Sandeep: What do you do now?
Subodh: I am co-founder and CEO of AFour Technologies. My current focus is on establishing the long term vision for AFour’s services and marketing strategy. My primary responsibility includes Sales and Business Development. Thus, my #1 “Key Result Area” (KRA) is AFour’s revenues. The company has operations in Pune, India, and Bellevue, Washington. We currently have 21 employees, and have a goal of reaching $3 million in revenues in 3 years.
Sandeep: Talk to me about your journey.
Subodh: I moved from the field of telecommunications to outsourced software testing services in early 2002, when I joined Disha Technologies. I started my MBA program in UWB in 2004, and leveraged the lessons learned to make a broader impact at Disha, even as the company grew rapidly, building a strong brand for software quality, and evolving through two successful acquisitions. I was a Group Project Manager before getting enrolled in the UWB MBA program in 2004. I left MindTree in early 2010 as a VP and co-head of the Testing Business Unit, to get into my entrepreneurial venture, AFour Technologies.
Sandeep: What is your long-term vision for your company?
Subodh: I have a vision of building a world class company offering expert software testing services. The company would be known for innovation in software testing and quality engineering.
Sandeep: What did you get most out of your UW Bothell MBA education?
Subodh: The MBA education equipped me with the right tools and frameworks required to solve business problems in the high-tech industry. It also helped me apply structure to my thought process, starting from problem definition, to finding solutions in a logical manner, and presenting results to the executive management team. Above all, the UW Bothell MBA program offered excellent networking opportunities, which I have benefited from tremendously.
Sandeep: For those who don’t know anything about us, can you talk about what makes the UW Bothell MBA special?
Subodh: The UWB MBA has a strong focus on High-tech. The cohort program offers an opportunity to professionals to learn from the faculty and each others’ experiences. Class room discussions are very insightful due to diverse backgrounds of students and the individual attention from the professors.
Sandeep: What do you remember from your MBA courses?
Subodh: I really enjoyed all the marketing and financial accounting and management courses. I vividly remember the marketing game we played in Sundar’s New Product Marketing class, the Land Rover case study covered in Sandeep’s class, and the great paper on Judo Strategy by David Yoffie, who I had the pleasure of interacting with last year in a different context.
Sandeep: What is the biggest challenge you faced after graduation? How did you deal with it?
Subodh: I had decided to continue with my job at Aztecsoft, even after completing my MBA. One question I always had on my mind was whether I am utilizing the skills acquired during my MBA to the best possible extent. It was only after I decided to take the plunge and start my entrepreneurial venture, that I was convinced that I had put my MBA to the best possible use.
Sandeep: What advice do you have for future MBA students?
Subodh: Before starting an MBA, candidates must be clear about why they wish to pursue an MBA, including details like whether a full-time or a part-time MBA is the right one for them. They should ideally consult 4-5 professionals who have completed MBAs about how they were able to achieve their career goals with an MBA, the do’s and dont's.
Students should start applying the learning from their MBA program at work, rather than waiting for the MBA to get over. They should collect notes and highlight concepts they have used in cornerstone MBA courses, such that they can easily refer to those, later during their careers. MBA classrooms and exercises are one of the best places to network, an opportunity which students must take full advantage of. Students should make a switch to the desired careers or jobs at the earliest opportunity, while the MBA theory and concepts are fresh in their minds. Students must believe in themselves, and be willing to take risks!
What matters is whether students have been able to accomplish the goals that they set for themselves at the onset of the program. For instance, starting a new venture following an MBA could be a great goal. The definition of real success is, whether the student was able to bootstrap a venture by using the education and knowledge that was imparted in the MBA program, or create a great marketing strategy for a new product line in the company he/she works for, or a similar goal along these lines. It is equally important to make friends during this fantastic journey, and build a strong network which stays with the student forever.
Sandeep: Thanks, Subodh. The best of luck to Afour Technologies and to you!