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Posted 3.20.07

Weatherheadlines recently sat down with graduate Weatherhead student Sandhya Raju to learn more about the MSM-Operations Research program, her future career plans and her amazing linguistic abilities.

Q: In which program are you enrolled?
I am currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Management-Operations Research (MSM-OR) program, and it is my last semester here.

Q: From where do you originally hail?
I am originally from Southern India and grew up there for the first nine years of my life. But, I currently live in Naperville, IL.

Q: What about your time prior to the Weatherhead School?
Before coming to the Weatherhead School, I received my bachelor's degree from Purdue University in electrical engineering in 2005. I did not have any work experience before starting my MSM-OR program, just internship experience.

Q: How did you first become interested in operations research?
While I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at Purdue University, I started applying for jobs through the career center. I realized that although my degree in electrical engineering would help me secure a good job, it severely limited my career options to either working in the electrical and electronics sectors or in the software industry. Also, the career paths laid out for an electrical engineer, even in the above industries, are extremely restrictive.

I realized that I had to learn management and business skills and also specialize in a discipline that would enable me to work on projects with immediate tangible results and benefits. Operations research, as a discipline, gives equal credence to practical application as it does to theory. Having always had a predilection for applied topics, I naturally migrated towards operations research. O.R. tools are used to facilitate immediate improvement in problem areas in almost every field and I knew that a degree in operations research would open many doors for me.

Q: What brought you to the Weatherhead School?
Though a number of universities offer graduate programs in operations research, they offer it as a program in their engineering schools and the curriculum is often very uni-dimensional. The Weatherhead School, on the other hand, by virtue of it being a world-class business and management school offers a degree in operations research that is the appropriate mix of business and management fundamentals and operations research tools, techniques and applications. This made the school a very attractive potential destination for me when I was applying for graduate school.

Q: What do you believe is the best part of the MSM-OR program?
The MSM-OR program ensures that the students are extremely well-rounded and refined by the time they graduate.

Q: You mentioned you are graduating this year. Do you have any thoughts about what type of career you would like to pursue upon completion of your  degree?
I am interested in careers in which I am influencing and driving strategy for the company from concept to production. I see myself doing this in a number of different fields -- marketing strategy, product strategy, operations strategy, etc.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like to read, workout and do Sudoku puzzles. My hobbies also include painting.

Q: What is one surprising fact about yourself that you would like to share with the Weatherhead community?
I am fluent with five languages and I am currently learning a sixth, Sanskrit.

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