Mentor Spotlight: Sanjay Ajayan
What do you do at your job? And how did you end up in your current career?
I currently work as a technology consultant at Ernst & Young. My job revolves around helping companies transform their business using the power of people, process and technology. The team I work in does this by understanding and researching the clients’ technological ecosystem as well as their business processes. After understanding their business problems, we can use our methods and cross-functional teams to provide inventive solutions leveraging technology. This ensures that companies can stay modern and ahead of the curve.
I started my career by interning as a systems engineer at an HVAC company, which provided me with a solid foundation for engineering and digital technology. However, I decided to transition into the consulting industry due to the dynamic nature of the job. Here, I get to take on different roles in different projects and tinker with the latest advancements in the world of science and tech.
Who is a mentor for you? How did they help you?
I’ve had the great opportunity of learning from many different Jayhawks throughout my time at KU. Mohammed Farooq, Steve Tesdahl, and Craig Berkeley are some KU alumni who have supported me at various stages of my KU academic life. They’ve helped me craft resumes and prepare for multi-stage interviews, land internships, full-time offers, etc. Also, these are all people I got introduced to through KU’s alumni program. Connecting with them gave me access to their years of industry experience, which helped me make the right career decisions.
What advice do you have for current college students or young alumni?
The most important advice that I wish I knew earlier is that people are the greatest resource you can learn from. Let’s say a KU student wants to break into the investment banking industry; there are KU alumni out there with decades of experience who will tell you exactly what you need to do to be where you want to be. Use the opportunities you get while you are a student to network and connect with people from multiple backgrounds.
As an international student, do you have any specific advice for current international students?
For international students, there are a few additional hurdles to jump through when it comes to jobs and other work opportunities. You will have to put in hours of research in terms of work authorization, companies, careers, etc. There are plenty of companies in each industry that are welcoming students with international status. Rejections are a part of the process, and you might have to go through hundreds of applications, but it is worth it in the end.
What is your favorite KU memory?
My favorite memory at KU was one of my earliest memories there during Hawk week. Most of the friends I made at KU were there during that week, and I stay in touch with a lot of them on a daily basis. The events, celebrations and people make it my fondest KU memory.
How have you benefitted from the Jayhawk Career Network?
The Jayhawk Career Network, especially the online mentoring platform, is where I met the most helpful KU alumni and gained a wealth of information. I landed my internships and job with the support of alumni from the platform and that is where I learned about the power of networking.