In just two years at Whitman, Hariharan Padmanabhan has made a lasting impact on the school and community through his work in the field of supply chain management.
After graduating from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in India with a degree in computer science and engineering, Padmanabhan worked for four years at an IT firm called Infor Global Solutions. He served as a technical consultant for the firm, working with top supply chain and logistics customers across North America and Europe. Padmanabhan was responsible for managing technical and functional customizations of customers’ warehouse operations software, which is what first gave him insight into the role that supply chain plays in business operations.
“It was in 2013 when I realized that with extensive technical experience and background I could move into a management role to understand supply chain from a business management perspective,” said Padmanabhan. “I believe any industry with a supply chain or operations management focus merged with technology and analytics has a huge growth potential over the next several years.”
While Padmanbhan has been interested in pursuing an MBA since his time as an undergraduate, it was this experience that sparked an interest in supply chain. He chose Whitman because it would allow him to study supply chain management as a concentration while also taking other elective courses, including those in business analytics and information technology. The small class size was also an appealing feature, as it allowed for a better interactive learning experience.
“The experiential learning, which gives you an opportunity to work with external companies as part of the curriculum, is the icing on the cake,” said Padmanbhan.
Since coming to Whitman, Padmanbhan has been extensively involved in the supply chain management program. He is currently president of the Franklin Supply Chain Club, and during his first year he worked with the club to develop global and local logistics solutions for ELECTRObits, Providence of Syracuse and Syracuse Diesel. He also participated in research that was presented at the annual Harry E. Salzberg Memorial Lecture program on the topics of Omni-channel and Manufacturing 2.0. This year, he has worked with Crouse Hospital in an experiential learning project to reduce noise level in the hospital as part of the Lean Six Sigma course.
Last summer, Padmanbhan had the opportunity to participate in the Operations Leadership Development Program for Amazon. During this internship experience, he was responsible for combining operations with business analytics to improve Amazon’s reverse logistics progress.
“This experience broadened my perspective on what this field can offer and I hence decided to continue working with the company post-graduation,” said Padmanbhan.
Padmanbhan also plans to continue his philanthropy work as a youth leader for global nonprofit spiritual organization Bruno Groening Circle of Friends. “Being part of such work gives me the satisfaction of giving back to the society for as much as what I have taken from it and help under-served people,” he said.