons, world-renowned chefs, educators, political leaders, and business icons. The summit also features a music festival, investor speed-pitching, industry-focused field trips, a pub crawl, a food festival, and a community service day. 

Lal got a start in marketing at her family restaurant in Little Rock, Star of India, where she leads the marketing, communications, and advertising efforts. 

“I started off in management, but I liked the marketing aspect better,” Lal said. “I have started my portfolio by promoting restaurants on social media, and that has inspired me to stay in marketing. Now, I mentor people on the marketing team,” Lal said. 

At UA Little Rock, Lal put her social media and marketing skills to work by creating online recruitment strategies for Phi Beta Lambda, the college division of Future Business Leaders of America. Lal and fellow student, Bhavya Patel, finished in the Top 10 in a national social media challenge for Phi Beta Lambda in 2018. During the 2017-18 academic year, membership in Phi Beta Lambda at UA Little Rock increased by more than 150 percent, the highest increase in the state of Arkansas. 

During the Phi Beta Lambda conference, a recruiter from a contractor company approached Lal with the opportunity to complete an internship as a brand ambassador for Amazon on UA Little Rock’s campus. The internship came with a paid trip to visit Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, where Lal learned important skills. 

“Everyone who was offered an internship with Amazon was invited to Seattle to learn more about digital marketing, how to target more audiences, and promote through social media handles and word of mouth,” she said. “I learned how to do marketing very efficiently, and I was able to increase the revenue in my family’s business very quickly.” 

Lal learned about the Forbes Under 30 Scholar program while serving as an Amazon Prime student ambassador during the 2018-19 academic year. She knew the conference would be a perfect fit for her. 

“I will be able to meet investors and business professionals from across the globe so I can share my ideas and get feedback on how I can start my own business as an entrepreneur,” Lal said. “They have speed dating with investors, resume builders, and pitch competitions, all so I can gain a better understanding of how to be a successful entrepreneur.” 

Lal is grateful for professors, classes, and extracurricular activities in Little Rock that have played an important role in her professional development. 

“I have applied what I have learned from classes to real-world experiences,” she said. “I have participated in competitions and conferences that have given me a better understanding of how to open up my own business.”

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