From Virtual Reality to Tesla

Parth Choksi (MEM ʼ20) went from owning his own business to being a product manager at one of the world's most recognized companies. He made the transition thanks to lessons learned in Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program.

Parth Choksi created Meraki Studio in 2015 as a virtual reality (VR) business that helped create content for clients, from immersive training opportunities for shop floor workers to gamification within a company's app. He negotiated a partnership with a Fortune 500 company and developed product wireframes for a VR cruise ship walkthrough. Choksi's background was in engineering, and he collaborated with designers and fellow engineers to develop and build the content the company’s clients were looking for.  

After nearly three years of growing the business, Choksi and his partners decided to sell Meraki. At the same time, Choksi decided to shift his focus from content creation to product management. For that, he turned to Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program.

Today, Choksi (MEM '20) is a product manager at Tesla, where he manages the company's app for Tesla's energy products. His work helps support customers and clients who use solar panels, power walls, solar roofs, and other energy-related products.

MEM's class on product management was the most impactful class he had during his time in the program. 

"Understanding user needs and identifying their problems are some of the most important things a product manager needs to start off with," Choksi said. "Once the problem has been identified, it is important to list and prioritize solutions that can solve the problem."

The product management course, taught by adjunct faculty member Birju Shah, helped Choksi understand how to identify user problems, prioritize those problems, and then fix them. Shah also stressed the importance of an agile scrum methodology for developing a product, a belief Choksi lives by today. 

"Build something, learn from it, and then build it in a better way," Choksi said. "Once a product is released, keep tracking and learning from it so you can continue improving it."

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