2016 MBAs To Watch: Jaspreet Singh, Penn State (Smeal)

Jaspreet Singh-Penn State-PoetsAndQuants_MBAsToWatch2016

Jaspreet Singh

 
Smeal College of Business, Penn State University

Age: 27

Hometown: Ludhiana, Punjab- India

Undergraduate School and Degree: Punjab Agricultural University, Bachelor of Technology

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? John Deere India Private Limited

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Apple Inc., Cupertino

Where will you be working after graduation? Apple Inc., Cupertino as Program Manager in AppleCare

Community Work during business school: During the MBA, I participated in Thon fundraising events. Prior to my MBA, I co-founded a NGO called Acacia and served as its Vice President for a period of four years. Acacia was an online platform to raise funds for those NGOs who work for the differently-abled children.

Leadership roles in business school: Elected as the Vice President of Smeal Marketing Association; ISBM (Penn State) scholar with 100% tuition fee scholarship

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It would be when I was selected to intern at Apple. It is because of two reasons. First, I always wanted to work for a technology company in Silicon Valley and gain first-hand experience of the Silicon Valley work culture. Second, the selection process to get into Apple is very competitive and it was a proud moment for me when I was shortlisted among fewer than 60 MBA summer interns across the U.S.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I led the design and development of the front axle for John Deere’s first construction equipment in India. It was one of the biggest cost-saving projects for the business. The huge cost-saving goal that was set was initially met with skepticism by other engineers. I translated the needs of the customers from the ground level and customized the product to local tastes by identifying the features that are not important for the Indian market. By eliminating the unnecessary design features and improving on the ones that are most important, the project achieved potential cost savings of $3.6 million a year. This project proved instrumental in stabilizing John Deere’s construction business in India.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Dr. Ralph Oliva. It is because he taught us not only the concepts of marketing, but also the importance of doing business with the highest ethical standards. His teachings are very practical. He is someone who understands both the academia and the industry very well and therefore is able to teach with a balanced approach.

Favorite MBA Courses? Power and Influence, Strategy and Implementation, Brand Management, Demand Fulfillment

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Smeal for two reason. First, Smeal is very well known in Supply Chain and Marketing and I wanted to specialize in both the functions. Second, I wanted to get into a program that has a small class size. I wanted to have rich discussions with my professors and classmates. I wanted to know about my classmates and learn from their different cultures and backgrounds at an intimate level, something that only a program with small class size could have offered. Smeal perfectly fit in the criteria.

What did you enjoy most about business school? The part I enjoyed the most about business school is the amount of fun I had while learning. That includes all the socials, going out, and celebrating festivals such as Diwali and Chinese New Year with people from different cultures and nationalities.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson I learned from business school is the importance of presentation skills. I have learned the importance expressing ideas with lucidity through simple, vivid stories. I was a big believer in the philosophy of “great products sell themselves,” but I have realized that even a great product/idea can’t realize its full potential if it is not packaged well.

What was the hardest part of business school? In my opinion the hardest part of business school is managing your time and priorities. You always have so many things happening in a business school that it is easy to get distracted and waste time on things that are really not important. Identifying something that is really important and prioritizing my tasks accordingly was the hardest part of business school.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? My advice to someone applying to Smeal would be to talk to existing students to understand what the school’s strengths are. It is really important for an applicant to introspect and get clarity on his/her career objectives and that they align with the school’s strength.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I realized how little I knew and how much I wanted to learn.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… working as a design engineer in the manufacturing sector.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I admire Tim Cook because I think he is a leader of very high integrity. His actions have reinforced by belief that he is someone who is not afraid to stand behind what he believes in. Also, I have great admiration for his philanthropic efforts.

What are your long-term professional goals? My long-term goal is to create a company whose goal would be to bring technology and trustworthy guidance to small and marginal farmers of India. I wish to create technological solutions for Indian farmers that are both financially viable and effective.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my father, mother, and sisters for the support that they gave me to pursue what I wanted in my life. Also, I would like to thank my friends who have helped shape my personality and have always encouraged me to push my limits.

Fun fact about yourself: Curious to know how good I am as a salesman? I worked without pay in a shoe store as a salesman for a day. I managed to sell merchandise worth INR 8000 in four hours.

Favorite book: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Favorite movie: Godfather trilogy

Favorite musical performer: Adele

Favorite television show: “Game of Thrones”

Favorite vacation spot: Gokarna Beach, Goa, India

Hobbies: I like listening to music, reading books, and surfing Wikipedia in my free time

What made Jaspreet such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Jaspreet — or ‘Jas’ as friends know him — has a presence about him, a smile, and an attitude, which simply lights up every environment. He has a singular sort of empathy, understands how people are feeling, tunes in to their needs, and provides energy that helps people move forward, get jobs done, and enjoy their MBA experience.

“He’s very creative, and comes up with interesting new ideas and concepts that get people thinking in new ways (his ‘poet’ side). But, when it gets down to ‘brass tacks’, Jas can get very ‘quant’ very quickly, and is a miracle worker with Excel — developing models that enable insight even on some of the most arcane questions we’ve ever been presented here at the Institute for the Study of Business Markets at Penn State. From market sizing to demand patterns to financial models, he can get down to pulling insight from data quickly and explain his approach to a broad variety of audiences. The chance to know — and learn together with — such a ‘whole-brained’ person, as well as the chance to see Jas’s smile every day, and to feel the energy he brings to all his encounters, has made our whole program brighter this year.”

Ralph Oliva
Professor of Marketing
Penn State Smeal College of Business

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