Tauber alumna Sneha Venkatachalam (MBA '16) is now an Apple program manager working on core technologies and iPhone product operations.
Q: What drew you to the University of Michigan?
I applied to the University of Michigan for its immersive and recognized Tauber program, its action-oriented learning approach and the collaborative culture in the student community. I had an engineering background and knew that I wanted to pivot to Operations Management to understand how operations drive value to a business, but I was industry agnostic and trying to figure that out. The Tauber program along with the Ross MBA was a great platform to experience operations in the real world through MAP, summer internship, workshops and specialized courses that led me to define and pursue my career goals with more clarity.
Q: When you think back on your time with the Tauber Program, what stands out?
I take great pride in the fact that a number of reputed companies from various industries partner with Tauber in the summer internship process, looking to Tauber student teams to solve and deliver key issues that they face. That speaks a lot about the caliber of the students at the University of Michigan and the Tauber Institute. I also really enjoyed the camaraderie between the people of different backgrounds and experiences coming together at Tauber at both the engineering and business schools.
Q: In what ways did your Tauber experience shape the professional that you are now?
Thanks to the summer internship and action-learning courses at Tauber, we had access to great tools and resources available to us. Apart from the academic training, perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned at Tauber is understanding how to not just work in, but to identify and leverage the key strengths of a team and how to engage with people in meaningful and impactful ways. Through my internship, I also learned how to succinctly challenge the status quo and build cross-functional relationships to influence and implement solutions. Some of the key lessons I learned on achieving buy-in from stakeholders and navigating corporate culture are things I apply to this day.
Read how Sneha's Tauber team found PG&E could save nearly $2.7 million (0.05 percent of operating costs) through better planning and non-compliance avoidance as their pilot is incorporated across the company's workstreams.
Q: What recurring principles do you see showing up in your career?
I’ve learned that to do well in any company or industry, regardless of whether one is a people manager or an individual contributor, in the early or more advanced stages of his/her/their career, there are 4 critical values that spell out a leader:
1. Pro-active ownership.
2. Incredible communication.
3. Strong cross-functional relationships.
4. Commitment to learning.
Q: What would fellow alums be surprised to know about you?
My fellow alums would be surprised to know that at school, I turned down jobs/industries because I didn’t want to travel for work but now I end up taking at least one international flight a month and have found traveling (for work or pleasure) to be truly rewarding. I guess when you love doing something and are passionate about it, your perspective really changes. It is important to have an open mind.