Finding Time to Pursue Passions

Atindra Garigipati’s schedule is busy between a full-time job and a venture capital fellowship, but he has still found a way to carve out time to be a full-time student in Northwestern Engineering’s Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program.

Atindra GarigipatiTime management is one of Atindra Garigipati’s greatest strengths. It has to be, given all that’s on his plate. 

Garigipati is a quality and sustainability manager at Ashland, a global specialty materials company that serves customers in a wide range of consumer and industrial markets. He is also a fellow at Purple Arch Ventures, a venture capital firm for Northwestern alumni investors, executives, entrepreneurs, and innovation enthusiasts.  

On top of those roles, Garigipati is a student in Northwestern Engineering’s Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program.

At Ashland, Garigipati focuses on quality operations and project management for any sustainability or environmental, health, and safety initiative for the company. He also oversees a team of six laboratory technicians and one quality engineer, and admits he couldn't manage his current workload if it were earlier in his career.

"I may not have been able to handle everything since early in your career, your work schedule can be more volatile," he said. "Now that I am in a more managerial role, things are more stable in terms of the work required and schedule I have." 

Garigipati credits the MEM course Leadership and Organizational Behavior for helping him balance his obligations.

"Professor (Gail) Berger did an amazing job sharing life-balance tips and different ways to manage your time effectively," he said. "Ever since then, I have been able to implement some of those strategies into my work and all of the things I have to complete."  

That course was just one of the many MEM experiences that had a lasting impact on Garigipati. He learned about operations, accounting, economics, organizational behavior, leadership, and finance during his time in MEM. It was the program's emphasis on STEM experience that initially appealed to him. Garigipati has visions of eventually being in a leadership role at a STEM company, so having the opportunity to work alongside other students with STEM backgrounds was a bonus learning experience.  

Garigipati also wanted to learn about entrepreneurship during his time in MEM, and earlier this year he partnered with two of his classmates to create Screen Surf, an app designed to make navigating digital streaming services more efficient for consumers. It was that same entrepreneurial drive that led him to Purple Arch Ventures. Garigipati received a fellowship to join the group and learn the ins and outs of venture capital, an area he is interested in pursuing later in his professional career. 

For now, his focus is on the present and taking advantage of every minute he has.

"Working on all of this stuff, I almost don't consider it work because I thoroughly enjoy it," Garigipati said. "I work in an area where prioritizing items is critical for success, and bringing that to outside projects is very important as well. Doing this takes time, but I believe that over time, it gets easier."

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