Sirisha Lavu

Sirisha Lavu
Class Year: 
2015
Job Title / Company: 
Manager Product Management, TE Connectivity

Undergraduate Degree: BTech, Electronics and Communications Engineering, Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology (India). MS VLSI, Veda IIT (India)

Why did you choose your program and area of study?

I was an engineer in the semiconductor industry and I wanted to switch to the management field to understand how to launch successful products. MEM seemed like a perfect opportunity that would help me transition from an engineer to a business leader.

Briefly describe your Duke Experience.

Coming from an engineering background I was completely out of my comfort zone especially at networking events. I was also trying to explore what my next career path would be. But, the network within Duke and the resources available were a tremendous help in figuring out my next step. I was in the midst of some highly talented people who pushed my thought process and taught me to never stop thinking big! It was one of the best experiences I had and helped me grow a lot both professionally and personally!

What impact has the degree had on your career?

As an engineer I was always looking for the one perfect answer that would help solve a problem. As one can imagine, this is not the case when you are running a business. There is a lot of ambiguity that you have to deal with on a daily basis. The consulting practicum, management, and corporate strategy courses have helped me transition into a business leader who is comfortable dealing with ambiguity and using my tech skills to my advantage in not only solving a problem but being flexible enough in my strategy to adapt to any hurdles on the way. MEM also pushed me to improve my networking and communication skills which is critical especially as a Product Manager, as you need others to align with the vision and strategy you set for your product line. These aspects have helped me achieve great success in my career and played a critical role to reach where I am today.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants - those who are just beginning to explore graduate options at Duke?

Duke is a great brand and has a plethora of opportunities for you to explore. Reach out to your buddy and other Duke alumni to understand the culture and possibilities at Duke. Do not restrict yourself in exploring just the coursework. Go beyond and identify what else can you do at Duke that can enrich your experience and help you grow! The staff at Duke are also a great resource in understanding various career options and will guide you every step of the way!

What advice would you give to admitted students who are considering Duke?

Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone as that’s when you truly grow! Duke is a great school and you will be surrounded by some of the best talent in the country. Ensure that you are not just performing well in academics, but doing something beyond as well. There are so many seminars, workshops, communities and events you can participate in. You should take advantage of these opportunities and participate in what interests you the most. Build relationships and lastly, make sure you attend the basketball games at Cameron!