Student Q&A: Gaining the Skills, Confidence, and Exposure to Reach the C-Level

Executive M.S. in Technology Management student Ashwin Pulimamidi credits the program for giving him “the tools, confidence, and exposure” to apply for and receive a promotion at Pfizer earlier this year.

When did you enter the Executive M.S. in Technology Management program and when do you expect do graduate?

Ashwin Pulimamidi: I joined the program in Spring 2012 and I am scheduled to graduate this December.

You considered graduate programs at two other institutions before applying to Columbia. How did you decide?

Columbia appealed to me most because it’s Ivy League, and because of the the mentor program, courses, and professors.

Tell me about your promotion at Pfizer.

I was a Senior Manager supporting Pfizer’s HR systems and I am currently a Director supporting Pfizer’s financial consolidation, reporting, and planning processes. The current job is highly complex and I would say the size, scope, and complexity have approximately doubled.

How did the Technology Management program help you get this job and this promotion?

I applied for the job right after my first year at Columbia and I got it. Interactions with the CIO guest lecturers, conversations with my mentor, the Accounting and Finance for Technology class, and Dr. Langer’s class, Technology in the Business Environment, broadened my horizons and gave me the confidence and exposure to go after something new and achieve it.

Tell me about your mentor.

Michael Gabriel, the CIO of HBO, is my mentor and I meet him approximately once every six weeks. When I speak to him, he makes me comfortable, tells me how good a job I am doing with the project, and that I am ready to face the world. He bumps up my confidence level.

What’s next for you?

To get into the C suite. The next step is to find a Senior Director job at Pfizer or an outside company and, after that, look for a VP position. I never used to think big before I joined Columbia but after getting into the program, Columbia has taught me to dream big and has given me the tools to achieve those dreams.