Graduate ready for second career with MBA from Binghamton University
Karan Sharma's journey to Binghamton started almost 8,000 miles away in Pune, India.
Karan Sharma, MBA ’18, has one word to describe how his Binghamton University MBA education makes him feel: capable.
“The MBA program gave me a skillset I didn’t have before I started. It nurtured the skills I already had while also providing me with new skills that are desired in the industry. And because of that, I feel capable to take on whatever is next,” Sharma said.
His journey to Binghamton started almost 8,000 miles away in Pune, India.
After earning a degree in mechanical engineering, Sharma went to work at MAHLE Behr India as a designer.
“Initially, it all seemed so exciting. The work was exciting and I was dealing with new situations and obstacles every day,” he said. “But after two years I began wanting a new challenge.”
Other areas within his industry began to attract his attention. He noticed that the clients were more interested in the cost and marketing of the products, rather than the design.
“I suddenly found myself interested in marketing and the strategy involved with how to launch new products. So I decided that I was going to pursue an MBA and get more involved in the business side of things,” he said.
Sharma looked at programs in the United States and was accepted into all five Northeast colleges he applied to. He said that what made Binghamton University stand out among other elite business schools was the quality of the School of Management’s (SOM) faculty, as well as the value of the education.
“In terms of the cost versus what you’d be getting out of the program, Binghamton was easily the most economical. I also had friends who went to Binghamton, and they had nothing but good things to say about it,” he said.
Not able to visit the campus before attending, Sharma wasn’t exactly sure what to expect upon arriving. Luckily, he was pleasantly surprised by what the place he’d call home for the next two years had to offer.
“It was love at first sight. Binghamton University has an amazing campus with amazing grounds. And the City of Binghamton itself is not too large and not too small. I had a great first impression of this place, and it made me excited for what was to come,” he said.
Sharma met his cohort during an initial case competition at the beginning of the program and says from that moment on, he didn’t stop making friends.
“Each project and team you work with introduces you to new people. You form bonds and friendships and learn from one another. I found myself speaking to people from many different backgrounds, and I learned so much from their experiences,” he said.
Sharma declared concentrations in management information systems and marketing, and while the curriculum was challenging, he said that being guided by the “world class faculty” from SOM made him confident in his learning. Associate Professor Surinder Kahai’s “Introduction to E-Business” class, in particular, had a large impact.
“He had a very different style of teaching, not relying on a textbook. He made us constantly aware of what was going on in the world around us. When you see the reality in the teaching, you tend to retain it better, and everything he taught us had real-world applications,” he said.
Sharma also praised the experiential learning opportunities that were built into the curriculum. Whether he had to design a website for a hypothetical company he created, present a media strategy plan to real-world professionals in New York City or make important business decisions with only limited amounts of data, Sharma said the experience he gained was invaluable.
More opportunities came with involvement in a number of School of Management clubs and organizations. Sharma was the vice president of the Graduate Management Association and was also a member of the Binghamton University Marketing Association and the Information Systems Club. He said his involvement connected him with professionals who were experts in a number of relevant fields, including machine learning and neural networks.
“There is a plethora of opportunities here that go beyond just your classes, and I think getting involved with them is a vital part of your overall education. And these opportunities can then lead to even more opportunities,” he said.
And as he steps out into the real world for a second time, Sharma has never felt more capable to take on wherever his explorations take him next.
“I’m definitely going to miss this place, but I’m excited about this new beginning and all of the places I have yet to explore,” he said.