Future Leader Spotlight: Shreeyeh Rajan

At the age of ten, I moved with my family to Chennai, India from Schaumburg, Illinois, USA.

Our initial plan was a short-term stay with our grandparents to absorb a deeper sense of our

culture. But seven years flew by and I assimilated to the traditions, lifestyle and routines of a Chennaite. We decided to relocate back when our educational plans changed.

My family came back to the Chicago suburbs and I started my undergraduate degree at Illinois Institute of Technology. I chose to major in computer science but within three semesters, I saw my computer science grades drop. Reflecting on how all my on-campus

activities were centered around people, I decided that switching to major in business administration would be a better choice. My first exposure to learning the different aspects of business was my summer marketing internship at a manufacturing company, Weil-McLain. Over the length of eight weeks, I interviewed marketing managers asking them their reasons to work

in marketing and all of them had one goal in mind: to create and deliver value for the customer.

Post-graduation, I entered the information technology industry with my business background to Tata Consultancy Services. Even though I acquired many software skills, I sought more creativity within the technical environment. So I certified in user experience design through General Assembly which led me to a project at an education technology startup,

Kiddify to revamp their website. Eager to learn more about the ed-tech industry, I transitioned to a role at a tutoring company, C2 Education. At C2, I grasped the responsibilities required to run a successful center: instant communication with current and new students and their families while achieving monthly sales targets.

Through my interdisciplinary path of career choices in different industries, I realized that my initial curiosity in marketing management brought me back to earning an MBA now. The Olin MBA was my top choice because of WashU’s integrity shown to their students which is reciprocated to its prospective students. I reached out to 10 current students and all 10 of them responded. Olin also portrays a sense of community that I witnessed during one of their

Admission events, Preview Day. A Class of 2018’ Alum who had reached out to me back in November was kind enough to critique my resume and essays and surprised me with St. Louis donuts that day. When applying, my career plan after graduation from Olin was: “Twenty-eight months from now, I hope to become a brand manager for a multinational consumer packaged goods corporation desiring to impact consumer behavior trends by gaining knowledge through Olin’s strong coursework in brand management and international experience through Global Management Studies.” I chose Olin for its people, community and diversity and haven’t looked back since then.

At Olin, while interviewing for brand management internships, I realized that I wasn’t a great fit for these roles. I broadened my search to roles that revolved around creating people-centric experiences in marketing, human resources or education. Elements that I was looking for in the companies and roles were diversity & inclusion, innovativeness, mentorship opportunities and collaboration (searching for a similar environment to business school).

After applying to three different roles and reaching out to a friend who worked at Northwestern Medicine, I landed an interview which also included a presentation. The moment I saw the job description, I knew it was the one. It combined my student leadership experience during my undergrad and my work experience after my undergrad while providing opportunities to learn about the healthcare industry and how to design a program from start to


I chose Northwestern Medicine for its strategic goals in continuously putting patients first, emphasizing team success, focusing on integrity and always striving for excellence. Its mission, values and vision aligned very close to WashU’s values so I knew it was the right decision. Northwestern Medicine’s vision is to transform the future of healthcare. Formally hired as a Graduate Administrative Intern through Northwestern Medicine, internally I was a Program Coordinator for the 2019 Northwestern Medicine Scholars Program. The program selects a group of competitive high school students from Westinghouse College Prep who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine and science. I was a part of a diverse team: an incoming senior, three incoming medical students and a Ph.D in Education student. As a Program Coordinator, I was responsible for designing and planning the program curriculum, executing the program and conducting exit interviews after the program that would help in implementing changes to future programs. What I valued during my time at Northwestern Medicine were building a mentorship network, exploring different business functions in healthcare through 1:1 informational interviews and being a safe space to fail and restart again.

Finding your “ideal internship” is challenging, let alone going through the interviewing process repeatedly. It was definitely harder as I was location-specific when looking for internships; I really wanted the role to be in Chicago. In my experience, I applied for 125 different internship positions before finding the right one. While it was such a grueling task, it taught resilience, patience and determination. It showed me that if you keep looking for the

ideal role, you will finally get it.

The one piece of advice I would provide when looking for an internship is not to get too hung up on the role title but to focus more on how your current skills could transfer to that role and you can make a greater impact towards the society.

Connect with Shreeyeh Rajan on LinkedIn.

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