Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business
Rohan Hemani

New Kid on "The Bloc"

Winter opportunity turns into impetus for personal change for Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS scholar.

Rohan Hemani  seized a winter leadership opportunity to combine an eagerness to start his own company with a penchant to do good in the world.

Hemani, BBA ’13, along with Kyle Quinn, his UC roommate and fellow Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS scholar, and 65 other fellows from around the globe, took part in the Starting Bloc conference at Tufts University in Boston, where social innovation took center stage for a weekend. 

The Starting Bloc selects the brightest young leaders and arms them with resources to meet global challenges.  At the Starting Bloc’s Institute for Social Innovation, the finance major learned about social and economic impact. He received education, training and networking to combine entrepreneurship with a social desire to have a positive impact on those in need.

He and fellow participants also engaged in a social innovation competition to learn to blend social and economic impact.  Grouped into teams and given a problem to solve from the Waters Corporation, participants delivered their pitch to company executives.

“My takeaway from Starting Bloc was the unparalleled passion these entrepreneurs had, not for making money and being successful, but for making a difference in the world,” Hemani says. “Their compensation and satisfaction comes from the impact their business is having on a community.”

Made possible by financial support from the Lindner Honors–PLUS program, the trip and experience left him with a vision—that with passion, hard work and guidance, “social change is possible,” he says.

Surrounded by fellow enthusiastic entrepreneurs, his insight from the Starting Bloc conference transformed his confidence from no can do to can do. Before, fear of failure made him afraid to start his own business. His fear was underscored by the fact that, according to the Small Business Administration, more than 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first five years. Through the Starting Bloc experience, he overcame his fears. Now, one year later, he and his sister own R & S Studio, a successful Latin dance company in Springdale, Ohio, that teaches more than 75 dancers, with prospects to perform at local cultural and corporate events.

“Starting Bloc taught me the importance of accepting failure and learning from it,” he says.  

At UC, Hemani took the advice of Honors-Plus Program Director Jeri Ricketts: “Don’t just go to class, go to college.” Taking that advice to heart, he has engaged in several campus and community groups.

Dancing since age four, he founded and has been the captain of UC’s International Dance Team for two years, choreographing and leading a Bollywood fusion team to regional competitions.  He’s also president of the Asian American Association on campus, Greek Week chair for Sigma Alpha Epsilon, vice president of alumni relations for Student Alumni Council, ROAR tour guide member, director of international affairs for Student Government and was the 2011 Homecoming King.

His UC involvement allowed him to develop leadership, teamwork, time management and networking skills.  He’ll have a chance to further hone his networking skills as he joins a new network of 1,500 Staring Bloc fellows from around the world.

“I’m a firm believer in learning outside the classroom,” he says.

As Hemani heads into his final college years, his sights are set on summer internships.

“I’d like to gain a few years of practical experience before going back to pursue an MBA or other higher degree,” says Hemani. “The sky is the limit…”

To learn more about Rohan Hemani, visit UC Magazine to read, “The Budding Businessman.”