When Swetha Tupelly came to Berkeley Haas to get her Berkeley MBA in the Evening & Weekend Program, she had a specific goal in mind: to find her way to more personally meaningful work by transitioning from a career in engineering to one in product management.
As a technical lead and engineer at the San Diego semiconductor firm Qualcomm, Swetha worked for eight years building connectivity in consumer devices. Although she trained for years to be an engineer – with a bachelor’s degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University and a master’s from Villanova University – she became restless in the engineering wheelhouse.
A desire to move beyond pre-defined problems
“The products we were building had already been defined,” she remembers. “I enjoy problem discovery and prioritizing what gets built first. I wanted to own more of the product lifecycle and define the vision and direction of the product. And, because I have a very outgoing personality, I wanted to get out and talk to customers."
“The business acumen I’ve learned, coupled with my solid engineering background, allows me to take the product from idea to launch in new and exciting ways."
But her path was a steep one: not only did she want switch positions, she would end up switching industries – from semiconductors to software. Swetha had determined that Berkeley Haas was the school of her choice, and decided that the Evening & Weekend MBA program would best fit her already busy life.
In addition to coursework, she took advantage of the extra activities and resources offered by career services: visits to high-tech companies, informational interviews with product managers, a resume review, and coaching on how best to tell her professional story. “I was very religious about it,” she says.
Using the MBA network to land her next job
When the time came to start looking for a new job, Swetha found the perfect one through the Haas Alumni Network. She found the position through the Career Management Group and was able to reach out directly to the posting alum.
Any advice for others looking to make such a dramatic transition? “Be very clear on what you want,” she says. “Be open to an internship, especially if you want to break into a different industry. Take advantage of all available resources and start the recruiting process early.”
Now, as a product manager for the Pleasanton-based ServiceMax – a SaaS division of GE Digital that provides field service software for big businesses – Swetha has the job she dreamed about—one that, with her Berkeley MBA, gives her the chance to “develop products and go-to market strategy in a more informed way,” she says.
“The business acumen I’ve learned, coupled with my solid engineering background, allows me to take the product from idea to launch in new and exciting ways, such as predictive analytics and the internet of things."
Does Swetha have any advice for those considering a similar path? “When people learn about your Berkeley MBA, they treat you like an expert,” she laughs. “You have to present yourself with confidence, because you already have so much credibility
Can an MBA help you find more rewarding work? Swetha Tupelly found her new job with the help of a Berkeley MBA. Get our Five Steps Toward Making Your Next Career Move.