Darshini Sharma Patel, MHRIR 07, interned at both the City of Champaign and Cummins, Inc., prior to graduation. After graduation, she worked for Cummins for three years before returning to India with her husband, Amar, who works for Caterpillar and helps with their family business.  

They live in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, with their children, Aashini, who was born in the US before their return to India, and Aarya, who was born right before the COVID lockdown.

Since her return to India, Darshini has used her LER skills to pursue an atypical career as the business owner of a bakery. Her husband helps during the day, before he hops online to work for Caterpillar.

Their store is named Buttercupp – A Cupcake Shoppe, and they make cupcakes, brownies, cookies and other seasonal items like apple crisp. There is a huge demand for American and European sweets in India so they have been successful. Currently, they are building a factory outlet in outskirts of Ahmedabad, in an attempt to mechanize production and increase output. Their current location is located in a mall and has a small kitchen and front retail space, but is not designed for large scale production.

Darshini reports that “I am very happy that skills I learned at LER come to use every day. For any business, you need good human resources. In a place like India where there are so many sects, castes, religions and hodgepodge of every belief system, it is imperative to have good HR. In India, on every resume, father’s name, mother’s name, caste, weight etc. are written. I refined my resume million times while in the US, but never had to include such personal information. Here, how far ahead one can make it in his/her career is dependent upon parameters one cannot change in their life like, caste. This is one change that we have brought to our place from day one. Thanks to numerous cases learned in Prof. Michael LeRoy’s class, I received this perspective.”

Darshini’s love of baking was boosted by watching Cupcake Wars and a lot of Food Network chefs like Ina Garten and Alton Brown. You can follow her shop on Instagram at @buttercuppamd.

We checked in on how COVID has affected her, due to India’s recent surge. “COVID has affected many lives, but it has been better here compared to bigger cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Everyone we knew has been infected in this last surge including, both parents and in-laws. Now the cases have reduced and everything is opening back up, although schools and colleges still remain online,” said Darshini.