Shefali Gayawal
Shefali Gayawal

My name is Shefali Gayawal and I am a multi-hyphenate. But the title that describes me most accurately is entrepreneur. I have successfully co-founded two startups in Mumbai, where I grew up and lived for over three decades.

The first business was founded in 2010. My partners and I called it Urban Pandit; it was a one-stop real estate consulting shop. The second firm was called SKI Ventures. Founded in 2012, this startup was an import-export initiative between South Korean construction companies and Indian real estate developers. Working in this business involved trips to South Korea, which was an intellectually and culturally stimulating experience for me. Eventually, I wound up in operations and worked as a business development consultant at a well-established architectural firm, before relocating to Hong Kong with my husband in 2017.

Through my entrepreneurial and business development experience, I have had the pleasure of learning how different markets work, and more importantly, understanding how people in different countries approach business.

Before entering the world of entrepreneurship, I studied architecture in Mumbai. So, by education and training, I am an architect. I am passionate about urban design, engineering, green architecture and sustainability. Moreover, I am interested in connecting the dots in order to unite the right people with the right development projects, so that my passions in the aforementioned areas can be executed at scale.

I am very artistically inclined and can sketch, paint and draw designs with ease. While this skill has helped me in my architecture projects, it’s something I do for pleasure as well.

Upon moving to Hong Kong five years ago, I took on the role of housewife and mother with pride and grace. I have two adorable children, and watching them learn and grow has been an enriching experience for me. This experience, combined with my own entrepreneurial background, infused me with a new kind of ambition, which I hope to exploit over the next year at HKU while I pursue an MBA degree.

In my spare time, I enjoy practicing yoga: an ancient Indian form of exercise for the mind and body. More recently, I have been learning to surf. Both of these hobbies are about concentration, focus and calmness – virtues I am keen to incorporate in both my academic and professional life.