When looking towards the future, a wise man once told me to reflect upon the past first. And when doing so, I am astonished by just how much I’ve changed over the past two years. The things I know, the people I’ve met and the memories I’ve made will all attribute to the road ahead in ways I may not understand just yet. One day I will and that is when I’ll appreciate the real value of the three new letters behind my name: MBA.
In the fall of 2014, I moved to San Diego as a naïve 20 year old excited to start learning again. It had been a little over a year since I was last in school and all I wanted was to be intellectually challenged in new ways. Little did I know, this was going to be the first of many pleasant surprises waiting for me at the relatively new Rady School.
Surrounded by arguably the best faculty of any business school, I was exposed to an astonishing number of different cultures, perspectives and educational backgrounds that I rarely encountered in my undergraduate endeavors. I was very quickly humbled by the fact that I am no longer a big fish in a small pond, but rather a small fish in a sea of highly capable individuals. It was time to either start swimming or let the current take its course.
In retrospect, the desire to do more and truly get to know everyone around me helped shape my future for the better. What others call networking, I call connecting and these connections have changed my life forever.
Starting this summer, I will be begin my dream job as Program Manager at Cisco Systems in San Jose. As a member of the Customer Advocacy department, I will be helping represent the customers’ best interests within Cisco through the use of data analytics, business intelligence and managerial concepts that I obtained while pursuing my MBA at Rady School. To be honest, I wouldn’t have this position if it weren’t for an amazing pair of alumni that connected me to my manager last year, when he needed an intern and I was searching for an internship. Through the teachings of the amazing faculty at the Rady School, I have prepared myself to push past any limitations I may have had in the past to truly excel in anything (and everything) I set my mind to.
Professional development aside, there have also been several extracurricular activities that I had the opportunity to partake in. I served as Vice President of Technology Integration for the Rady Student Board, the Rady School representative for the Graduate Student Association (GSA), President of the Rady Technology Club, leader of the Rady Student Ambassador Program and a member for the UC San Diego Sikh Student Association (SSA). Being so heavily active allowed me to meet Warren Buffet, help launch the annual Rady [X] Tech Conference, feed the homeless in downtown San Diego and get to know my amazing classmates. I still cannot believe how much I was able to accomplish in such a short period of time. When people ask what my favorite memory at Rady School is, I say, “I don’t have one.” Not because there isn’t one that sticks out, but because they all have left a lasting impression on my personal and professional development.
If I had to sum up my entire two years, I’d have to say that the power of the Rady School family is very real. Coming to the Rady School has been the best decision of my life thus far. I’m now leaving with not only life-long memories, but also with life-long friendships and a future that’s never been brighter. Thank you, Rady School. Your ending is my beginning.
Gary Sahota (MBA ’16) recently received his MBA at the Rady School of Management. This summer, he will start his full-time position as Program Managerat Cisco Systems in San Jose.