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Future Leader Spotlight: Karan Jain, Smeal College of Business

by Karan Jain



Karan Jain, Smeal College of Business

What's Your Origin Story?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs with no formal education exceeding the basic high school diploma. So, deciding to be the first in the family to pursue higher degrees in engineering, an MBA from India, and then a second MBA from Penn State were looked at as unnecessary.


I understood why I needed this education: to be able to interact and learn from peers with similar and superior intellectual capabilities and be able to develop myself as a professional who could look at businesses and life from a wider lens of long-term learning and personal growth.


Education:

A world-class primary and secondary education from The Hyderabad Public School (which counts Satya Nadella among one of many of its famed alumni), A degree in Computer Engineering from Maharashtra Institute of Technology, an MBA in Marketing from IBS Hyderabad, and currently pursuing an MBA with concentration in Supply Chain & Marketing from The Penn State University (Go State!).


Work History:

My first job, fresh out of engineering and at the peak of “the recession of 2008” was as a Customer Support Associate at Dell Technologies, where I was responsible for chat and email support to field technicians in the North American continent.


After my MBA, I joined a payment gateway start-up (powered by India’s largest bank, ICICI and backed by Blackrock) geared towards serving the under privileged section of the Indian population. Gaining a good insight of running marketing and business development activities with inflexible and small budgets helped me move onto roles in smaller, visionary organizations in the green energy consulting and electric vehicle industries. Over the course of my career before the MBA, I have accumulated learnings of over 7 years in operations, marketing and business development.


The Specific Reason You Went to Get Your MBA. What Was Your Goal?

I wanted to understand how the world does business, how large organizations find synergies within various departments to serve the customer. With technology taking over every facet of interaction, I was curious to understand how we could harness it to leverage people’s intelligence and aid in growing businesses holistically to serve communities.


Why Did you Choose the Intern Position That You Did?

Like I said, technology is the future and engineers are the architects of that future. As a business person, my goal is to support this growth in my capacity. I chose Dell for the bold decisions they have made to integrate solutions under one brand, reflected in their core message of driving human progress.

In addition, the recruitment team maintains a great relation with our school. They drive continuous interaction in the form of information sessions, socials, and other touch-points, which shows that they respect us and look at us as future partners in their success.


What do You Hope to Learn During Your Time in That Position?

Firstly, the organization itself. The sheer size of Dell and other such tech behemoths entails that, as a potential full time employee, one understands the various teams and their interactions, along with the culture and “vibe” of the place.


In addition, I hope that I gain a thorough understanding of my project and ways that I can add value to my team and the organization.


What are Your Goals as a Result of the Internship?

I would be lying if I said the biggest goal was not to achieve a full time offer. That being said, I wish to study the different teams to make a decision regarding where I see myself the organization in the long run


What is Your Strategy on Achieving Those Goals?

Dell organizes internal career fairs where interns can network with the different teams, understand how they function, and the latest projects they are working on. This event is something I am looking forward to as it provides a semi-casual environment to speak with leaders from different teams and understand the prospects they have to offer.

Also, I intend to map out the entire process on the project that I am working on, to identify stakeholders and optimize the work flow, in order to have an impactful final presentation for the senior leadership.


What Does an Ideal Internship Look Like for You?

One where the focus is not entirely on the outcome of my project but also considers the relations I build with people and the ease they experience working with me. Skills can be taught but you cannot teach someone how to human.


What Elements Are the Most Important?

Good people who are empathetic to your situation as in intern and respect your (limited) time to accomplish goals. A judgment-free environment to help me navigate a relatively new work space.


What Would a Company Need to Offer to Attract You to Work There?

A supporting environment and leadership that cares about my internship and what direction my short and long term career takes.

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