Student Stories: Sundararajan Murapakkam Srinivasan, University of California, Davis, GSM

Student Stories: Sundararajan Murapakkam Srinivasan, University of California, Davis, GSM main image

Indian student Sundararajan Murapakkam Srinivasan's MBA program of choice was at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management. The class of 2018 MBA student had four years’ work experience before deciding to undertake the program, having previously held the position of Senior Software Engineer at Akamai Technologies, India. Sundararajan spoke with about his experience so far.

What were you doing before starting your MBA?

As a software engineer at Akamai Technologies in India I was responsible for the web development of Akamai’s media preparation and delivery configuration systems.

While working at Akamai, I got interested in managing enterprise software products and wanted to pursue a career in product management. With a technical undergraduate degree and my work experience, the missing piece was graduate business education – and that led me to my MBA.

How did you research different programs and universities? What were you looking for in a school?

QS rankings were my primary go-to tool for analyzing different programs. Also, advice from mentors and students can’t be understated.

The primary factors influencing my decision were school location, class size and track record of international students’ placements.

When looking at my options, the UC Davis MBA program’s emphasis on business analytics caught my eye. Another attractive factor was the opportunity to tailor my MBA experience to fit my career aspirations through independent studies and practicums.

What do you love most about studying at UC Davis?

The small class size at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management is a major plus, and the full-time MBA program’s student-to-faculty ratio is very low.

UC Davis has great relationships with top tech firms in Silicon Valley and corporations across Northern California. This has led to great consulting projects for students to work on through the MBA Integrated Management Practicum, which is a huge plus. Also, the school’s proximity to Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area and the UC Davis alumni network gives students a distinct advantage for internships and career opportunities.

I also really like that Davis is extremely student-friendly. The town is built for students—it’s one of the safest and easiest cities to get comfortable in, particularly for international students.

What has been your best experience on the program?

Hands-down, it has to be the MBA Integrated Management Practicum project I worked on during the fall quarter of my second year. I had the opportunity to dive into real-world problems faced by a top tech company and apply the concepts and principles I learned in class to help solve them.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

I plan to pursue a career in product management. I’ll be joining Freshworks, Inc., an enterprise software company headquartered in Chennai, India, as a product manager. I’m excited to lead the product development and execution at this high-growth startup.

What do you think is the biggest myth about applying to business school?

While the MBA is a highly prestigious degree, it’s a myth that MBA graduates are highly sought-after for employment; this is particularly true for international students.

There’s now a growing population of MBA graduates from top schools for employers to choose from as the supply of graduates has outgrown the demand. That said, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management has a proven track record of job placement success. Most recently, 91 percent of UC Davis MBA graduates accepted job offers within three months of graduation with average compensation of more than US$97,000.

What advice do you have for incoming students to your program?

An MBA student will have a lot to do: coursework, club activities, networking, making connections, organizing events, job search and preparation, etc. It’s vital you go in with a mentality that you can’t do it all. It’s important to learn how to prioritize different activities offered by the program, so you can make the most of your experience.

Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Assistant Editor of, creating and editing content for an international MBA student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of the business world.  

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