2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Srinivas Gade, Emory University (Goizueta)

Srinivas Gade

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

Age: 39

Live and Let live is my motto in life. Constant learner to leap forward in life.”

Hometown: Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Family Members: Wife and a son.

Fun fact about yourself: Love playing cricket and very frugal-minded. Being frugal minded has worked great in business settings but gets me into trouble at home, so it is a fine balancing act.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Master of Science – Mechanical Engineering – University of Cincinnati

Bachelor of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad, India.

Where are you currently working? Acuity Brands – Principal/Director of Engineering for New Product Development

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

* Dean’s List – Master of Science at University of Cincinnati

* Graduated with Distinction as an undergraduate

* Led the fundraising and organizing of cultural activities and festivals during my undergrad

* Member of Trees Atlanta

* Member of Vibha Atlanta – Education & health for underprivileged children

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?

* Dean’s List – A sense of accomplishment and payoff for all the hard work.

* Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) – It was a fantastic one-of-a-kind experience. Learned a ton about core principles of leadership, understanding blind spots, and building relationships while being in the front lines with a completely new team.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?

* Employee of the Year 2016 – BOA Group Global

* Author for 5 professional patents at American BOA – BOA Group

* Achieved significant enterprise savings at CAT in a cost reduction blitz with a prime supplier in negotiating a supplier contract.

* Worked on Airbus A380 engine exhaust nozzle. Initially did not realize the size and proportion of this double decker airplane during development, but soon understood the limitations of this jumbo jet in real life.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? It’s tough to just pick one, but Omar Rodríguez-Vilá stands out to me based on my personal experience and reflections.

Being an engineer and not knowing much about the science of marketing, Omar’s teaching style, relevant cases, tools and techniques, and subjective and objective data- driven decision-making were very impactful in shaping my view on marketing. And he didn’t ignore the power of marketing on Social impact (i.e., Sustainability, Social Purpose and Diversity etc.). Learning to look through various lenses putting aside biases in solving customer pain points was the critical takeaway.

He was always there for students anytime. His energy, passion, adaptability, and engaging teaching style were the motivating factors making a huge impact.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? Networking with executives and making connections through learning was the primary reason for choosing this MBA. Wanted to share and learn from the best and brightest from diverse industries, and Emory’s past successes has given me that sense of trust in this program. I had a goal to improve upon my communications, leadership, and executive skills to pivot my career. There is no better school than Goizueta in extracting the leader in you and help you pivot using the vast alumni network.

The only kink in my plans was COVID which drove everything to be virtual and I feel like I had diminished learning experience from virtual classes and lack of networking.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? It would be defining the problem correctly by asking the right questions without jumping into conclusions, which I learned from our impact work. Spending the majority of the time in understanding, defining, and using data to gain a broader consensus on the problem at hand helps you get to the right root-cause. Then solving the problem is easier than you think.

It seems simple. In an environment where speed is of utmost importance, developing this structured problem-solving approach and using this for any size business problem has increased my chances of success in resolving business problems.

I’ve tested this in personal life too and it works great if we can get emotions out of the equation and focus on outcomes.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? This would have been impossible without my family’s backing. My wife was my motivation and support during this time. This is especially true as COVID has increased stress from working and schooling virtually. Balancing everything virtually is tough and takes a toll on your brain as you are constantly working without time to de-stress.

During the initial days of pandemic, our teams were all stressed out due to various personal situations, stepping up where needed. Sometimes, building a consensus on subpar work was the right solution at times. There were many sleepless nights and Zoom calls while driving, cooking, eating, and sleeping. “Keep calm and Don’t fall behind” has always helped me.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” It’s never too early or late to improve and broaden your skills through an MBA. Understanding that you are not in this alone and setting the right expectations is critical as your friends, family, and work will have implications.

If you truly believe in Goizueta’s spirit of “Let’s Go Beyond”, the energy and passion that generates will overcome the hurdle rate.

What was your biggest regret in business school?  One of my regrets is I wish I had done this earlier in my life. My next regret is the pandemic interfering with my MBA. If only I could have timed it better to avoid the pandemic, I would have loved to be on the international immersion trip which I heard was the best experience throughout the program. Not focusing enough on networking, either due to busy workload or being virtual, is another biggest regret.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is another one where it is tough to pick just one. However, Casey Galligan is one classmate whom I admire the most for his winner’s mentality. His energy, creativity, emotional intelligence, and charm in getting everyone together as a leader is remarkable. I truly admire his work-MBA-life balance commitment. I have seen him attending classes while driving, in a parking lot, on the beach, cooking, or any place you can imagine. He is a true leader and a very dependable person. A big salute to you, Casey Galligan!

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? The immersive experience and shared learning from the best and diversified cohort executives was the primary reason to choose executive MBA over part-time or online alternatives.

I felt my efforts to improve upon my communication and leadership skills could have only been achieved well with in-person program. Unfortunately, the pandemic has shattered my goals and turned this experience into any other online alternative

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? In this competitive and ever disrupting business landscape, my goal is to find the right “moat’ for me and the business that I would like to lead. Ultimately, I would like to lead an organization where we encourage challenging the status quo in finding creative solutions. If I can do all this in a family-like environment while creating value for all involved parties, then I can say I have succeeded in life and gotten my ROIC on my MBA.

What made Srinivas such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Srinivas Gade is a high achieving student in the Executive MBA program. Srinivas is academically strong in all of his courses and has been able to manage course work quite well. Balancing a busy lifestyle, he is able to perform academically and take on more courses than an average student. His contribution to the classroom is outstanding and provides insightful commentary to the topics being discussed. He is the recipient of various class awards and is regarded by his classmates. We are honored to have Srinivas as a graduating member of the class of 2021.”

Jaclyn Conner
Associate Dean, Executive MBA