What separates the top performers from everyone else? According to Smith graduate and Googler, Arhaan Saksena, MS '15, it's a focus on the big picture. "Always ask yourself, what is the larger problem that you're trying to solve?" It's crucial to define the overarching goal first, and work smartly to resolve the issue. Otherwise, you will end up spending time and resources on tasks that may not be aligned with the actual problem. It's about asking the right questions to tackle the right problems.
Prior to attending Smith, Arhaan obtained his bachelor's in computer engineering and worked for the multinational financial corporation American Express, and one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, Ernst and Young. With a few years of technical expertise under his belt, he recognized it was important to understand the impact of organizational decisions through business lens, which led him to Smith. During his time at Smith, he found his niche and leveraged opportunities that enabled him to build the skills necessary to be an expert in technical product sales. Arhaan was very involved with the efforts of building the Smith community through organizing social and networking events. Additionally, he collaborated with industry leaders to bring professional development workshops to Smith graduate students.
Arhaan's strong technical background, coupled with Smith's Masters of Information Systems program, provided a well-rounded education that helped hone his business acumen. This laid the foundation for Arhaan's career. He has always gravitated towards the business side of things, and the formal education allowed him to apply his knowledge and technical skills in a non-technical role. Arhaan stressed the importance of going off the beaten path and finding ways to set yourself apart. Ask yourself the question: What makes your brand different?
In addition to its global-perspective, Arhaan believes what makes Smith unique is a culture that is never satisfied with the status quo. To him, fearless ideas means the willingness to take risks and not being afraid to fail. Upon graduation, Arhaan was faced with the decision of taking a secure job from a big global firm in New York or pursuing an opportunity at a unicorn in its early stages in Silicon Valley. He took a leap of faith, packed up and moved to the west coast to work at Apttus, where he took on a lot of responsibilities and grew immensely in a short period time of time, which ultimately paved the way for landing his job at Google. Today, as a sales engineer, he helps enterprise customers transform their businesses and enable innovation through Cloud Computing. Forbes estimates the Global Cloud spending to reach $390B by 2020, Arhaan is fearless in the face of this opportunity and all the challenges it presents.