Ankush Chatterjee is from from Calcutta, India, which he describes as a city with a lot of heart. His undergraduate degree in engineering is from Jadavpur University, one of the premier engineering institutes in India. Afterwards, he came to the US and graduated from Northwestern’s Masters of Engineering Management (MEM) program in 2004. He has worked in various technology/management roles at companies like Motorola, Aricent Group, and Samsung (where is currently the Head of Projects in Product Innovation). In addition to his graduate education at Northwestern, he has also received the following degrees and certifications:
- Post-Graduate Business Administration – Harvard Business School
- M.B.A. in Marketing, Finance, & Entrepreneurship – DePaul University
- B.E. in Electronics & Telecommunications – Jadavpur University
- Leadership & Influence Management Certificate – The Dale Carnegie Institute
- Masters Certificate in Project Management – George Washington University
Why Northwestern? Why MEM?
I think each University had its own strengths, including Northwestern. Especially considering the MEM program, I thought we had a great faculty and an eclectic mix of students. I enjoyed the discussions (in-class and offline) immensely; the quality of project work in almost all the courses was fantastic, and this was really my first window into areas like Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Finance. The periodic seminars and the flexibilty to select electives from a wide selection of schools was extremely appealing. Last but not the least, the learnings and personal interactions with some of the best professors in the business like Proff. Anil Pandya, Proff. Mike Marasco et al. remain cherished.
Was it always your plan to have a career in technology product innovation?
Honestly speaking, my goal has always been to build a company over time. And with that in mind, I have been seeking exposure to a variety of business areas including product management, product marketing, strategy, finance, innovation consulting and so on. The objective has been to develop into a well-rounded individual and not necessarily, to target a specific functional discipline. I never looked out for a job – what I was more interested was in having a career of relevance.
Going for a triple Masters at three different schools – there was a method to the madness there – the MEM brought in the rigor around systems & technical entrepreneurship and the core understanding of several business areas, the MBA built on top of that and allowed me to dig deeper into specializations like finance that were mostly alien to me and the post-MBA studies at Harvard was all about developing leadership, general management skills, and a sense of the “right thing to do”.
What motivates you to go to work each day?
My work has an impact beyond the self and company, as the new innovative concepts help make lives better or at least, easier for millions – what better motivation than that ? The role is at the cross-roads of business, creative, and technical disciplines, and continues to morph into something “new” beyond every project. Besides, there are aspects to be learnt everyday at the workplace – be it good or bad.
Tell us a little about your life outside of work:
I am an avid reader of new management thinking and business principles and I try to keep up with the same. I take a keen interest in the startup and innovations space, outside my current work responsibilities. I write at times, although less so than before. And the recent interest that has taken over most of my life is keeping pace with the rockstar – my 1.5 yr old son, Yohaan and his ever indulgent Mom, Mitali. What I manage to do everyday is also because these people and my parents and many others along way shared the dream and the vision to do the usual things in life…differently.