June 10, 2021
Class of 2021: Where's Tharakesh Munugur? Oh, he's probably networking
Building connections is important in any degree, but for Tharakesh Munugur, building connections was the backbone of his MBA at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.
Munugur says he has always been an explorer, both of the world and in his career. He started off in IT, but he dreamed of being an entrepreneur, so he started a supply-chain startup in India and successfully ran it for a couple of years.
Munugur then got married and travelled with his wife for a while, but eventually they decided to settle in one place. Moving to Canada and taking an MBA was part of that decision. As Munugur says, it was also a way to meet new people, learn about different cultures and learn about industry.
Indeed, Munugur had a chance to meet so many people, his classmates dubbed him a premiere networker. “There was a period where people guessed I was out networking when I was late to class,” Munugur recalls.
Value of networking
He says as important as the university courses are, the real value in an MBA comes from networking and building connections to learn about industry and gain traction in it.
Munugur says learning how to network is valuable to a career; networking is part of his current job in product management, where he shares knowledge and best practices with others in the field.
He also suggests fellow grads and students be open to all opportunities that come their way and be ready to showcase themselves. One way he did this during his degree was by attending the Reverse Career Fair organized by the Haskayne Career Development Centre. This unique take on a traditional career fair provides a chance for both students and industry representatives to interact. In this booth-style event, students exhibit their résumé, career posters and elevator pitch.
“The recruiters and people who came to you were interested in knowing about you, so that made the conversation more comfortable,” says Munugur, who landed the job he has now after being approached at the event.
Share your approach to solving problems
Munugur says case competitions and entrepreneur pitches are also great places to build a network. In particular, one can showcase their process in solving problems at these events, and companies may be interested if one solves problems in the same way they do.
“Any event that helps you showcase the approach you take towards solving a problem is going to help you build those connections,” he says.
Munugur says his world-exploring has been put on hold for now as he and his wife are expecting a child. However, he is still exploring his dream of being an entrepreneur.
“I’m working on that,” he says. “It may be too early to share any news about that, but I am working on my entrepreneurial dream.”
Learn more about the Haskayne MBA.