When he began applying for jobs in 2020, Peeyush Thombare, MBA’20, knew he faced a challenging job market battered by the economic slowdown and layoffs caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. An engineer and quality lead with a decade of experience, Peeyush had just graduated with a degree from the Evening MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business in downtown Indianapolis. His job-search strategy was specific to what he wanted most: He applied only for positions located in the Bay Area at Tesla, Apple and Amazon.
“I began applying for jobs right after I finished the program, and within a month, I had multiple offers from Apple and Amazon,” he said.
Peeyush was referred to the Amazon job opening through the Kelley School network. Once he earned a call back from the company, he leaned into his interview training and Evening MBA experiences to make an impression.
“Naturally, I discussed my work experience, but the overall badge of earning a top-ranked MBA gave me confidence and made a strong impression in the interview,” said Peeyush. “I completed the interview process and received offers from my two dream jobs: a position at Apple in iPhone product quality and another at Amazon with Lab 126.”
Ultimately, Peeyush accepted the position at Amazon, and he worked remotely during the pandemic as a quality engineering manager with plans to relocate in summer 2021. At Lab 126 in Sunnyvale, California. Amazon innovates and develops new products, such as the Alexa and Echo devices. During his day-to-day, Peeyush said he regularly leans on operational and statistical skills he gained at Kelley.
“These new, high-tech products are launched very fast—in six to 10 months—and the work is heavily cross-functional among teams throughout the globe,” he said. “I manage a large number of operational tasks and strategic tactics, and the Kelley Evening MBA gave me confidence to navigate through this work each day.”
With 10 years of quality engineering under his belt, Peeyush was an experienced professional at Cummins Inc. when he decided to pursue an MBA. What he lacked, however, was an overall knowledge of business.
“I needed a bird’s-eye view of business in order to further grow my career,” he said. “I wanted to move beyond the engineering and technical world to see a whole new paradigm of doing business. I knew an MBA would help me to explore more opportunities and grow my proficiency in more challenging roles.”
I knew an MBA would help me to explore more opportunities and grow my proficiency in more challenging roles.”
When it came time to select an MBA program, Peeyush considered his options but knew he was going to attend the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI.
“I wanted to do my MBA at a reputable school with excellent instructors. Being part of the Cummins family, I knew many people—including former managers and colleagues—who are Kelley graduates. I’d received tremendous feedback about the program, and I’d seen people grow from the experience,” he said. “After a few information sessions, I was positive it was the place for me.”
During the Evening MBA Program, Peeyush gained strategies about the job search itself, such as the value in changing industries while remaining in the same role, rather than changing both in one move. “It taught me how to make a more calculated career move,” he said.
Peeyush found some of the greatest takeaways from the program to be foundational business courses in finance, marketing and accounting that gave him a sense of overall business strategy. The insight provided a solid perspective on how the business operates as a whole beyond his corner of quality. Another great return on his investment in the program was strengthening Peeyush’s executive skills, like leadership and networking.
“Some of the most impressive courses were related to executive leadership, including in which you do an overall analysis of your leadership skills with surveys from your team at work,” said Peeyush. “I managed a team of 11 people at Cummins, and I never got the kind of real feedback that I did through my Evening MBA courses. It was remarkable.”
I never got the kind of real feedback that I did through my Evening MBA courses. It was remarkable.”
During the 24-month program, Peeyush expanded his professional network far beyond engineers by spending time with classmates from bio tech, medical, finance and banking industries.
“This great mix of professionals in the cohort helps you gain a much different perspective about collaboration and thinking outside your comfort zone,” he said.
Like most of his peers in the Evening MBA Program, Peeyush achieved all of this while managing the challenges of an experienced professional: a busy full-time job, a personal life and the arrival of his first child.
“It was all about balancing. I managed family time, a very hectic work schedule and driving an hour to downtown Indianapolis a couple times a week for evening class,” said Peeyush. “It was all very challenging, but that whole process developed me as a better person and a more efficient individual and employee.”
The experience also honed skills that Peeyush had not expected to draw upon, such as writing. His new job calls for much more technical writing and narration, a new responsibility he was prepared for after earning the Evening MBA.
“Since I’ve been at Amazon, I’ve worked on multiple written assignments, and the writing aspect became a lot easier thanks to the assignments and case study summaries I completed at Kelley,” he said. “Those experiences were a huge help.”
As Peeyush prepares to move across the country to pursue his dream job, he feels he’s a different professional than the one who began an MBA journey two years ago. And the changes aren’t limited to academics.
“The best part about the Kelley Evening MBA Program is not just the theoretical knowledge that you learn, but the entire process as you network, step outside your comfort zone, brainstorm new ideas and deliberate different topics,” said Peeyush. “All those special, hands-on experiences and leadership assessments help you step outside yourself and learn what you’re capable of. Those were the biggest takeaways for me.”