2019 Best EMBAs: Vijay Raisinghani, Purdue University (Krannert)

Vijay Raisinghani

Purdue University, Krannert School of Management

Age: 49

I am an adventurous technologist with a passion to build cohesive global teams.”

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Family Members: Priya (Wife), Pranav (Son) and Meera (Daughter)

Fun fact about yourself: I love running, cycling and enjoy drinking wines.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Manipal Institute of Technology, Karnataka, India

Where are you currently working? Technical Program Manager at Google, Mountain View, CA

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I volunteer at Boy Scouts of America and Girls-On-The-Run (GoTR). I have lead innovation (patenting and trademark development) in organizations across several companies.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During business school, I enjoyed learning and immersing into each course. Of all the courses, I found “Managing Transitions and Uncertainty” in Module 3 the most interesting and satisfying. In the company of a diverse cohort with classmates from small businesses to large publicly-traded corporations in North America, Latin America, and Europe, I got the opportunity to explore unknown people and places. As an academic achievement, it was exciting to receive an A+ grade and a complement from my professor. As a personal achievement, this course helped me realize that my core strength was in adopting and leading change through uncertainty.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my professional career, the biggest achievement was when I pivoted towards becoming an innovator. During that time, I evolved into a mindset of dreaming what should be done without any limitations. It is that mindset that helped me appreciate innovation for the growth it can bring. I filed numerous patent ideas and was awarded the top ten innovators of the company. Since that time, I have led small and large teams to build Intellectual Property and use that as a tool to grow the company and individual development.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is the toughest question as I developed a unique relationship with each of my professors. However, Professor David Schoorman and I developed a relationship during the program that grew each time we worked together from module to module. His teachings on trust have made a strong impact on how I perform my day-to-day functions.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained

about business from it? “Managing Transitions and Uncertainty” and “Negotiations in Organizations” were the two courses that helped me gain some important insights on how best to address growth challenges in business using trust, organizational negotiations and dealing with uncertainty as the foundation. Both these courses were taught through distance learning methodology culminating with the residency in Vilnius, Lithuania. The residency and guest speakers played a significant role in cementing the learnings. Right after graduating from the MBA, I joined Google to manage technology projects on emerging technologies. The requirements and scenarios around these projects changed quite frequently, sometimes multiple times a day. Using these insights, I was able to deal with the unknowns and uncertainties, build new relationships with my team and management, and execute the projects effectively. In a few months, my performance was recognized and acknowledged by my team through direct feedback.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose this executive MBA program to develop skills to manage scalability in business, from startup size to a publicly-traded business.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The constant change of teams in each module was the most enjoyable part of the program at Krannert. This

gave me a chance to learn from nearly all of my classmates in a very diverse cohort. I learned rapid team building that reduced conflicts as well as how to build a new strategy rapidly. By the end of the program, I became agile in my business approach.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The biggest lessons I gained centered around leadership and trust. No two businesses are run the same, but being able to earn trust and leverage leadership qualities is the key in every scenario.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to

juggle work, family and education? The most memorable was the time when I was interviewed by Professor Joe Nellis for the Macroeconomics class. Professor Nellis had set up the first dialogue between him and the students as a video interview. This accounted for 20% of the grade. As I was struggling to understand the concepts, I was quite nervous walking into this interview. That morning, my wife had a last-minute change in her schedule. With the changed schedules, the house cleaning services would come in the time slot overlapping this interview, hence I had to be at home to supervise it. To accommodate this, I decided to work from home and take the video call interview in my car while parked in the garage (to avoid sitting in the middle of noise). At the start of the interview, I set the stage by giving him the update of the plan and assured him that I was not driving during the video call. We started the Q&A and I moved into answering his questions with the intent of getting them theoretically correct. Professor Nellis kept on drilling down on the answers to gauge my level of understanding of the terms and concepts. Soon I became visibly nervous. He then remarked, “… be curious without the pressure of giving the right answers.” This helped a lot and the discussion improved substantially as I connected with him from there on. Suddenly, the garage opened with my wife trying to drive into the garage into my parked car (as she was unaware that I was parked in her spot). Professor Nellis remarked “Seems we have company” and we both broke into a burst of laughter. It was that moment where the juggle between work, family, and education was obviously visible, understood, and appreciated jointly.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA  program? While the goals of joining an executive MBA might be different for different people, it is always worth it to invest in one’s self as it helps one grow, individually and professionally. While reviewing all options, consider the dynamics of life for a period of about two years. Two years is half the term of a US Presidency – and long enough to have kids, get married, change jobs, and go through changes in the economy.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth about going back to school is that at some point it is too late to go back to school as it has diminishing ROI. This wasn’t the case for me. Starting the MBA at the age of forty-seven, while I was the oldest in the class at Krannert, I was still able to learn in a diverse cohort of global professionals. I learned what it took to make a business scalable and developed insights for new lines of business in a short span of time. I applied a good portion of my learnings in my start-up venture and in a job search. I grew personally and this program made a direct impact to my career.

What was your biggest regret in business school? While going through business school, my biggest regret was that I was unsuccessful at leading an executive team from going down the path which led to shutting down half of the worldwide operations.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I had a great cohort of a gender-balanced, diverse group of students. I enjoyed working with Freddy Horn and admired him the most. He was unmatched in his professionalism, academic rigor, and was a great team player. He inspired me the most as he managed to demonstrate all these qualities while being one of the most competitive team members of the cohort.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I could see there was a challenge in developing custom solutions to every business problem. “

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I love building teams and transforming organizations. My ultimate long-term professional goal is to build a culture that motivates the teams to compete collaboratively.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I am a strong believer in the learning mindset and would like to be remembered as a learn-it-all than a know-it-all.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? To ride in Tour-de-France and run the New York Marathon

What made Vijay such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“Vijay Raisinghani was an essential member of the Purdue Global IMM/EMBA Class of 2019.  In an exceptionally high-quality cohort, Vijay’s contributions as a consummate self-starter, who exuded maturity, patience, and intellect made this an IMM class to remember.  An engineer by training and a U.S. Patent holder (with seven more submitted), Vijay’s years of experience in the technology industry placed him in good standing with his fellow IMM students. As an Asian-American based on the U.S. west coast working for an EU-based corporation tasked with expanding his company’s business in the Asian market, Vijay was familiar with managing schedules across datelines and time zones. Vijay was the ideal diplomat on every international residency and he embraced the numerous global immersion opportunities that came his way. His dedication to the rigorous academics of the Purdue IMM program never once diminished his determination to succeed.  There is no other recent alum who is as affable and mindful as Vijay.  He transcends the ideals we expect from our students and alumni.”

John Lewandowski

 Associate Director, Krannert Executive Programs

 Purdue University


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