Taking Care of Business
Entrepreneurship student Amit Shah ’16 manages his classes and his own business as the CEO of an international niche staffing company.
Inside the classroom, entrepreneurship student Amit Shah ’16 is a seemingly typical junior at Pace—he attends class, studies, and is a founding member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. But outside of the classroom, Shah is his own boss (and the boss of others) at AIT International Corporation, where he serves as founder and CEO. While his friends and classmates recently spent their winter breaks relaxing and taking January Intersession courses, Shah was taking his business global.
AIT International Corporation is a niche technology staffing company that helps government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and other organizations fill in the labor or skill gaps needed to complete specific technology-related projects. Shah’s company has provided many high-profile and mid-sized clients with tech-savvy staffers and resources to assist with their needs.
Shah first created AIT five years ago, when he was just a sophomore in high school with a talent for technology. “People just started asking me more and more to fix their computers, and then I realized that it was really something I could turn into a company,” he says. Over the years, Shah was able to grow his company by offering more services, like software development and consulting. Now he and his team are taking their business abroad to the UK, Australia, and beyond, where the market is ripe for AIT’s expansion. “We saw that there was a huge growth [in AIT] this past year and we really felt that it’s time to start targeting much larger companies than we were,” says Shah.
While AIT is certainly on the rise, Shah has his sights set on an even higher goal of reaching $500 million in AIT’s lifetime revenue. “I’m hoping to graduate first,” he admits.
So how exactly does a high school computer whiz end up in business school at Pace University? Shah remembers cold-calling hundreds of people during the first years AIT was in business, receiving a “No” from each person on the other end of the phone. “It’s very important to have a really good understanding of the services that you’re providing,” he says, “but at the same time, it’s more important to have the knowledge and skillset that you need to have to run a business.”
Shah’s entrepreneurial skills—which include knowing when to adapt and listen to the market, as well as hang up the phone—earned him a 40 Under 40 Shakers Award from the Hudson Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2013. He was the youngest on the list at age 18.
Now, as a student at Pace, he is expanding his business skills in tandem with his fast-growing company. AIT International Corporation is headquartered in downtown New York City near the University, allowing Shah to take client meetings in the morning, classes in the afternoon, and also participate as a student associate at the Entrepreneurship Lab (eLab), where he has assisted with events and collaboration. He is looking forward to being more involved with the eLab this semester.
But as a businessman, Shah offers these words of advice to future entrepreneurs: “If you’re going to be in business, you might as well figure out a way to really dominate it.”
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Daniella Pajonas ’19 is the co-founder and current co-president of the Queer Society, a queerleader for the LGBTQA and Social Justice Center, and an RA on the NYC Campus. With all that experience, she has plenty of advice for her fellow Setters!