Real Humans of SMU Cox’s MBA Class of 2021
Jonathan Zachariah Vasu, SMU Cox MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Bangalore, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: M.S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Close to 12. However, 6 of those years were in university settings. Industry was mostly automotive.
Why business school? Why now?
In my last position as a Technical Project Leader, I got to appreciate the importance of strategy in determining the long-term success of a company. I also have an entrepreneurial bent, so I decided to do an MBA to better understand the business side of technology to enable me to be a more effective leader in the tech space. I felt that this was the right time to make that switch and to get back to university while I was still able to do so.
Why SMU Cox? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Dallas was a very attractive option to me as an industry hub and because of its networking potential. Also, my interview sessions with SMU faculty and staff, along with my discussions with a senior in the program, all had a strong positive impact on my decision to choose SMU Cox. Cox is also one of the few business schools in the country that provide MBAs with STEM certifications.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
My industry experience, project management, and people skills that I honed in my last job as a Technical Project Leader are my most valuable contributions to the Class of 2021.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I can play the accordion!
Post-MBA career interests?
I am interested in strategy consulting in the tech space in the short term and in starting my own business in the long term.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I would talk to current students and visit university campuses.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Start my application process earlier. It would have been good to have started at least a year before the program began.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
There’s no part of the application that I would have skipped, as the process helped me to think through details of what I wanted from an MBA and why. It also helped me to better prepare myself to get back to the rigor of academics.
What is your initial impression of SMU Cox’s students/culture/community?
My initial experience at SMU Cox has exceeded my expectations substantially and reinforces the sense that the SMU Cox experience is the best fit for me. The students and staff are exceptionally talented and the diverse experiences each of them bring to the table enriches the experience for all of us.
One of SMU’s strengths is the great community and connections it maintains with industry leaders and entrepreneurs. This enables us to tap into a vast wealth of experiences. I have already benefited from this in my short time here, and I know that there is a lot more coming.
One thing you have learned about SMU Cox that has surprised you?
The emphasis on intense networking in the form of industry and meet & greet sessions, right from the beginning of the program took me by surprise.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Balancing several high priority goals optimally (coursework, classes, networking and Business Leadership Center training).
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Learning subjects I have been interested in for a while and experiencing university life again!