Manik Aryapadi graduated from the Northwestern MEM program in 2010. He is originally from Hyderabad, India, but later moved to the United States, where he attended Texas A&M University, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Manik’s interests are quite varied. He loves volunteering to work with animals, Spanish cuisine at Café Iberico, and is secretly a talented karaoke singer! His favorite tech company is Magic Leap, a Silicon Valley company investing in augmented reality that he believes could transform how retailers operate and consumers shop.
Manik chose the MEM program for its ability to help him hone his business skills while also continuing to develop his technical expertise and build upon his existing four years of engineering experience. Speaking about the program he said, “The MEM degree felt like a natural choice as it would allow me to pair classes in industrial engineering with a few business classes, and get an all-round education.” He now works as Principal at A.T. Kearney in Chicago.
We asked Manik about his MEM experience at Northwestern:
What was the best part about MEM?
The best part of the program was having the flexibility to tailor your curriculum and take classes that best fit your career needs. Secondly, I found my cohort to be very engaging, and this elevated the level of discussions we had in our classes. All the students brought in unique and distinct perspectives that helped us understand the same issues from different angles.
How has your MEM experience contributed to your career path?
The MEM experience was critical in shaping the trajectory of my career path. After graduation, the MEM degree opened doors for me (that would not have been possible), and gave me instant credibility in the market place. Being data-driven, collaborating across functional areas, and learning to motivate high performing teams were some of the skills I learnt in the MEM program, which I continue to refine and apply in my career every day.
Was there a part of your experience you found was unique to Northwestern?
If I use one word to describe my experience at Northwestern, it would be “collaborative”. Most often, our teams consisted of a good mix of full-time and part time students that had varying years of experience in different industries, and came from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. This meant that I could challenge my own thinking and tap into their collective wisdom and knowledge to broaden and deepen my understanding of any topic.
What advice would you offer students currently in the program?
Learning is an iterative process and I credit some of my MEM classes including Simulation and Quantitative Methods for exposing me to innovative ideas. My only advice would be “Don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks.”