From Tailgates to her Capstone Project, ESTEEM Graduate Student Abhigna Yerabati Recounts a Transformative Fall Semester at Notre Dame

Author: Abhigna Yerabati

From her first collegiate football game to working on her capstone project, ESTEEM graduate student Abhigna Yerabati walks you through her fall highlight reel from her experiences at the University of Notre Dame.

ESTEEM graduate student Abhigna Yerabati in front of the Main Building on Notre Dame's campus

I'm Abhigna Yerabati, an international graduate student at the University of Notre Dame's Master's Program in Entrepreneurship, Technology, & Innovation (ESTEEM). I have my Electronics and Communication Engineering undergraduate degree from the Sumathi Reddy Institute of Technology. My journey to the ESTEEM program began after several years of navigating the corporate landscape back home in India, where I honed my skills and gained valuable experience. Eager for new challenges and growth, I relocated to the United States to pursue my passion for entrepreneurship and immersed myself in the dynamic world of startups here at Notre Dame.

As the season starts to shift and snow begins to fall, I can’t help but feel a renewed sense of excitement for the rest of the semester ahead. The past few months have been nothing short of magical, and I am beyond excited to take you on this journey with me.

College Gameday & the ESTEEM Alumni Tailgate

Abhigna Yerabati at her first collegiate football game at the University of Notre Dame

On September 23, I attended my very first collegiate football game! Notre Dame played Ohio State University in Notre Dame Stadium. The energy, the buzz, the togetherness, and the cheers – it was like being part of something huge. Seeing the house that Rockne built to go from empty to packed with Fighting Irish fans was an experience I will never forget.

ESPN’s College GameDay was in South Bend for the game, adding to the excitement and crowd. The atmosphere was electric, with a palpable sense of camaraderie, excitement, and resounding cheers that united us all. It felt like I was part of something truly monumental. Despite the Fighting Irish falling short with a score of 14-17 against the Buckeyes, it ranks as one of the most unforgettable experiences of my semester outside the classroom.

The Fighting Irish’s luck changed in November when they defeated the Trojans! The annual ESTEEM Graduate Program Tailgate was hosted on October 14 for this historic rivalry matchup. All ESTEEM alumni, their friends, family, and supporters of the program and the IDEA Center are invited to celebrate the Irish and the ESTEEM program. It was a fantastic opportunity to network with alumni, meet new people, and have fun with other members of my cohort in advance of the big game!

My Capstone Journey

I'm officially diving into my capstone journey! I am excited to be working as a Graduate Student Consultant for GlyphX. GlyphX is an early-stage software company developed and housed at the University of Notre Dame’s IDEA Center. Currently receiving investment from the Notre Dame Pit Road Fund and New York-based private equity firm The Jordan Company, Glyphx is an aid-driven, data exploration, no-code platform that allows mid-market manufacturing and supply chain-focused companies to make data-driven decisions in seconds, regardless of their skill level or data infrastructure.

As part of my project, we're trying to figure out secondary markets and applications Glyphx could apply its technology. This opportunity was one of the main reasons I chose Notre Dame and the ESTEEM program. The ESTEEM Program is built on utilizing the technical skills of its students and supplementing them with a core business curriculum to develop a commercialization plan for technology through a capstone project. I spend 15-20 hours each week dedicated to this project and am already learning so much!

I work under the supervision and mentorship of Danny Hill ’22 MBA and Michael Wicks '09, '18 M.E. Danny is the Chief Executive Officer at GlyphX and brings years of first-hand knowledge and expertise from both corporate giants and successful start-up ventures to help organizations solve their most complex issues. An industry expert, Danny has consulted with senior leadership at organizations like Ford Motor Company, Jaguar/Land Rover, and others, helping them uncover billions of dollars in lost revenue due to improper data tracking technologies. Michael is the Chief Product Officer at Glyphx and is a passionate engineer, startup co-founder, and innovator who firmly believes that project-based learning is the key to training tomorrow's engineers and professionals. It is fantastic to learn from both Danny and Michael. Their experience as Notre Dame alumni shows the potential for my future and I am so excited.

Pitching my Startup, Prāna Blends

Graduate student Abhigna Yerabati presenting

I had the distinguished pleasure of presenting my entrepreneurial venture, Prāna Blends, to an audience in Indianapolis during the ESTEEM program’s annual trip down to this innovation hub. I have been busy working on the design, licensing, and other essential facets necessary to deliver premium healthy juices to those prioritizing their health.

The feedback received from both the Indianapolis pitch and an opportunity I had to share my healthy juices at a Notre Dame Football tailgate was exceptionally positive. With over 50 affirmative reviews, our offerings have garnered significant endorsement from numerous patrons, instilling profound appreciation and zeal in me. I feel so lucky to be in a graduate program that has the resources and support system that allows their students to explore their passions and follow their why.

Relaxing during Fall Break

I wanted to explore the Windy City of Chicago during my fall break. I went to monumental places all over town before I picked up my childhood friends from the airport for an even better week! We drove down to South Bend, hung out, played games, had fun, and walked on the St. Thomas River before exploring Warren State Park. Although it was cold, the warmth of friendship helped us have a great time.

Notre Dame’s Career Fair

The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development hosted its annual Fall Career Fair. It was not just a conventional booth walk-through but rather provided strategic engagement opportunities with industry titans and potential future employers. The experience enriched my understanding of the professional nuances and laid the foundation for expanding connections and building my network in anticipation of forging my post-graduation career path.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This fall, I have been lucky enough to get involved with many different activities and Initiatives on campus at the University of Notre Dame. Resonating deeply with my core values, I’m thrilled to announce that I've been selected for a Professional Development, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) role within the Graduate Student Council. Championing the cause of creating a more inclusive and diverse space, I'm looking forward to making strides in ensuring everyone finds a voice and a place here!

The First Snow of the Season

Growing up in India, I’ve never experienced a proper snowfall before. Back home, the temperatures generally only drop to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I was so delighted to experience my first-ever snowfall on the beautiful campus of the University of Notre Dame. On Halloween night, of all nights, snow started falling in South Bend! Seeing the vibrant fall leaves still on the trees, and the skies full of soft flurries was truly a beautiful sight.

My cohort mate Esteban Rojas captured the start of the snowfall beautifully here in this Instagram reel:

As November begins, Notre Dame feels less like a university and more like a heartwarming home. It's where dreams can shine, friendships blossom, and personal growth takes center stage. With winter beginning, I eagerly anticipate the upcoming holiday season.

Professionally, I'm excited as I realize my aspirations, whether launching my startup or pursuing a business or strategy analyst career. Here's to dreaming big because those dreams have a magical way of coming to life here at Notre Dame. As the song's lyrics suggest, "There's a magic in the sound of her name – here comes the Irish of Notre Dame."