Few people have heard of Oman (it’s the only country that starts with an ‘O’): that’s where I grew up. I was born in India, moved to Oman when I was in the fifth grade, and then to Wisconsin when I was 17. I’ve always had trouble answering the customary “Where are you from?” question. Perhaps I should introduce myself as a global citizen whose perspective has been shaped by a multicultural upbringing. That does sound intriguing! But for the past few years, my answer has been, “I’m from Raleigh.”

Earlier this year, I celebrated my fifth anniversary at IBM. I joined the company as an intern while working on a Computer Science degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduation, I moved to the Research Triangle Park area, and joined IBM’s Software Group as a System Test Engineer. My professional experience, when measured in years, isn’t as extensive as that of most Executive MBA candidates, but the incredible opportunities I’ve had at IBM made it possible for me to be part of Duke’s elite MBA program.

My role at IBM has evolved. I’ve moved from software development and quality assurance to IT systems management to project management. I earned a Master of Engineering degree at North Carolina State University while working full-time. While in the master’s program, I constantly applied class concepts at IBM, and leveraged IBM frameworks and tools at school. It was a lot of fun, and people noticed! In retrospect, this experience helped me develop more holistic thinking, and planted the MBA seed.

Lately, my responsibilities at IBM have expanded to include the internal adoption of two software solutions that have introduced a paradigm shift in IT management. The most exciting part of the adoption project, for me, is dealing with people’s resistance to change. I am fascinated by the non-technical challenges encountered while developing and marketing new software products. Duke’s Weekend Executive program, I believe, will increase my capacity to lead by helping me explore the factors that promote group effectiveness, and understand the symbiosis among the various pieces of an organization.