Akshay Kumar Marketing, MBA

Growing in a middle-class family, life was always a mixture of both problems and future dreams and goals. But like most of the people in young age, I had a variety of aspirations, I would think of becoming a pilot when I saw an airplane in the sky, I thought of becoming a computer engineer when I was amused by computers. But finally, the time came when I had to decide one of them during pre-university. This is when I chose biomedical engineering as my major, mostly because of the confluence of technology and medicine amused me at that point in time. But during my third year in college,I realized that I made a mistake in choosing my major. I felt this way basically because of two reasons, one being I relished more of the electronics and computer science part of my course more than my actual core which was the medical application of these courses. The other reason being, after an internship with a startup, and a research project in lieu with a real problem, I decided my long term career goal as being a tech entrepreneur. By then I had realized that let alone getting the product in the hands of the patient or a doctor, even design a market-ready biomedical product, required very huge amount of investment, time and experience, which is very much because a biomedical product is used on patient,it requires stringent regulatory approvals,complex design hence extending time to market.

This is when I decided if I had to startup, and ensure its likelihood of success,I had to do it in the software technologies field which is trending,familiar to me,and involves lesser investments of time and money,with the lot of investors ready to invest in these domains,seeing their trend to succeed.

So, in the next 1 year in college, I went to an internship,I went to workshops, took courses, did experiments using free and paid kits and software resources, and learned whatever I could learn about the two fields I was interested in starting up, IoT and AI along with developing competence in embedded software which acts as a backend to IoT. After graduation I joined a startup developing AI and IoT products,to further enrich my knowledge in these domains. Then during my tenure of my job for the next 5 months,I strived and learned whatever I needed to know to start up in these domains including project management,a data analyst nanodegree sponsored by the company,working on an industry project from scratch to deployment,to overcoming boredom involved in some of the job situation,probably which I would have learned in 2 years in an MNC company, owing to startup’s freedom to work across domains.

Finally, I came to the conclusion, that there is no need to delay, because the field I chose was relatively new and evolving, and that I could learn and move on, which lead to me and my colleague quitting the job for starting up along with an idea in an initial stage. Thereafter we developed prototypes, made business presentations, tried to get traction, participated to win fellowships and hackathons none of which proved quite successful. This leads to my cofounders swaying away, and we had also experienced execution challenges owing to our low experience in the industry, and financial unpreparedness. All this made me realize though startup ideas could be pivoted at initial stages of a startup, no startup could succeed through fundamental execution challenges. And execution challenges I faced mostly revolved around attracting right people with the right attitude, unstable finance, poor execution capabilities due to lack of managerial knowledge, experience and binding with corporate culture.

Hence,I decided to go for an MBA,in an international environment like USA where I would like to work for a few years in the managerial domain before starting up , while  I would also retain my technical knowledge, and take it as a hobby to stay abreast of the new  trend in the domains I mentioned. This helps me clearly to counter the execution challenges which I faced initially in starting up.I would prefer marketing as a subdomain in an MBA, as that is the most important and crucial business activities for an early-stage startup.

Rohini Mukherjee – Digital Marketing, MBA

Hi! My name is Rohini Mukherjee. I am currently pursuing my MBA with a concentration in Digital Marketing from Saunder’s College of Business (RIT). Anticipating graduating in May 2020.

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My story so far

Born and brought up in the steel town of Jamshedpur, India, I moved to Mumbai after school to pursue my Bachelors in Economics from St. Xavier’s College. This was followed by a move to the United States to do a Masters in Human Resource Development from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008.

On completing my master’s degree, I returned to India and joined our family business as the Head of Human Resource. It was very challenging being the only woman working in a team of over 300 employees. Having gained a couple of years of work experience and observing my Dad as an entrepreneur, when opportunity presented itself, I went ahead and became an entrepreneur myself.

Designclature – A partnership venture

I launched Designclature, a mobile app development firm. It was a partnership where my partner was looking into the technical aspect and I was looking into the business aspect of the company.

Cake Inc. – Merging my love for baking and being an entrepreneur

Over time I discovered I had a passion for baking. When the partnership was dissolved, I moved to Bangalore to complete a course in baking science and pastry art. On completing the course .I launched Cake Inc., a boutique bakery dealing with made to order, customized desserts and cakes.

Returning to school

While I enjoyed being an entrepreneur and working in the food industry, I always felt the desire to study further. I eventually returned to Rochester Institute of Technology in August 2018. I am currently in the process of completing my MBA with a concentration in Digital Marketing. Coming back to school after a 8 year gap was very challenging. However, I have been enjoying every minute of it.

Leopard Solutions – A summer co-op

I spent the summer of 2019 working with a legal database company (Leopard Solutions) in New York City. They are a company known to provide a recruiting tool to the legal industry. One of the biggest projects I got to work on was rebranding their products as not just a recruiting tool but also a market intelligence tool for a legal industry. To achieve this, I had to redesign their website, re-work their content, SEO and metadata so they show up on the desired searches. While I completed the designing of the website and content, the new website is still to be launched.

Moving forward

Marketing is an area that has always fascinated me. Armed with a MBA degree in Digital Marketing along with my past work experience, I hope to make a career in the creative side of Marketing – Advertisement, Product Launch, Brand Awareness, Social Media and other Online Marketing to name a few.