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Real Humans of the UMD Robert H. Smith School of Business MBA Class of 2025

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Santhosh Kumar Thiyagarajan, UMD Robert H. Smith School of Business MBA Class of 2025

Age: 29
Hometown: Bengaluru, India.
Undergraduate Institution and Major: BMS Institute of Technology and Management, UG Major: Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering.
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): Cognizant Technology Solutions, Sep 2015-June 2018, SAP Industry Solutions – Retail tester. Qualitest India Private Limited, June 2018-Jan 2019, SAP Industry Solutions – Retail Consultant. TruSpeQ Consulting Private Ltd, Jan 2019-Jan 2022, SAP Material Management Consultant. SAP Ariba, Jan 2022-Aug 2023, SAP Ariba Consultant.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
My previous work experience of almost eight years has allowed me to recognize where my true dreams lie since I was given the opportunity to learn about the possibilities in the supply chain management field. I have opted for an MBA in Supply Chain Management because I have learned about the development aspect of the supply chain process. I would now like to enhance and progress towards learning and mastering the business side of the same through this MBA at the Robert H Smith School of Business.

Why did you choose UMD Smith? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
By selecting the Robert H. Smith School of Business, I brought my college hunt to a conclusion. While there were several other competent universities to consider, the Robert H. Smith School of Business stood out for its diverse background of students, its reputation for providing quality education, and its proximity to the vibrant city of Washington, DC. Moreover, the top-ranked faculty and its strong corporate relations provide the students with the perfect combination of academics and networking opportunities I needed.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Robert H. Smith School of Business MBA Class of 2025?
Learning from everyone around me has been critical to my success. I consider my friends part of my extended family. In all my endeavors—school, work, travel—I have always created “little families.”  Our MBA classroom is very diverse; we will have to learn each other’s cultures and customs. I grew up in two different cultures. As a cadet in the Air Force, it has allowed me to develop a strong sense of discipline and attention to detail. I was taught to deal with differences within our multicultural Air Force team. In my previous roles at work, I used those skills to work with engineering teams around the world. This has enabled me to hone my problem-solving and communication skills. These responsibilities have given me unique insights that will help my classmates at the Robert H Smith School of Business, and this would be my differentiating quality to the classroom.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I am a foodie and to compensate for this, I enjoy hiking and consider it a way to merge with Mother Nature.

Post-MBA career interests:
My immediate career goal following the completion of my MBA program from the prestigious Robert H Smith School of Business is to enthusiastically enter and be a valuable representative of a multinational corporation as a supply chain analyst. To accomplish this, I require the supply chain and management expertise that MBA can provide. I want to learn from multiple portfolios of client engagements and put all my theoretical experience into practice in a real-world environment. I would slowly work my way up to becoming a product manager so I could use the skills I’ve learned and focus on bringing digital and correct business strategies to the industry in the long run. In addition to my career goals, I would like to be a mentor or a point of contact for future aspirants who want to pursue an MBA. I want to connect with and guide people in my specialization. I see this as an opportunity to build my network and encourage candidates to make decisions that contribute to their career growth.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I would consider speaking with current MBA students to understand the curriculum structure and the student life experience. This would give me a better sense of the school’s culture and what my classmates would be like. Additionally, I would be interested in learning about the resources available to students, such as internships and career counseling. Finally, I would also want to know what clubs and activities are available to help students network with their peers.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?rh smith umd
There is no reason to assume that the university representatives will not respond or answer your inquiries. They are here to assist you. The first lesson I learned at Smith school is that there is no such thing as a silly question. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the admissions department or current MBA students. It would be our pleasure to answer any questions you may have.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Trying to write the best essay possible, I overlooked the limited amount of time available. To provide students with sufficient time to do all the other things that follow the application process, I encourage them to apply early in the application process.

What is your initial impression of the UMD Smith students/culture/community?
Students in the classroom bring a diversity of perspectives to the discussion of a particular issue. This environment encourages a diverse viewpoint to be expressed. In this environment, brilliant minds from all over the world compete for success. Initially, I found it difficult to catch up with the fast-paced curriculum and compete with the best minds in the world. By trying different approaches to the curriculum, I eventually found a way to overcome my difficulties.

What is one thing you have learned about UMD Smith that has surprised you?
The atmosphere at the Robert H. Smith School of Business is one of my favorite things. In addition to being smart, the people here are also down to earth, which I discovered during my first few days at school. Everyone pitches in to make the other successful in this tight-knit community. I am confident that I will benefit from the culture as well as contribute to the continuation of such a connection.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I was concerned about how I would handle finance concepts coming from an engineering background and limited experience with finance in my previous positions at work. Nevertheless, the pre-course work designed to increase our knowledge of finance was helpful in advancing our learning.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I look forward to joining the numerous student-led organizations that align with my career goals. I believe that joining these organizations will give me the opportunity to build my professional network and further my understanding of the business world. Additionally, these organizations will give me the opportunity to develop strong leadership and communication skills.

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.