My MBA Moment – Becoming a Leader

My MBA Moment – Becoming a Leader

D. P. Prakash (Jack Welch MBA ’13) has always been inspired by the positive impact that technology can play in people’s lives. Born in Chennai, India, Prakash says, “Technology has the power to move an entire country forward, to change people’s lives,” a lesson that inspired him to embark on a career in the field.

After completing his undergraduate studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 1990, Prakash made a life-changing decision to move to the U.S. to further develop his passion for technology. He immersed himself in the industry while working on a Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Although many of Prakash’s friends and classmates landed jobs in Silicon Valley after graduation, he had his eyes set on a position with IBM in Burlington, Vt., a center for technology leadership, and landed it right away. “Although it was quite a change to travel across the country, I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” says Prakash, who has since received two IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards.

Today, nearly 16 years later, Prakash is a senior engineer and program manager, leading a team in the development and subsequent manufacturing of a 22-nanometer siliconon-insulator technology for IBM Microelectronics Systems and Technology Group.

This technology is used to create the computer chips that power leading mainframe computers used by some of the world’s largest industries, such as Wall Street banking firms and commercial airlines. “These industries need computing on a whole different level,” Prakash says. “Companies are always looking for the best and fastest computer technology.”

Developing such technologies requires Prakash to lead a team on a 24-hour cycle. With this structure, half of Prakash’s team is based in the U.S., and the other half is in Bangalore, India. This way, when the U.S. team goes home for the day, the team in India can pick up right where the U.S. team left off.

“In today’s world, learning and working are continuous. It’s like my team never goes to sleep,” says Prakash. “It can be challenging, but it’s exciting to know we’re always moving forward.”

And it’s because of this ever-changing business environment that Prakash enrolled in the Jack Welch MBA program at Strayer University.

“I wanted an education that would help me better understand how a business works in today’s world. Although it’s important to understand technology, it’s also critical to know your company’s strategy. I had the technical expertise, but I needed to gain the skills to help me lead a team in a global environment.”

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