University of Southern California

Amar Arekapudi
Title
Expanding Horizons
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Graduating Year
2008
Hometown
St. Louis, MO

After spending his entire life in the Midwest, St. Louis native Amar Arekapudi looked at business schools on both coasts when he decided to apply for his MBA. He chose Marshall because of the atmosphere of collegiality and the Trojan network.

“The school really gives you an opportunity to make a difference, whether it be with student leadership, charity organizations or academically, he says. “I really tried to expand my horizons and do a lot of different things here.”

He succeeded. His many activities included MBA Challenge for Charity, running tailgate parties and other events to raise money for Special Olympics. He was among six members of the Advisory Council, charged with redesigning the Marshall student government, and also joined Marshall’s Career Coach program, in which second-year MBA students provide guidance for first-year students. “I wanted to contribute and do for others what they did for me,” he says.

Before entering the Marshall MBA program, Mr. Arekapudi worked for two years in IBM’s supply-chain consulting group, doing cost-benefit analysis. “I didn’t have any marketing experience before I got here, and I wanted to transition into marketing,” he notes. An internship in summer 2007 at Taco Bell gave him the “opportunity to learn a lot of different aspects of brand marketing, [working] with products that are pretty famous and popular. It was the perfect stepping stone for me.” The experience helped him garner a position in General Electric’s leadership training program.

He chose GE because of the high caliber and reputation of the company and its two-year leadership training program, which is comprised of four six-month rotations in addition to six weeks of training each year. “I’m still pretty young, so I wanted to go somewhere I could continue learning,” he says. “GE provides a lot of development.”

The Marshall MBA program expanded his horizons in other ways as well. As part of the required Pacific Rim Education (PRIME) Program, he traveled to Mexico and Cuba. “To see the effect of the culture on the way businesses are run was very eye-opening,” he says. “In Cuba, we went to a rug factory and a bio-tech firm that is doing some amazing things that we don’t have access to here because there’s a trade embargo. Everyone was passionate about what they did, whether it was rug master or scientist.”

Mr. Arekapudi is clearly passionate about his time in the Marshall program: “It’s been a great experience, and I made a lot of lifetime friendships. It’s a safe place to learn and really take some risks that you couldn’t take in the professional world. [Marshall does] a good job of preparing you for all levels of whatever you’ll be doing next.”