When it came time for Shekhar to launch his own career, he gravitated toward computer science and engineering. With a degree from West Bengal University of Technology, he started out as a software developer in Bangalore, and later moved to Germany for a job with SAP, the enterprise software and services company. “But after a while, I knew that I wanted to go into product management and for that I needed to hone my business acumen and get a formal business education,” he recalls. “My father always said: ‘When the birds grow up, they must fly away and build their own nests.’”
Shekhar looked at business schools in Europe, but quickly realized he needed to be in the U.S. “To be a successful product manager you need two things: a global perspective and an eye toward innovation,” he says. “The U.S. is the melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and it’s also a hotbed of creativity and technological advancement.”
He applied and got in to his first choice: Brandeis International Business School.
“It’s a small community and it gave me a chance to develop close bonds and personal relationships with my classmates,” he says. “The student body was also incredibly international and I got to learn about how people from other countries tackle business problems. And I had such committed and passionate professors. I liked that they were not just book smart—many of them, like Grace Zimmerman and Alfonso Canella, also worked in industry and had firsthand knowledge of real world management challenges. They compelled me to think differently.”
He also fell in love with New England and was glad to stay in the area for work after graduation. Boston is a bustling entrepreneurial city, which makes it a dynamic place to work; its close proximity to natural beauty make it a fantastic place to live, according to Shekhar. “Walking around Hardy Pond in Waltham is so peaceful and serene, and it’s also easy to escape to the wilds of Maine when I need to really get away.”
Today he works in the Boston-area at Oracle as a solutions consultant to the software giant’s biggest clients. His specialty is in the area of digital marketing, customer relationship management, e-commerce, and social applications. “A part of my job is to orchestrate what's called ‘journey mapping’ for enterprise customers,” he says. “I work directly with the sales organization and the customers to better understand their journeys—their strategic needs and their internal processes—in order to help them run their businesses more effectively and more efficiently using Oracle's technology.”
He also helps out Brandeis MBA students and alumni whenever he gets a chance, often volunteering to do informational interviews or appear at networking events. “I feel so lucky and so privileged to have gone here,” he says.