The business of a positive mindset

How this UOW graduate tackled entrepreneurship on a global scale

Upon her return to India following the completion of her MBA at Sydney Business School, UOW, Umang was determined to make a positive impact on mental health.

UOW graduate Umang Malik Aggarwal can teach us a thing or two about running a business. As the founder and CEO of two successful startups, The Tender Curve and The Social Mango, she has made significant strides in markets across the Asia-Pacific region. However, Umang's journey wasn't always straightforward. A few years ago, she grappled with burnout, an experience that has since fuelled her mission to help others avoid a similar fate.  

The Tender Curve was born from Umang’s desire to connect with others and provide them with love and support during happy and difficult times. Returning to India after completing her MBA at Sydney Business School, UOW, she noticed people's reluctance to discuss their mental health. As it's in Umang’s nature to be upfront, she was determined to make an impact and founded The Tender Curve.  

"I realised that people weren't open to talking about their weaknesses. There's always hesitation. This was way too much. I had to do something about it," she says.

The Tender Curve's products promote a positive mindset and establish a healthy work/life balance. One of their bestselling products is the Monthly Diary, inspired by Umang’s experience with burnout. This goal-oriented journal focuses on enhancing productivity by setting and reflecting on monthly goals, brainstorming ideas, planning daily tasks, and tracking mindful habits.

Umang and her team rigorously tested the product for three months before its launch to ensure it was helpful for professionals.

Habits for success 

The Tender Curve's Monthly Diary captures Umang’s formula for organisation so others can easily apply it within their work. She prioritises daily tasks, creating a top-three must-do list and scheduling non-urgent items for later to avoid becoming stuck on unimportant tasks.  

"Often what happens is you'll have a list of tasks you'll need to cover, and if you're not able to do even half of it, you spoil your mood," she says.  

Umang learned this lesson the hard way when she first started her business.  

"I learn from my mistakes. I try to test it within the market, and if someone can find it useful and it will be helpful for them, I’ll launch the product.”

Foundations for success 

Before starting her entrepreneurial ventures, Umang gained diverse experience through study and work. With degrees from the University of Mumbai and the University of Bristol, she chose Sydney Business School, UOW, for her MBA to immerse herself in Sydney's fast-paced culture. She also liked the curriculum and the support she received from her tutors.   

Umang eventually went on to work at a Sydney marketing agency as a consultant but says the insight she received from the UOW academics had the most impact on her career.  

"They taught me a lot of practical business things, some of which I still apply to this day," she says.    

Umang built a network of B2B clients while working in Australia and continued freelancing for them once she returned to India. As her network and workload grew, so did The Social Mango.  

"I was freelancing and working out of a rental office. If I had to hire more people, I had to hire an office space. And if I had to hire an office space, I needed to form a company, and that is how The Social Mango was born."  

The business is now expanding into a training and consulting venture for the Asia-Pacific region, and Umang is drawing upon her academic insights to mentor others.  

"I was always interested in academics. When I started my MBA, I was sure I could be a good trainer and mentor. I was sure I could teach people."

Advice for success

A mark of Umang’s character is her continual desire for improvement. She is constantly looking for ways to learn and grow as an entrepreneur.  

"I am learning from my mistakes. There are so many things I could have done better. I am thankful that I got the opportunity to take some time off from my businesses, work on those things and come back. I think of myself as Umang 2.0 because I am much more well-equipped to handle things and develop new ideas."  

She offers key advice for other entrepreneurs; address unhealthy work habits to prevent burnout.   

"For someone who is extremely passionate about the work that they do, you tend to overwork."  

"Take writing, for example. You might be writing for eight to ten hours at work, then when you get home, you might get another idea and think, 'Let me write this down' and continue to work. This is a bad idea."  

"You won't realise that after a couple of years of doing this, your mind will start to saturate, and you'll experience burnout."  

She urges business owners to create work/life boundaries and practice being mindful in the moment.  

"Experience the experiences around you. Go out for a drink. Lie down on the beach. Do all sorts of activities. Don't compromise because once that time passes, you will never get it back."  

The University of Wollongong is set be one of the first Australian universities to establish a teaching base in India, upon the anticipated opening of UOW India in 2024.

Stay tuned to The Stand for the latest news, course details and campus updates.