As a management student, Ahuja took part in numerous team projects and case competitions, representing Purdue internationally in Germany and Canada.
“Those experiences really helped me develop my communication and public speaking skills, and at the same time highly enhanced my teamwork skills, all of which I could directly apply in an engineering setting," he says.
Ahuja also saw a correlation through the College of Engineering’s professional practice (co-op) program while working in the research and development department at Landis+Gyr, a global manufacturer of electrical metering technology with headquarters in Lafayette.
Participating in case competitions at Krannert helped Karan Ahuja improve his communication and presentation skills. (Photo provided)
“I could contribute to a circuit board design project in the morning, for example, and then in the afternoon help with financial modeling to estimate the net present value of the project five years after implementation."
When Ahuja graduated in December 2011 with his dual degrees, prospective employers were already lined up.
“I had nine job offers, but they were focused either solely on engineering or solely on management,” he says. “I wanted a mix, so I decided to stay at Krannert for a few months and take part in the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) pilot program for undergraduates."
Grouped with other high-performing undergrads as well as MBA students, Ahuja and his team provided real-world consulting services to Sealy Inc., a leading manufacturer of mattresses. "It was a fantastic experience and helped tremendously in my interviews with prospective employers,” he says.
He ultimately accepted a position as a junior analyst with McKinsey & Co., a global management consulting agency serving more than 20 different industries and offering the best fit for his combination of engineering and management skills.
Over the past year, Ahuja has had the opportunity to work with senior executives of Fortune 500 clients to help identify opportunities and devise growth strategies. Besides private sector projects, he has also worked with major non-profit organizations, relief funds, and government agencies.
Ahuja will soon be taking his unique skills in a new direction. He recently accepted an offer from LinkedIn to at their headquarters in Mountain View, California, and will be moving to San Francisco in May.
“I'm at a point where I would love to go beyond strategy work and advising and be involved in the actual implementation and execution of recommendations,” he says. “The position at LinkedIn gives me that opportunity.”
Ahuja estimates that about 60 percent of his new position will draw primarily on his business skills, while about 40 percent will draw on his STEM skills.
"My problem-solving and analytical skills have been particularly beneficial,” he says. “Because of my dual degrees, I can approach a problem from its component parts as well as understand how those parts can work together to provide a solution."