Kunal Aghera is from Glenwood, Maryland and is majoring in Management with a concentration in Management Consulting and Analytics (MCA) and a minor in Digital Marketing Strategy.

After graduation next week, Kunal will be staying another year to complete the Master of Science in Business Administration – Business Analytics (MSBA-BA) in the Pamplin College of Business in Blacksburg.

We recently asked Kunal to share both his Virginia Tech and Pamplin journeys with us.

Why did you choose Virginia Tech?  When and why did you choose MGT?

I chose Virginia Tech because of my older brother. We are both first generation college students, so Virginia Tech was our family’s first college. After visiting and hearing my brother boast about the campus and faculty, I made it a goal to attend here as well. I chose Management because of the vast career paths available with the degree. I love creative problem solving and working in teams, so consulting went together with my strengths.

Name some of the internships, if any, that you had during your Virginia Tech and/or Pamplin journey.

I had an internship at ILC Dover, a pharmaceutical engineering company, as a Product Marketing intern. During my internship, I was able to manage a large company database, use various software to gather and analyze data, and improve processes within the marketing department. Many of my responsibilities were not apart of my initial tasks, however I got out of my comfort zone and asked to assist on other projects within marketing. This was very important because I was able to learn much more and gain new experiences that I originally would not have been apart of. An average day was meeting with my marketing supervisor in the morning, doing some daily tasks, meeting with product managers and senior leadership for performance and goal setting, and growing the database as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Were there any specific classes that you remember as validating your major choice to date?  

Product and Quality leadership and Management Consulting were two of the most validating classes I have taken within my major. PQL allowed me to learn a lot of tools for being an effective leader and how to mitigate waste within a process or organization. Management Consulting was a great class to see how consultants work in a team. We worked in a team of 5 to assist a starting transportation business in creating manageable growth to become a top market player in their area.

Has there been a faculty member or staff member within Pamplin and/or the MGT department that has served as a mentor or source of inspiration for you during your journey? 

While it is difficult to just pick one, Professor Margaret Deck has been one of my most influential mentors within the Management department. I met Professor Deck in the beginning of Sophomore year in her Principals of Management course. This is where she talked about her inspiring career journey and introduced me to the Management Society. This is the point in college where I started to get very involved, both with extracurriculars and connecting with faculty. Professor Deck has been a blessing to Management Society, by giving students the voice and confidence to lead meetings and providing great advice along the way. I can confidently say that if I was not introduced to Professor Deck my sophomore year, I would not be as successful or confident in my abilities as I am now. When I look back at my time at Virginia Tech, I will see Professor Deck as the largest source of inspiration.

What advice would you provide to an incoming Pamplin freshman? 

My two main pieces of advice to incoming Pamplin freshman would be to get involved and connect with your faculty. Virginia Tech and Pamplin allow so many ways for students to get involved. These experiences are key to gain and will give you great talking points for interviews for internships. Leadership experience is also key, so join an organization as a freshman, and start to work your way into the leadership team. I also highly recommend connecting with Professors. Professors at Pamplin really want their students to succeed, so go take a second to introduce yourself and ask questions. You never know what opportunities they have ready for students like you, or the advice they can give you for your collegiate career.

What/who is your inspiration for leadership?  

My inspiration for leadership is my father. My father came to America at 16, with little to no money and no college education. Flash forward 40 years, and he is a business owner and manager at a popular motel near D.C. Growing up and seeing my father be an effective leader by working hard was so inspirational to me and gave me the goal to be in a similar position one day. My father’s employees love him, because of his leadership style. He grew up in a similar situation to his employees, so he is very understanding. Good leadership can take many forms, but it is the best way to ensure success for a company. My father worked hard so me and my brother could go to school, and his dedication has inspired me to work hard to get what I want.

“The Management Department’s faculty and leadership has been phenomenal during my college career. The faculty is incredibly diverse, which allows students to see so many different career paths within the major. The faculty is also very approachable and are ready to help their students however they can. The head of the department has asked me questions directly, to get student input on new policies or classes. There is a lot of transparency between student and faculty which is great to ensure that department goals are being met, and students needs are being fulfilled.”