Tejaswi Kambalapally (Class of 2021) is a Global Ambassador for Darden’s Center for Global Initiatives. Tejaswi took time to share more about her background, role as Global Ambassador during the pandemic, and hopes for the future. In her own words:
Tell us a little bit about your background. What led you to apply to Darden?
I’m from Hyderabad, India – the land of pearls and amazing biryani! Growing up, I lived across five states in India. I graduated from BITS Pilani with a degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation, I joined Thermax, a market leader in India for providing sustainable energy and environmental solutions, as a design engineer. During this time, I realized that I was more passionate about solving complex business problems by leveraging data. So, I jumped into the fast-paced startup world of analytics through my move to Merilytics where I worked with U.S.-based clients assisting their operations and sales teams. At Merilytics, I had the opportunity to build a “Software as a Service” application which led me to explore product-specific analytics at Ola. I played a key role in launching Ola in seven cities across Australia and the United Kingdom.
I enjoyed my work thoroughly, but I soon realized that I wanted to be a decision-maker beyond only providing input with which others would make a strategic decision. I wanted to gain a better understanding of core business functions to become a better decision-maker. The Darden MBA program immediately caught my eye because of the rigorous core curriculum and case method learning. As I started talking with the Admissions team, current students and alumni, I realized how closely-knit the Darden community is! The collaborative culture and emphasis on diversity and inclusion further reinstated my confidence in Darden being a great fit for me.
What made you decide to apply to be a CGI Global Ambassador?
Having worked across multiple geographies, albeit virtually, I learned the nuances of different cultures in strategic decision-making. At Darden, I have had multiple opportunities in class to learn about how each student perceives a problem differently based on his/her life and work experiences.
The Center for Global Initiatives keeps that spirit of learning alive by enabling students to participate in Darden Worldwide Courses, Global Consulting Projects and Exchange Programs. As businesses become more and more global, I believe it is almost necessary for future leaders at Darden to learn and adapt the best practices from across the world. Hence, I decided to be a Global Ambassador to not only help my classmates become global leaders but also promote the importance of diversity and inclusion through the various programs offered by CGI.
How has the pandemic shaped your role as CGI Global Ambassador?
It is difficult being a CGI ambassador during the pandemic as there is a lot of uncertainty around DWCs and Exchange Programs. Traditionally, the ambassadors are responsible for promoting and improving CGI offerings. But it is important now more than ever to collaborate with various stakeholders to offer alternative programs that are more suitable for the current situation. Additionally, we have to get creative in promoting DWCs and Exchange Programs as the current second year students, who are generally the primary source of information and cheerleaders for the global offerings, could not attend their DWCs due to travel restrictions.
Do you know in what direction you might want to go after graduation?
As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to be a decision-maker and a business leader. I interned at Danaher this summer in their General Manager Development Program as a Marketing intern. I will go back to Danaher after graduation. This role will give me hands-on experience across various functions of a business and exposure to businesses across the globe!
Where is the first place you would like to travel once the pandemic is over?
I want to go backpacking to Europe once the pandemic is over, and I would like to start with Sweden as I was supposed to go there for my DWCs and learn all about their sustainability practices!