Mosaic Stories

    Vivek Khattri

    Vivek Khattri grew up in a small Nepalese town near the birthplace of Buddha. When he finished high school, he aspired to go to the United States to pursue his college education. After talking with his cousin living in St. Louis, hearing his experiences and learning about the educational opportunities in the area, Vivek made his way across the ocean to begin the next chapter of his life in St. Louis.

    Vivek studied Systems Engineering and Entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis, taking courses in both the Engineering and Business schools. As an international student, he was concerned with the challenge of obtaining a job after graduation, but he remained proactive and reached out to people in the community for information on the job search process and developing a career plan. “I found that networking helps a lot,” he explains. “I started immersing myself in the community and making friends.” After talking with one friend working in the Information Technology field, Vivek discovered an interest in technology consulting, an intersection of his two academic focuses. To familiarize himself with the scope of the field, he enrolled in additional courses, and pursued an internship at SogoTrade to learn practical application of business analysis. These experiences led him to apply for a business analyst position at a local IT consulting company. He was offered the job as well as company sponsorship for his H1B visa and green card, thus enabling him to remain in St. Louis to live and work.

    For nearly three years at Prospect Infosys, Inc., Vivek has worked as an analyst and consultant on projects for prominent clients such as Mastercard, Suddenlink, Panera Bread and Lumeris. He has a significant experience in agile development, a collection of methodologies for managing IT teams and projects, and currently also serves as an Agile Coach and Scrum Trainer for others working to earn their certification licenses as a Scrum Master. Recently, Vivek has also entered the academic scene, serving as a guest lecturer to speak on the topic of agile project management and Scrum framework for a project management course at Webster University.

    Given the opportunities that St. Louis has to offer, Vivek speaks highly of the city and its advantages. “St. Louis has a lot of culture and its own personality,” he says. Living near the Delmar Loop, he loves the urban and diverse scene. In addition, he cites other benefits like the number of universities, abundance of startup companies, and cheap living expenses in the region. He has traveled around the country, but he says he likes St. Louis the best. “I like the people here, the community is great,” he says. “It is definitely a very growing city with opportunities that people don’t even know about. As one of the best cities startups and newly graduated people looking to start a career, it is a city small enough where you know a lot of people, and big enough to find a job since there are a lot of good companies.”

    Vivek admits that his journey to success was not without challenges. As an international student, “having to figure out the job process and find a company that will sponsor an H1B visa and hire me in a specific job was challenging, but not impossible,” he says. Vivek offers key advice to others going through the same process: “be proactive - that’s one of the things I did - and instead of waiting until the last minute, once you know the things you want to accomplish, look for allies and resources that can help you.”

    When Vivek arrived in St. Louis in 2007, he had to seek out a network of people to provide him with guidance and information, specifically in regards to the job search process for international students. A few years later in 2013, the St. Louis Mosaic Project, the immigration initiative within the World Trade Center St. Louis, was launched to provide resources and guidance to help immigrants like Vivek acclimate in St. Louis. “It is a great resource for immigrants to get connected,” he says. “Also, it is great that [Mosaic] stepped into the role of making companies aware of the return of investment for keeping foreign talent.”

    Vivek wants to be even more involved with helping to attract foreign born to the region, helping to foster a welcoming environment. While he feels connected to the Nepalese community in St. Louis, through picnics and get togethers and soccer games, he explains that he would like to bring even more Nepali people to the city. “I moved my fiance here, I convinced my fiance’s sister to come to school here, and I convinced another cousin to come here,” he says. “I’m continuously recruiting people to come to St. Louis.”

    In the future, Vivek is excited to stay in St. Louis. He aspires to run his own business and teach part-time at a local university. Through these roles, he yearns to give knowledge back to the St. Louis community in various ways. “Life is exciting!” he exclaims. “I am very grateful and thankful for St. Louis - it is a great place to be.”