Alumnus credits Binghamton for inspiring his award-winning review website
By Miranda Langrehr '14
Faisal Farooqui '99 was born in Mumbai, India, and came to Binghamton for his undergraduate education. When he left Binghamton, he had a bachelor's degree in management (MIS and finance concentrations) and the idea for an award-winning company.
Farooqui is the founder and CEO of Mouthshut.com, a product and service review and discovery platform.
"People come to express their opinions on products and services. You can review the airline you used, movie you watched, shoes that you bought — products or services, lifestyle or mundane, anything," said Farooqui.
Farooqui said that he highly values the education he received at Binghamton.
"It's not the textbooks but the teachers who taught those courses," he said.
He explained that two instructors in particular, Surinder Kahai in the School of Management and Paulette Hackman in the English department, had a monumental influence on his life. Farooqui credits Hackman, who taught his magazine writing course, with the inspiration for MouthShut.com. In Hackman's course, students submitted their articles for peer review.
"When I got feedback, my article got drastically better. I thought to myself, what could feedback do to products and services? Binghamton gets the credit for inspiring the ideas that I started working on," he said.
At Binghamton, Farooqui was an elected member of the Student Assembly and wrote a technology column for Pipe Dream. After graduation, Farooqui worked in the United States for a few months, but was excited to pursue the idea he had conceived at Binghamton. In 2000, he returned to India on vacation and explored the possibility of starting a business. He had a return ticket to the United States, but never used it.
Mouthshut.com just completed its 13th year of business and is the market leader in the review space in its region. The website preceded U.S. equivalent Yelp.com by four years.
Farooqui said he hopes to see Binghamton motivate students to start their own ventures. "Binghamton has strong programs and produces strong talent, but few people who want to venture out and start their own companies," he said. "I loved every day that I spent at Binghamton. A lot of what I am today is because of the great teachers and instructors that I had, wonderful people that I met and friendships that I made."
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