Sainsbury Management Fellows

Interview 2: Animish Sivaramakrishnan

Animish Sivaramakrishnan (BA, MEng, Cambridge), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania  

Animish Sivaramakrishnan MEDIUMBiog: Animish started his career as a strategy consultant at LEK Consulting in London. After gaining his engineering degree, he wanted to spend some time learning more about how business really works, although his long-term intention was always to return to the technology/engineering world. During his time at LEK, he was chosen for a secondment to Expedia’s product team as a product manager. He subsequently joined an early stage FinTech startup as a product manager. Before starting at Wharton, he spent some time at Balderton Capital, a Europe-focused venture fund, where he developed a passion for the VC sector.

What’s life like at Wharton?
I’m a few months into my course and so far and it’s been an amazing experience. I’m taking courses in everything from leadership to marketing; meeting people from all over the world, and immersing myself in the many clubs and organisations on campus. There are also plenty of opportunities for me to keep up with my tech and entrepreneurial interests; for example, I’ve been selected as an InSITE Fellow through which I’m working with some local Philadelphia startups, helping them through various operational challenges – from determining product/market fit through to fundraising. I know it’s still early days, but I’m really glad I chose to be an MBA student at Wharton, and I’m grateful to SMF and the Royal Academy of Engineering for helping me be here.

How did you learn about the SMF Scholarship?
I heard about SMF through Wharton. Attending business school is a significant financial expense, so I asked Wharton’s financial aid office about funding and scholarship options available to British citizens (many of the scholarships they mentioned were only for Americans). Luckily, one of the options was the Sainsbury Management Fellows scheme.

What attracted you to SMF?
I applied to the SMF for reasons beyond the obvious financial support. I was especially interested in the mentorship and career guidance that comes with the award, as well as access to the SMF alumni. I had conversations with several past award recipients who all spoke very highly of the advice and guidance they received from their SMF mentor. They also all mentioned how useful it was to be part of the broader SMF network, and how these intangibles were actually the most beneficial components of the award. I’m really looking forward to meeting and learning from others in the SMF network.

What’s your career goal?
I love startups and technology. I particularly enjoyed my time with Balderton, so my long term career goal is to be a venture capital investor. I believe that the UK has the talent to be a real technology powerhouse; there’s no reason we can’t have the next Facebook or Google founded in the UK, so I want to help UK entrepreneurs do this. Before then, I need to spend more time getting operating experience at startups to learn more about the challenges technology companies face and to develop credibility as a future VC. So, in the near term, I’d like to spend time at an early/growth stage technology company in an operating role such as product management or business development.

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