Meet The Warwick MBA Class Of 2017

Naveen Chilakamarri       

Warwick Business school

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: An avid traveler with a passion & curiosity to learn, explore and discover new things.

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Fun Fact About Yourself:  Though having never trained in football, I was drafted into my school football team by chance and made a goal at a critical time, eventually helping my school to win inter-school football competition. 

Undergraduate School and Major:

  • The University of Sydney (Information Technology)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

2003-2016 Commonwealth Bank of Australia – Various roles in Sydney, Australia

  • Analyst Programmer
  • Senior Technical Business Analyst
  • Lead Business Analyst
  • Product Manager

2014 KPMG Australia, IT Advisory

  • Manager (Payments Strategy)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2013, I was entrusted by the senior leadership team at Commonwealth Bank of Australia to manage an in-flight multimillion dollars’ project that had no room for failure. A disengaged project team that was reluctant to embrace new leadership made my job very tough. The project complexities tested my problem-solving abilities and leadership skills in a team environment. By creating a collaborative environment, setting expectations and recognising the team’s achievements, I was able to build a great rapport with the team, resulting in building a highly efficient and motivated team that delivered Australia’s first credit card security innovation that eventually helped to save millions of dollars in card fraud. Because of this significant achievement, I won a prestigious CEO award. This experience gave me confidence in my ability to turnaround tough situations into successful outcomes, further I look back at this achievement and feel so gratified that I had delivered something that is for a noble cause to help millions of customers save their money from card fraud.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? It is important to have an idea about your career post-MBA before selecting a business school. Having that idea will help you to choose the right business school that fits with your career ambition as some business schools have a particular strength in those areas (e.g. Marketing, finance).

I really cannot stress enough that GMAT/GRE tests are not the only criteria to getting admitted into business schools. I have learned over the course of my application process that essays and references are equally as important. You must be very true and honest about yourself in your essays and make sure relevant experience and career achievements are highlighted in your essays. Each business school asks for different essays. Wo while applying to more than one school, spend considerable time drafting school specific essays. One of the important lessons I have learned during my application process was speaking with numerous alumni to gather insights into the business school. Alumni are a great resource who can help you understand your fit with the business school and vice versa.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I’m specifically drawn to the WBS MBA program for its unique program experience, brand image and relatively smaller class size compared to other schools. Also, the wide range of experienced cohort means a diverse spectrum of experience that provides opportunities to learn from each other. Besides the general courses on offer I was drawn by the Leadership Plus module that runs across two terms and focuses on developing the leadership aspect of an individual, which is the key area that I would like to advance.

While my motivation for enrolling in the WBS MBA is to obtain a competitive advantage, I was very much drawn by the rich Warwick network of 37,000 alumni spread over 140 countries which provides me the opportunity to tap into this network to leverage for my own career advantage and to truly broaden my business skills and knowledge base.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? As I am extremely passionate about payments technology, my dream job would be to develop payments strategy for a major financial firm. This experience will help me with my long-term vision to start my own ‘payments technology’ firm to help innovate specifically around consumer payments.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like my business school peers to say that I had brought perspectives through my creative thinking, inspired them through my determination, and that I had formed life-long friendships with them.

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