Taking ideas to the next level.
Who she is: Garima Goel Lal, research and instruction librarian for the Hotel, Labor and Management Library.
What she does: I teach business research to students and those who are trying to engage in entrepreneurial activity at Cornell. We reach students through in-class instruction and library workshops. We do one-on-one sessions with students to help them create research strategies for their in-class projects as well as real-life new business ventures. Our focus is on communicating the importance of business research not just for classrooms but beyond. We also work with faculty to support their research needs.
I’ve also been working with the Entrepreneurship at Cornell group to help disseminate information about how libraries can be helpful in entrepreneurship efforts. To that end, I developed a research guide, “How to: New Ventures,” which is linked at Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s website as “fabulous library resources.”
Why it’s important: I’m an entrepreneur, so I really understand the value of business research and competitive intelligence. Competitive intelligence entails gathering business information and then creating insight out of that information, which in turn gives you better knowledge to make better-informed business decisions. In the library, we have access to valuable resources and we can help students acquire the skills they’ll need.
Where you come from: I’m originally from India. I’ve been in the U.S. for around 20 years.
Background: My undergraduate degree is in architecture, and I worked as an architect for about a year, and then I moved to the U.S. and pursued an MBA with a focus in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. As an MBA student, I participated in a business-plan competition and our team won first place. That’s when I started recognizing the value of business research. After that I worked for a marketing intelligence company, Mintel, for about 10 years as a food and beverage analyst. At Mintel, I designed different aspects of research and talked to stakeholders to get a picture of the whole industry.
This librarian position really intrigued me because it looked like it fit my background. I don’t have a traditional library science degree, so there’s a bit of a learning curve, but I’m also trying to focus on my strengths and figure out how we can position the library beyond its current uses—to reach not only classrooms and students but entrepreneurs and the whole of Cornell.
Education: I have an architecture degree from IIT Roorkee in India, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
How long at Cornell: 13 months
Best part of her job: Often students will come to me with business ideas, whether for entrepreneurship classes or real-world ventures, and I like to try to get into their heads and see how I would approach their ideas from a research point of view. I get to do that on a fairly regular basis. Whenever I see a business idea, I think, “This is so exciting, and what can we do to take it to the next level?”
In her spare time: I’m an avid reader and love to read non-fiction. Whenever I have time, I like to explore the Ithaca landscape through the camera lens.