Ganpi Srinivasan, senior manager at Amazon Transportation Services, is a 2017 grad of the Global OneMBA Program. He shared his experiences as an Executive MBA student and a first-generation immigrant, why he chose UNC Kenan-Flagler, and the truly unique experience of OneMBA.
Can you share one of your favorite aspects of the OneMBA program?
Easily my favorite aspect of the program was the dual local and global cohort structure. It is completely unique to OneMBA. Initially I had a hard time choosing between the different Executive MBA programs that UNC Kenan-Flagler offers, but I am so glad I chose OneMBA because I instantly became part of a local UNC Kenan-Flagler cohort and a global OneMBA cohort. From day one we interacted with a large, diverse team. The local cohort and global teams gave us a sandbox to play in – we learned on the fly how to effectively communicate with virtual teams and keep our projects going strong across cultures and time zones.
How did your cohort contribute to your development and outcomes?
My biggest takeaway from OneMBA and the cohort experience was what I learned through my peers. An Executive MBA is not like an undergrad or even full-time MBA experience. It’s not just about academics.
UNC Kenan-Flagler offered an almost philosophical method of learning through case studies that were thoroughly discussed in groups at the beginning of the class. Most, if not all, of the time there was never one right or wrong answer. All of us viewed these cases from different angles, bringing our unique experiences to the discussion. Our class was incredibly diverse – women, military, immigrants like myself, business owners, etc. Because we were able to analyze problems from different perspectives, I would argue that I learned just as much from my peers as I did from my professors.
Secondly, the value system of collaboration in UNC Kenan-Flagler is highlighted from the very first day. This program is not centered on succeeding at the expense of your peers, but rather at excelling through teamwork. Beginning with team-building exercises during orientation, it was clear that OneMBA is built and designed around collaboration.
Adopting this value system made my shift to a top company like Amazon a seamless transition, because they’ve built their business on very similar values. At the heart of it, UNC Kenan-Flagler taught me how to listen to others’ opinions and form my own at the same time.
How important was the strength of the UNC alumni network?
The alumni network was one of the key factors I considered when choosing UNC Kenan-Flagler, and it was another reason I chose OneMBA. With other programs you gain an immediate local network of peers, but with OneMBA you instantly gain 120 connections all over the world. Having a bigger global network in addition to the UNC network has been very helpful.
When I was interviewing with executives for positions after graduating from the program, having UNC Kenan-Flagler on my resume was indispensable. When I was negotiating my role at Amazon, one of the execs told me that UNC Kenan-Flagler preps you to excel at any position at top companies because it is unconventional, competitive and collaborative.