Naveen Jindal School of Management Alumni Spotlight
From real estate to healthcare management, to information technology and finance, we are proud to shine a spotlight on some of our alumni whose career paths are representative of the many employment options to which a degree from the Naveen Jindal School of Management can lead. With more than 29,000 alumni, the Jindal School is impacting the culture of business in the U.S. and beyond.
These JSOM graduates agreed to share their Jindal School experiences with others. If you are an alumnus and would be willing to share your personal story, please contact Brittany Huber, Director in JSOM Development.
Sejal Desai, MBA'99Program Director, Entrepreneurs For North Texas Establishing the Desai Family Fellowship at Naveen Jindal School of Management is just one thing Desai has done to improve the lives of others. Since her graduate school days, she worked for several years with STARTech, a tech incubator; was partner in a program that encourages children to study science and pursue higher education; established a social business that connects international travelers with agencies in India needing volunteer help; has served on the philanthropy council for North Texas Food Bank; and worked in community engagement for a real estate firm. Now she is with Entrepreneurs For North Texas, a Communities Foundation of Texas program.
Dream a Dream Foundation in Bangalore, India, is one of the organizations Desai supports.
What do you do in your current position?
I curate programs for about a 100 small- to mid-sized companies in DFW that are interested in taking an active role in our community by giving and volunteering.
Why did you establish the Desai Family Fellowship in 2015?
When I was a Jindal School student in 1998-99, scholarships helped finance my own studies. And then my MBA and the contacts I made while in the Full-Time MBA program helped springboard me into a well-established career and life in Dallas. The primary reason for establishing the Desai Family Fellowship was to offer similar opportunities to other young students who are beginning to pursue their dreams. Relatively speaking, it’s a small drop in the ocean. But if these fellowships are able to impact the lives of a few worthy yet needy students, and their careers and lives can be changed, then it’s a positive impact.
What is a memory from your MBA days you’d like to share?
Some of the faculty took a keen interest in my future and made connections for me that have truly impacted my life in many ways. It was on account of the confidence and support of Dr. Ram Rao and his introduction to a new up-and-coming tech incubator that I began an unpaid internship with STARTech toward the end of my first semester. Within a matter of a year and half, I was part of the founding team.
What advice do you have for new college graduates?
I believe in diversifying one’s personal portfolio. I have applied theories learned in finance and investment to real life. Prior to starting my MBA, I was with Ernst & Young in Mumbai, India, working in corporate advisory services, doing mergers and acquisitions, business valuations and more. All these different career experiences shape who I am today.
How does volunteering impact your life?
There is a common thread between my work life and the donation made in my family’s honor to Jindal School. I have always had a keen interest and passion for philanthropy and volunteerism. The amount of time and money we give, however, varies based on the stage of life.
What have you learned during your career that you believe others would benefit from knowing?
Spend a majority of your day doing something you are passionate about.
Define success for yourself and be happy with your own definition. Do not let others define success for you.
Be grateful at every stage in your life.
Hope for some early failures as they will teach you a lot.
Count your wealth in terms of the number of meaningful relationships you have built, not money in the bank.
If you were lucky, pay it forward.
In your experience, what traits are exhibited by an excellent leader?
In my opinion, an excellent leader:
Puts the organization before themselves
Brings out the best in their team
Knows when to delegate and when to micro-manage
Has a strong sense of security and self-confidence