Published October 2018
Written by Laura Henschel, Communications Coordinator
Twenty-two-year-old political science and business administration senior Keith Ganesh embodies the innovation mindset. By marrying his interest in politics and business with the flexible Innovation Academy calendar, he has successfully landed several internships and jobs, all while honing his entrepreneurship skills—first in the IA classroom, then in the real-world with startup companies and political campaigns.
“I look at my innovation minor coursework with a lens as how it effects business. Creativity-in-Context really put a science to the idea of creativity. We think creativity is an abstract thing that you either have or you don’t. IA really showed us a systematic approach on why we are creative and how to emulate that,” Ganesh said.
With Gainesville startups like Knack and FOMO, and in political campaigns like the Florida governorship primary race, Ganesh has utilized his Fall semesters off to pursue internships with less competition than traditional Summer programs in Gainesville.
“Fall is open for me, so I’m open to more opportunities that may not be as accessible to others with a busier schedule,” Ganesh said. “Especially in politics, being able to work campaigns that occur in November is essential to developing real-world experience in the political sphere. This Fall, I was able to dedicate my time to an intern coordinator position with Florida governor candidate, Adam Putnam.”
Ganesh considers himself an innovator because of his unique relationship with the political sphere and the business world. During his political campaign position, he employed business retention and personal selling techniques when planning campaign canvassing.
“One strategy that I really enjoyed was taking all the business principles that may not be so obvious to a political science atmosphere and bringing it to the campaign. We don’t work with constituents—I considered them clients,” Ganesh said. “It has added a lot of value to my employers because I’ve been able to look at obstacles with a fresh perspective.”
IA also fit into Ganesh’s academic and professional goals by allowing him to practice working with interdisciplinary academics—though his interactions with the diverse IA faculty and with his fellow IA students from majors all around campus.
“The interdisciplinary aspect of the minor coursework provides perspective into what it’s like working in an industry with professionals from all backgrounds. My peers can provide insightful knowledge on my field even if they are trained in a different discipline.”
As he completes his final year of the program, Ganesh plans for his future in business startup companies and in the political world. With an ever-changing job climate, he even speculates on a position within a company focused primarily on driving innovative thought.
“I would love to continue to push the boundaries—if companies stay stagnant and lack innovation, they’re left in the dust because innovation drives growth,” Ganesh said. “Companies are hiring individuals like chief innovation officers to make sure their company is always pushing the envelope, never settling or become complacent—that is right up my alley.”
For students just beginning the Innovation Academy journey, Ganesh urged that they try to take advantage of all resources available to them through the University of Florida and through IA – service organizations, student clubs, sports, jobs, and volunteer positions.
“If you are reluctant to do something, my advice is just sign up –just put your name down. These resources exist for a reason—to develop you professionally and help you grow. Immerse yourself with no hesitations. The second you immerse yourself, you will learn to adapt.”