Meet some of our Evening MBA alumni!
Now numbering more than 25,000 living alumni, Leavey School of Business graduates are part of the larger University alumni body, which include such distinguished leaders as California governor Jerry Brown '59, Google's senior vice president and chief legal officer David Drummond '85, and Rebecca Jacoby MBA '95, chief information officer at Cisco.
Nilofer Merchant - Evening MBA '00
Nilofer Merchant started her SCU Evening MBA as a mid-level manager. By graduation, she was an executive at a Fortune 500 company, before starting and serving as the CEO, Rubicon. She is a prolific international speaker on leadership and has appeared with people like Malcolm Gladwell and Arianna Huffington. She has more than 50,000 Twitter followers; is a Harvard Business Review columnist and has published the Rules of the #Social Era in 2012. As CEO of Rubicon, she has advised several reputed Silicon Valley companies like Adobe, Symantec, Nokia, HP, Genesys and Logitech on strategy. “People send me all sorts of problems,” she said. “It’s a fascinating dialogue. I’m getting a chance to think more deeply about problems with organizations. We’re still operating under 20th century models in a 21st century world. As SCU professor André Delbecq taught me, each of us needs breathing space to be innovative.”
Neeraj Mathur - Evening MBA '10
Neeraj Mathur, a “double Bronco,” earned his MSIS (’08) and his MBA (’10) from SCU. Now he leads Product Management and User Experience at Bluebox and appreciates SCU’s impact on his life. Given his dual background, he founded the IS Connexion – a graduate student network that bridges the gap between technologists and business folks. “There is an urge to give back that comes from being a part of Santa Clara.” This sense of belonging, personal connections, and knowledge gained from SCU allowed him to meet his career goals and get the Dean’s Leadership Award. “Both the MSIS and the MBA programs allowed me to hone my leadership skills, which I believe I need now more than ever. We were also exposed to a different way of looking at problems and coming up with innovative ways to solve those problems. Santa Clara provided the tools to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes as others.”
Amy Yao - Evening MBA '11
Prior to joining the SCU MBA program, Amy Yao was working as a global logistics project manager. After graduation, she’s a data science supply chain strategist for Seagate Technology and was also recently a speaker for the Gartner Supply Chain Forum. “Silicon Valley is teeming with companies that are competing in the high tech industry, which has characteristically fast product life cycle and thrives on innovation. Supply chain management is a great skillset to have to be an operational caretaker as well as a growth partner,” Amy thinks SCU, with its challenging courses and inspiring faculty, is perfectly positioned to create an emerging generation of supply chain managers, offering the only graduate degree in the discipline in northern California.
Michael Enos - Evening MBA '11
Michael Enos, CTO of Second Harvest Food Bank, was a successful businessman with extensive experience at the time of joining the program. However, he wanted to do a better job of meeting community needs for which decided to further improve his knowledge through the SCU MBA program. “The more we can scale our operations efficiently, the better stewards of donor dollars we are and the better we can optimize what we have to help the community,” Michael has been able to directly influence not only his local food bank community, but the national food bank community as well. “I work on governance committees and consortiums that create systems and technologies for the national food bank network (Feeding America),” explained Michael. “I’ve been able to take the tools and skills I learned at Leavey and provide value to the entire network of food banks at a national level.”
Michael Torres - Evening MBA '11
Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, Michael Torres used SCU’s Evening MBA program to jump to new roles, first at Oracle and now at Salesforce, where he is Lead Solution Engineer. Torres believes the biggest attributes of the Evening MBA program are the students, the relationships that are built, and the information that is shared. Throughout his time at Santa Clara, Torres interacted with successful alumni who participated as guest speakers in various classes. These alumni, many of which were founders of companies or Angel investors, provided Torres with a new perspective. “Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine yourself making that leap and starting a company,” Torres said, “but if you can see how others made the leap, it’s easier to see yourself in those shoes.” “I ultimately picked Santa Clara based on its reputation and its location in the heart of Silicon Valley, where I knew I wanted to focus my career.”
Neeti Tulsyan - Evening MBA '11
Neeti says the graduate business foundation courses gave her a fresh perspective on business, culture, and management techniques, but her concentration in Business Analytics opened a whole new world for her. “There is no better place to be than in Silicon Valley if you are pursuing business analytics as a career. SCU being right in the heart of the Valley has the right network of people, right knowledge base with expertise in latest trends in the subject. I wouldn't look elsewhere!” Tulsyan took advantage of the Business School’s California Program for Entrepreneurs (CAPE). “With like-minded classmates I was able to work on an idea of creating a data-driven fashion app that connects personal stylists with online shoppers.” She’s currently the operations officer of StyleBAR, the business she co-founded with classmates.
Alina Adams - Evening MBA '13
Alina is the Vice President of startup Volyy; she also spends her time working with a small team to build the groundwork for a second startup company. She graduated from the SCU MBA program in December 2013 and chose Leavey School of Business due to its excellent faculty, academic program strength and its location, the perfect place to study business and entrepreneurship. She was also a member of the 2013 CAPE cohort where she was the winner of the Internet Services Sector prize for the Tria & Barrett Cohn CAPE Business Plan Pitch Competition. Alina felt that her graduate business degree perfectly complemented her technical engineering degree and prepared her for business leadership. She strongly believes that organizing the VCIC was her most memorable experience in her MBA program.
Ashley Howell - Evening MBA '13
She is the founder and CEO of Givve Collection. Her SCU MBA program was integral in the development of Givve, says Howell. Getting to know local executives and SCU alumni through the School’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship while being mentored by business school faculty prompted her to pursue Givve as her thesis project. Under the guidance of Prof. Kirthi Kalyanam, Director of the Retail Management Institute, she turned her idea into a viable project. Then, she began pulling together partners from fashion and technology to develop the Givve website (www.shopgivve.com). Currently working for a large defense contractor, Ashley considers herself as a technology oriented person with well-developed fashion interests. She sees a distinct growth in the convergence of tech and fashion and is happy to be a part of it.
Jason Oliver - Evening MBA '14
Jason chose to pursue an MBA in order to couple his scientific background with a formal business understanding. His ultimate objective was to make a transition from science into a more collaborative marketing role. The MBA program was an important tool in facilitating and enabling his career transition. The flexibility offered by the Evening MBA program allowed him to continue in his research role while attending classes, Also especially SCU’s location was convenient for him geographically and the program was very cost competitive for him. His experience at SCU especially building networks and getting informal advice sessions from his favorite professors paved his career path. After his MBA, he was offered as a data scientist role in a Fortune 500 company where he now supports data driven marketing decisions.
Wayne Tow - Evening MBA '15
After a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UCLA, Wayne was working for a gaming company called Raptr when he decided to get an MBA. “The SCU program was well located in the heart of tech, with classes evenings and weekends so I could work and further my education at the same time,” Tow says. “And it was great to take stuff you learned in class and be able to apply it right away in a true work setting to see how it played out.” As the senior product manager, Tow worked closely on the development of the app and collaborated with his team members and customers to continuously improve it and move its release forward. Unravel made its debut with a test run in the U.K. the first part of 2015 and beta-released in the United States earlier this summer. “There’s an abundance of smart people in Silicon Valley and the tech industry,” he says. Having a SCU graduate education gives you a head start and an advantage.”