Carnegie Mellon University

Graphic with Siddharth Dar at the center on a gray background. A "N" pattern is on either side

June 04, 2024

INI Alumnus Siddharth Dhar Receives Top Honors for His Startup Leadership

By Evan Lybrand

INI Communications

Information Networking Institute (INI) alumnus Siddharth Dhar has been named one of Amplitude’s Most Innovative People in Product for 2024. Amplitude is a digital analytics platform that acknowledges leaders in product innovation with their annual Product50 awards. Dhar was named Best Product Leader at a startup or small company for his work with Innowatts, a data analytics company.  

Dhar, a graduate of the Master of Science in Information Networking (MSIN) program, had always been interested in technology and innovation while growing up in India, and once in the U.S., he chose to join the INI to further pursue his passion. It was the interdisciplinary approach of the INI that appealed the most to Dhar, and he took full advantage of the wide range of courses available, shaping his curriculum with classes in computer science, business and public policy. This holistic approach laid the groundwork for his career.   

While at the INI, Dhar attended one of the many on-campus career fairs and accepted an offer to work with the Lehman Brothers financial firm. Dhar moved to New York to begin his new position, prepared to start the next phase of his career. Unfortunately, after only three months, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and Dhar found himself without a job in the middle of a major economic downturn.  

“This sudden turn left me feeling confused, lost, embarrassed and fearful for my future,” said Dhar. “However, with the guidance of mentors and a stroke of luck from a career fair at CMU the following week, I was able to swiftly shift into action mode.” 

Dhar overcame this setback, and relocated to Los Angeles, California, before eventually moving to Houston, Texas with  Macquarie Bank. In early 2021, he chose to build on his impressive technical skills with a product management certificate from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Soon after, he made the decision to join a Series B AI startup, Innowatts and now successfully serves as the Vice President of Product Management. “The certificate complimented the foundation of technical expertise and interdisciplinary thinking I acquired at the INI by providing me with specialized knowledge and skills in product strategy, marketing and leadership,” Dhar said. 

Despite his impressive skills and deep technical knowledge, Dhar still suffered from the common symptoms of imposter syndrome, a feeling of anxiety about perceived lackluster achievements regardless of success. “Imposter syndrome is a common challenge that many professionals face at various stages of their careers,” said Dhar. “My advice to early-career technical leaders is to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, continuously adapt and cultivate confidence in your abilities. Remember that everyone experiences moments of doubt, but it’s how we respond to them that defines our success!” 

Dhar shared more advice for students as he reflected on his journey. “It’s crucial to maintain a spirit of curiosity, ambition and humility during the transition from academia to the professional world,” Dhar said. “And for those interested in startups, I urge you to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. Be prepared to take calculated risks and fully immerse yourself in the dynamic startup ecosystem.” 

Finally, he reflected on the importance of maintaining physical and mental health during those challenging early years of building a career:  “I encourage graduating students to not only prioritize financial planning but also emphasize self-care and well-being as they transition into adulthood.”