Dheeraj Chowdary Nekkanti
“I’m an engineer at heart, always looking to figure out how things work at a fundamental level.”
Hometown: Hyderabad, India
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love motorcycling, and I’ve traveled over 20,000km and visited 35 towns across India on my Royal Enfield. My goal for 2020 is to have traveled the same distance in the US as well!
Undergraduate School and Major: Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Mechanical Engineering
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Gozefo.com, Founding Member; ITC Limited, Assistant Technical Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Having worked as an operations manager at a consumer goods company, I found myself out of my depth while trying to scale Gozefo’s revenues in the company’s early stages. Performance marketing, our biggest growth channel, was outsourced to an unreasonably expensive marketing agency. As we tried to grow, we found costs to be unsustainably high. I decided to move the function in-house and hired a team of digital marketers. I spent several tireless weeks learning marketing and networking with marketing experts, while recruiting and onboarding the new team at the same time. We built a deep understanding of our consumer and revised our approach to cut costs significantly and pave the way for sustainable growth.
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? I cannot emphasize this enough: start early. It helps immensely to finish your GMAT by March-April and start your application journey as early as May. It gives you time to network, attend events, visit schools and meet other applicants. It’s important to allow yourself enough time to get a deeper sense of the unique culture of each school, so that you can choose the ones that best fit you as a person.
What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Wharton was my top choice from day one. It’s the only school that offers the opportunity to spend a semester at the San Francisco campus, giving students a unique East Coast cum West Coast experience. Given my entrepreneurial goals, this opportunity is essential to my b-school experience as it would expand the exposure I would get to the startup scene in the US.
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I have three goals for my first year of business school: 1. Make great friends from across the world. Eat, drink and travel with them. 2. Secure an internship on the West Coast. 3. As a former theatre actor/director, I’d love to act in/direct the Wharton Follies.