Carnegie Mellon University

Aswin Pranam | Part-Time Online MBA | Class of 2018

Product manager. Tech enthusiast. Aspiring culinarian.

I am originally from Trivandrum, India, but I moved to the U.S. when I was seven. I don’t have much time to miss my home in India though because I travel back every year and a half for vacation. Prior to relocating to the Bay Area, most of my life was split between Detroit and Seattle.

I have always loved technology, and I believe it will continue to shape the way we live. I spent a couple of years as a software engineer at Boeing and Disney before transitioning into an Engineering Program Management role at Google. I decided to pursue an MBA because I want to get to the heart of what makes a business successful. Engineering is the lifeblood of a tech company, but if you aren’t able to make money, everything falls apart. It is important to me to be able to see how each business function contributes to the overall mission.

Tepper has a strong reputation in Silicon Valley, and everyone I interact with is aware of the quality education this institution provides. For me, the decision to attend Carnegie Mellon was easy, simply because the school is so highly respected and quant-focused. Everything we are being taught is directly applicable and the compressed nature of the mini-semesters allows me to quickly start using what I learn. My experience with different tech companies gives me a unique perspective and allows me to provide advice about the industry and possibly recruit a few of my classmates after graduation!

At first, I was hesitant to join a part-time hybrid program. My expectation was that students would work in individual silos and barely interact with one another, which is concerning because an MBA is all about networking. After coming to Tepper, I have found that this couldn’t be further from the truth. In less than six months, my classmates and I have formed a mini-community that supports, encourages and inspires its members.

Career Plans

Earning my MBA from the Tepper School helped me to make a shift in my career path; I am now a product manager at McKinsey & Company, enabling me to change my thinking from all things technology and engineering to macro-level strategy design and implementation. I now have the analytical thinking skills to expand my toolset and continue to grow my career in a new sector.

Your Life + Tepper School

I’ve found that my classmates are very friendly and supportive. Tepper students are driven, but there isn’t a sense of internal competition because we all want to see each other succeed in our respective industries.

BaseCamp Orientation was the perfect way to break the ice and let students know that this journey is a collaborative experience. Although our cohort is distributed across the country, we are a tight-knit community. We consistently text, chat or Vidyo each other throughout the month, and it’s always exciting when you’re back on campus (or socializing off campus) during Access Weekend.

Outside of school and work, I attend dozens of tech conferences throughout the year and travel aggressively. In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball, programming, flying back to Seattle to visit family and friends, meeting new people and attending rap concerts. I am also attempting to get into cooking, but it’s a work in progress.

Tepper School Advice

Take more notes!

In addition, make sure to put yourself out there. I’ve realized that I am more extroverted than I initially thought. Everyone made me feel welcome from day one, which enabled me to open up very quickly to the cohort.