Naveen Jindal School of Management Alumni Spotlight
From real estate to healthcare management, to information technology and finance, we are proud to shine a spotlight on some of our alumni whose career paths are representative of the many employment options to which a degree from the Naveen Jindal School of Management can lead. With more than 29,000 alumni, the Jindal School is impacting the culture of business in the U.S. and beyond.
These JSOM graduates agreed to share their Jindal School experiences with others. If you are an alumnus and would be willing to share your personal story, please contact Brittany Huber, Director in JSOM Development.
Vik Thapar, BS’00Principal, Cypress Growth Capital Thapar, a Dallas resident, was born and grew up just a few miles from the UT Dallas campus in Richardson. Prior to his role at Cypress, where his responsibilities span all aspects of the investment lifecycle including identifying promising potential companies, conducting due diligence and providing ongoing support to portfolio companies, Thapar was director of the North Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization. While there, he oversaw the process of identifying, vetting and mentoring companies seeking funding from the state of Texas’ $200 million Emerging Technology Fund. In that role, he developed an extensive, statewide network of relationships with investors, intermediaries, entrepreneurs, economic development officials and service providers. He is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist on entrepreneurial topics at SMU, TCU and The University of Texas at Dallas. This year he earned two awards from Dallas Business Journal – as a Minority Business Leader honoree and as part of its 40 Under 40 Class of 2016.
Thapar, along with his wife, Geetha, and daughters attending a family wedding.
Tell us the highlights of your professional career. What are your proudest achievements?
Transitioning from technology consulting to the venture capital/private equity industry was not easy, but I’m proud of the effort and work it took to get here. It took a lot of networking and essentially engulfing myself in the financial services community. I had an internship while working on my MBA at a private equity firm and realized that was where I wanted to be instead. It was an effort, but I’m proud to have transitioned careers successfully.
What brought you to UT Dallas?
I was born and grew up in Richardson. UT Dallas was literally close to home and I was able to watch it grow into an established and highly ranked university. When it came time to go to college, I knew I wanted to go to UT Dallas. Even though it was close to home, I was able to live on campus, which really gave me the full college experience. I played soccer for a year, was active in student government and some of my best friends to this day are my Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers from UT Dallas.
What is your favorite UT Dallas memory?
Most of my favorite memories are tied to my fraternity. All the groomsmen from my wedding were Kappa Sig brothers.
Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class and why?
I remember a class with Dennis Kratz (now dean of the UT Dallas School of Arts and Humanities) and thought he was great. But I really enjoyed all of my business courses. I came to UT Dallas originally as biology major, but quickly realized my passion was in business.
What’s the best advice you have received?
Don’t give up. Keep at it – whatever it is you want to be successful at.
What advice do you have for students hoping to succeed in the business world?
Network, network, network. Always be meeting new people and learning from them. It is critical to stay relevant in the ever-changing world of business. I have known people who had great jobs and stopped networking only to have to build their network again from scratch when it came time to find another job. Also, if you become a successful entrepreneur, keep meeting with future entrepreneurs. Always try to help the next generation.
What makes an effective leader?
You must be able to motivate and collaborate with your team. People want to work with people they like and respect. So be a good friend and ultimately be someone you would want to work with. People work harder for those they respect and genuinely like.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love spending time with my family—my wife of seven years and our two daughters – Aria is 2 years old and Maya is 4 years old. My wife is an ER pediatrician, so we both really enjoy the downtime we are able to spend with one another when out of the office. We love to travel as a family and I continue to play tennis.