Kaushik Tiwari Age: 20, Columbia University
What made you apply for the Thiel Fellowship?
I applied because it helped me focus on my idea and fully explore my interests. And college to an extent was not the right place for that.
What is your project about?
My project is about ­healthcare. I applied with the idea for a medical tourism website that helps patients find hospitals abroad. However, the idea has ­undergone a lot of change. I am more interested in what goes on inside the hospital and how processes can be improved. Healthcare will only become more data ­intensive as we progress, so data analysis is paramount.
How has this programme helped you, both personally and ­professionally?
I feel that the personal growth is the biggest component of the programme. Living with my cohort of other fellows and listening to their stories has taught me a lot.
Professionally, ­having a peer group of mentors has helped me understand the regulations surrounding healthcare and the challenges that lie before me from people who have faced them.
Would you consider going back to school after your project is over?
There are no hard and fast rules. There is a wrongful perception that the fellowship is against college. There are many fellows who have started projects and realised that getting a Phd in that subject is the best way to push their vision forward. The fellowship invests in vision- oriented people and to them such doctrines are weak substitutions. So, if I realise after working in healthcare, that the best way to fulfill my vision is to get a Phd/MD, then I will definitely find an institution that can help me.
As told to Aanchal Bedi