“In the historic city of Jodhpur, in the heart of Rajasthan, India, I was born into a family that epitomized the perfect fusion of academic and architectural brilliance,” says Nehal Beniwal, whose mother is a sociology professor and father is an architect and civil engineer. “It was only natural for me to develop a deep curiosity about the world around me.”
With her early-instilled passion for understanding how physical spaces can influence human interaction and well-being, Beniwal already has an established foundation in architecture. After obtaining two bachelor’s degrees in the subject from Vistula University in Poland and the University of Hertfordshire in England, she is now pursuing an M.B.A. on New York Tech’s New York City campus.
The School of Management student hopes to merge her creative abilities with business and management skills—skills she has already dabbled in during a multitude of architecture internships.
“As I study for my M.B.A., I hope to acquire the necessary skills to assume managerial and leadership positions within the design industry or potentially establish my own design firm,” Beniwal says. “By applying marketing strategies, conducting research, and developing branding concepts, I have gained a deeper understanding of how marketing influences the success of interior and architectural designs.”
This summer, the budding architect is interning at Dyali Interiors’ Brooklyn, N.Y., headquarters. The interior design firm specializes in luxury and high-end residential work. In her role, Beniwal is responsible for various components of project management, including reviewing client budgets, maintaining project schedules, managing construction site orders, and mentoring select interns under her supervision, equipping her with newfound leadership and communication skills.
At Dyali, she is working on the renovation of a mixed-use building in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood. The ground floor, currently a raw commercial space, will house the flagship store of an internationally celebrated fashion label. The top three floors will be apartments for the family of the building’s owner.
“Working under the guidance of Dyali founder Rahul Ghera has been an invaluable experience,” says Beniwal, who has learned critical client and project management skills, as well as the practical application of marketing principles in the interior architecture and design field. “I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and I’m confident in my ability to make a positive change in the industry.”
Previously, Beniwal interned at the architectural firm My Design in Rajasthan, India, and at kitchen design company Charlie Kingham in Guildford, England. At My Design, Beniwal got a taste of the architecture world by overseeing projects, managing client relationships, and contributing to seasonal concepts and designs.
At Charlie Kingham, she had the opportunity to fully immerse herself in the field by crafting designs, exploring novel software solutions for rendering and designing, quoting projects, and preparing project documents and presentations for client approval. All the while collaborating with management and colleagues across multiple departments.
As she continues her M.B.A. studies, Beniwal reflects on her time as a research assistant for Associate Professor of Management and Marketing Studies Colleen Kirk, D.P.S. As part of Kirk’s research team, she investigated the influential role of music in advertising and the emotional phenomenon “kama muta,” or feeling moved. Through literature reviews, data analysis, and psychological studies, the team explored the intricate connections between music, consumer behavior, and emotional engagement in the advertising realm. They presented their findings at this year’s Symposium of University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE).
“Building a strong professional network is key to your success,” offers Beniwal to like-minded students who wish to combine a background in interior architecture and design with business. “The university’s location in New York City provides unparalleled networking and career opportunities in diverse industries.”
In her spare time, Beniwal enjoys reading and exploring cities with much to offer by way of artwork, which is why New York City is a great fit for her. Ever eager to learn something new, she reminds others to “always remain curious, passionate, and adaptable” as the design industry is consistently evolving.
“Your journey is unique, and it is important to follow your own path while incorporating the advice and experiences of others,” she says. “It was through a journey of exploration, self-discovery, and unwavering love for the architectural treasures of my home state in India that I found my true calling in the field of interior architecture and design.”