MBA leads to J&J
power career

Gita Srinivasan
Gita Srinivasan

Gita Srinivasan (M.S., CHEM ’93; MBA ’98) credits the Virginia Tech MBA program with jump-starting her successful 16-year career as a portfolio and project manager for Depuy Synthes, Johnson & Johnson—a leading medical device healthcare franchise—where she is responsible for managing complex and global software initiatives.

Challenged to succeed

After graduating with a master’s degree in chemistry from Virginia Tech, Srinivasan decided to take advantage of the IT boom and solidify her career prospects by earning an MBA, with a concentration in management information systems. Srinivasan chose Virginia Tech’s part-time MBA program.

“It was the best decision of my life. I was totally committed to the MBA program, and I thought it was phenomenal,” said Srinivasan. “The professors were constantly challenging us but they were always helpful and really wanted us to succeed.”

Johnson & Johnson has recognized Srinivasan with a number of leadership awards.

Within a few months of joining the program, she was recruited—at a Virginia Tech job fair—as a quality software tester for Meridium in Roanoke, testing “asset reliability software” used by asset intensive industries to predict and prevent failures.

A family effort

Srinivasan appreciated the opportunity to work full time while still maintaining her enrollment in the MBA program. Life, however, did get a lot busier.

She recollected the creative ways in which she balanced her roles as a student, employee, and mother. For instance, she paid her fifth-grade son an allowance to read and record chapters from her MBA textbooks onto cassette tapes so that she could listen to them while commuting and doing household chores.

With hard work, perseverance, and support from her husband and children, Srinivasan earned her MBA, and Johnson & Johnson quickly hired her to manage a SAP implementation for a spectacle lens group company that it had recently acquired in Roanoke.

“I didn’t know anything about SAP, but I really wanted to work for J&J,” she said. “I was attracted by its credo that challenges employees to put the needs and well-being of the people they serve first. This embodied my principles and was a great fit for me.”

The power of Hokie prestige

She said that Johnson & Johnson was impressed with her Virginia Tech credentials—especially the MBA—and she was able to convince her interviewers that, with SAP training, she could handle the job.

“And, here I am 16 years later,” said Srinivasan. She has served in a number of capacities within Johnson & Johnson, relocating from Roanoke to Boston.

Srinivasan considers herself a leader and a change agent who enjoys coming up with novel solutions to address challenges. “My job requires that I establish direction, create alignment, inspire and motivate people to produce change—all within a global, cross matrixed framework,” she said. “The MBA program at Virginia Tech was instrumental in providing me with the knowledge and skills I need for this.”

The benefit of enduring curiosity

A firm believer in continuing professional education, she is continuously engaged in ongoing self-driven formal courses such as innovative entrepreneurship, instructional design, and biomedical product development at the Harvard Extension in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is also a fan of MOOCs and is currently taking a class in Python.

Johnson & Johnson has recognized Srinivasan with a number of leadership awards. The company also provided her with training opportunities to enhance her career growth and helped her obtain Project Management Professional certification and a Six Sigma Green belt certification.

“I definitely have to thank the Virginia Tech MBA program for my start at Johnson & Johnson,” said Srinivasan. “I am very proud to be a Pamplin Hokie!”

Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Magazine Fall 2015

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