Transformed: Illinois Tech Helps Fill in the Missing Pieces



By Andrew Wyder
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Comfortably settled into a career in his native India, Tarang Vaidya (M.A.S. ITO ’20) began to take stock of his situation: He had completed undergraduate and professional degree programs, and his professional résumé included stints working for Indian conglomerate Godrej, interning for Mercedes-Benz and Siemens, and working in market research for Google.

Seemingly well-situated, Vaidya began to realize he wanted more—both personally and professionally. It forced him into a dilemma: What now?

“In spite of having a decent-paying job and people to support me, I decided to come out of my comfort zone. I wanted to explore my options and wanted to test myself in different conditions,” Vaidya says. “People mocked me…why are you taking such risks at this time of your life? This did not hamper me or my goals and with my family giving me full support, I took the biggest risk of my life.”

Moving some 9,000 miles from his home, Vaidya decided to enroll at Illinois Tech to round out his manufacturing education and to challenge himself personally.

In particular, he chose the industrial technology and operations program—where he could learn how raw materials are sourced by suppliers in a cost-effective way and how a manufactured product is delivered effectively. Having spent close to six years getting hands-on experience in understanding everything from how the suppliers are chosen to how products are made, identifying these gaps was of utmost importance.

“The [question] of…how the final product is delivered to the customer remained unanswered,” Vaidya remembers. “All [my experiences] form a part of the supply chain, and that is where I was inclined to pursue my master's in this domain to get more insights and have more clarity.”

His experience at Illinois Tech has exceeded his expectations, allowing him the opportunity to attend supply chain conferences around the country, receive internship experiences, and lead the Illinois Tech chapter of the Association for Operations Management (APICS).

In particular, they've allowed him to push past his comfort zone. He pointed to the opportunity to lead the APICS chapter, take part and lead Illinois Tech teams in competitions, and write for the university's student newspaper, TechNews, as to how he pushed those boundaries.

Now, as he prepares to re-enter professional life, he does so as the enhanced version of himself that he set out to find at Illinois Tech.

“Having been exposed to various situations and opportunities that were thrown at me, it was up to me to create for myself a whole new persona. I am happy that I could transform myself in a way that I had never envisioned,” Vaidya says. “Be it the leadership skills or helping others, Illinois Tech gave me a lot of scope to collaborate with others and solve any kind of problems.”

Photo: Industrial Technology and Management graduate student Tarang Vaidya (provided)