Gumjan UpadhayayBETTER TECH

Gunjan Upadhayay, a native of India who graduated from Uttar Pradesh Technical University in Lucknow with a Bachelor of Technology degree in computer science and engineering, has worked for a variety of places over the past 12 years, including the State of Indiana, Microsoft and the World Health Organization. She is currently a tech lead at Pyramid Technologies in Indianapolis, where she lives with her husband, Hariom Sharma, and their 5-year-old son.

“I’ve always wanted to earn an MBA to complement my background in technology,” she says. “I have several friends with connections to Purdue who told me about Krannert, so I did some research and learned that it was one of the top business schools for people working in STEM fields. And I love traveling and trying new things, so the international experience was also attractive.”

Once Upadhayay made contact with the school’s admissions staff, it became clear that Krannert was the best option.

“I would definitely recommend Purdue’s IMM Global EMBA to anyone considering a part-time program,” she says. “There’s more student and faculty interaction than you get with online-only schools, and the two-week residency structure helps you to make the most of your time.”

MOVING FORWARD

Upadhayay came to Purdue’s EMBA program with two goals. “Being a technology person, I knew very little about finance, accounting or management, so I wanted to develop those skills to advance my standing in the industry,” she says. “Then, I’d like to build my own business.”

Pittman has similar aspirations. “First, I want to transition out of a sales into more of a consulting role. I’ve already been promoted during my time in the program, but it’s about making a bigger jump,” she says. “I think I’m about done with corporate America.”

Her start in the program gave her the incentive to form a small trucking company. “I want to take it to the next level. The second component is to position myself in the industry, make it scalable and make it sustainable,” Pittman says. “Outside of a corporate career, entrepreneurship is my passion. It’s my retirement and my legacy.”

Teare feels more prepared and confident for whatever opportunity may present itself, whether it’s at her current employer or another company in the defense industry.

“I’m approaching 30 years at Boeing and love that the work I do supports our fighting forces in the air,” she says. “This experience has been about opening my aperture to different possibilities and greater opportunities. I now have more to contribute, and my company is more committed to advancing women into executive leadership positions.

“Fortunately, I think as technology has evolved, so has the workplace. We used to have to sit at our desks eight hours a day and be visibly supervised, but now there’s more flexibility in where, when and how we work.”

Although her children are far from grown, Bennett shares Teare’s perspective. “About 10 years ago or so, I thought I’d come to a fork in the road where I could either have kids or I could get my MBA. I did not think I could do both,” she says. “Now that I have done both, I want to use the value of my degree to continue advancing my career with the support of both men and women leaders in my company.”

Whatever the outcome for these four women, the bond they forged during the IMM Global EMBA program will never be broken.

“It’s been an emotional, intellectual and professional journey for all of us,” Bennett says. “I couldn’t have done it alone. There was a point during the first module of the program when Crystal (Pittman) saw me break down and fall apart because I missed my children. It was scary, but she gave me a big hug and we got through it.”

“There was no option to quit,” Pittman says. “The only option was to lean in and feel the push. You don’t want to feel like you are out in the world all alone, and that’s what makes this cohort special. We all truly care for and help one another. We are a team.”

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