May 21

7 Questions with a Spartan: Mehek Khera

Mehek Khera is an entrepreneur. The CEO and Founder of Niramaya Foods, Khera earned her Master’s of Business Administration from the Bryan School in 2016.

1. What do you love most about your job?

I love that I can be my creative best self as an entrepreneur. Diving head-on into uncertainty every morning is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Not knowing what is coming next gives me an opportunity to build something that has never been built before.

2. What’s exciting about the future of your industry/position?

I think the time is very bright for the consumer packaged goods industry especially in the food and wellness sector. With the pandemic shaking up the world last year, nature has made it very clear that health is a priority. Research on immunity and gut health is at its pinnacle with the next couple of years being very crucial to its applications and acceptance. Consumers are more aware than ever and clean labels are what is driving newer brands on retail shelves. Stories, struggles, values, and nutrition have differentiated so many in the long tail from huge giants dominating the food industry. This trend is here to stay and evolve with time.

3. What do you personally find most challenging as a professional?

I think the most challenging aspects are also where the biggest opportunities lie. Currently, the manufacturing space in this industry works on a cookie-cutter approach and high volumes. While all that makes sense from a low-cost, economies of scale perspective, it makes no sense when the ingenuity of home recipes is lost in the process along with nutrition and bio-availability of benefits. There is thus a huge opportunity to creatively melt the way things have been done slowly and steadily to get to a point where no matter what the consumer picks from the shelf, it’s going to taste good and do them good. There is no point in eating things that cause chronic diseases, early childhood disorders, and deficiencies when we can make them healthier.

4. What is something you did (or wish you had done) in college to prepare for this position?

If I had known I would enter the CPG and retail world, I would have taken up projects working with entrepreneurs.

5. What additional training, certifications, professional organization memberships, etc. have helped you professionally?

I was an active member of the National Association of Women MBAs society and attended their in-person meetups in Texas each year. I was also heavily involved with the Association for Supply Chain Management and ISM supply chain networks which helped me take part in case competitions, network in the industry, and even find internships.

6. What should students interested in entering your field know?

There is always scope for innovation and one should not shy away from being the first. Though the idea matters, I think while building a company, execution is the most important. If you have an idea, just get an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) out as soon as possible.

7. What resources – books, blogs, websites, podcasts, etc. – would you recommend for someone interested in your field or in a position like yours?

Ramping Your Brand by James Richardson
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
-The podcast How I Built This with Guy Raz

Also, follow entrepreneurs whose brands you love on LinkedIn – there is a wealth of information they share!