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Real Humans of Apple: Piu Ghosh, Indiana Kelley ’20, Program Manager

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There is a perceived divide between engineers and business operations. Piu Ghosh is here to tell us you can excel at both. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Ghosh describes how the Indiana Kelley MBA program enabled her transition from building refineries to delivering innovation at the intersection of technology and business in the world’s leading tech company, Apple.

Piu Ghosh, Indiana Kelley MBA ’20, CapEx Program Manager at Apple

Age: 33 yrs
Hometown: Kolkata, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Jadavpur University, India, Instrumentation and Electronics Engineering
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Kelley School of Business, 2020, General Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 6 years, Oil and Gas
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2.7years, Technology

Why did you choose to attend business school?
Prior to my MBA, I was an engineer, designing and building refinery plants with the world’s top Oil & Gas companies. However, I wanted to pivot my career into a business-focused role where I could create organisational-level impact. Hence, pursuing an MBA was a no-brainer for me. I knew it would help me learn about different business functions, polish my soft skills, and, most importantly, connect with professionals from different industries and with diverse perspectives.

Why Kelley? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
An important aspect for me while choosing the right business school was the network of people I will be surrounded with and the culture of the school. So, I attended as many informational sessions, and coffee chats as possible, where I interacted with Academic advisors, alumni, and current students, and I immediately felt connected with the Kelley community. And till date, I feel proud of this decision, because starting from easing my worries of moving to a new country, to helping out with resume reviews, interview prep, and in so many other situations, the community provided me with strong support.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
The biggest learning I had from my MBA was that it is ok to fail when you try new challenges. Normalising failure and focusing on the learnings is key to becoming a successful and empathetic leader.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
My summer internship as Corporate Strategy associate at Zurich Insurance, a global Insurance company, is the exact role I wanted to venture into Post MBA, where I got an opportunity to work alongside senior leadership of the company and learned how to derive data-driven strategic recommendations, as I was developing strategies to grow company’s distribution channels. The experience gave me confidence that I can steer my career into business, without any prior experience. However, I left the internship undecided about the industry that I would settle in and started exploring other options which were never on my list.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
Working at Apple’s operations has always been my dream because of the company’s operational excellence while delivering technological breakthrough products at a massive scale. Moreover, I was excited about the CapEx program manager role, which sits at the intersection of Apple’s technology and business and gave me a unique opportunity to bring my both technical and business acumen, while strategizing organizational-level initiatives to establish an optimized supply chain of new products.

When I was interviewing, I asked one question of all my interviewers: what brings or motivates them to work every day? And almost all of them mentioned that at Apple, every day is a new day with new challenges. It played an important factor in my decision because I knew I would never feel bored while solving new and challenging problems with the smartest people around me.

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
Luckily, I secured my full-time job before the pandemic hit, so I didn’t have to make any specific change to my career plan. However, it definitely made onboarding to a new company culture and learning about my role more challenging, due to the virtual work setup with limited access to information and people. I am fortunate that my teammates at Apple have always made me feel welcome and went beyond their limit to support my virtual onboarding, making it possible for me to deliver an executive presentation within 3 weeks of joining.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Keep an open mind for recruitment. Remember that MBA opens doors to different opportunities, hence not to settle for a career without exploring and researching different options.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Relax and enjoy the journey along the way, while keeping up with a busy curriculum, recruiting activities, networking, club events, case competitions and many other events happening in business school.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
There is no surprise, as Apple recruiters were amazing in communicating the expectations from interviews and their timeline. However, unlike consulting firms or many other companies, Apple’s interview process does not have any specific structure; it is more based on fit to the company culture and the role. On final recruitment day, I had 9 interviews with leaders from cross-functional teams to the role I was interviewing for. Some of the interviews were very conversational, where the topic ranged from my professional experience to hobbies, while others had situational case questions based on the problems I would face on a day-to-day basis in the role. Doing thorough research about the role and the company prior to interviews, being spontaneous in face of diverse interviewing styles, and most importantly, being yourself is critical to sail smoothly through the process.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
While a plethora of things are going around you during MBA, don’t forget to take a pause and reflect on yourself from time to time. It is possible to get distracted by what others are doing, but remember everyone will have their unique journey to success. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.