Our Stories

New School, New Country, New Career

At Vanderbilt, Harkirat Sareen makes the leap from engineering to high-tech global commerce

Harkirat Sareen
Pathways Operations Manager, Amazon

Vanderbilt MBA 2017

Harkirat Sareen wasn’t sure what to expect when he arrived at Vanderbilt. It wasn’t like he was unused to new situations. As the son of an officer in the Indian Air Force, he had moved frequently as a child, living in areas ranging from arid deserts to steamy tropics and the freezing Himalayas.

What made Owen different for Harkirat is that his experience involved more than just a new school; he had never been to the United States.

Even before he arrived, says Harkirat — who had worked four years in an internal consulting role for the multinational giant, Schneider Electric, before pursuing his MBA — Owen’s Career Management Center helped him not only with tasks such as resumé writing but also with networking in a new country.

As much as the elite status of the program, it was the learning and growth potential in the relationships with people that drew him to Vanderbilt. “I found the students, faculty and staff here more approachable and friendly, more so than other schools I was considering,” says Harkirat, an avid photographer who rarely travels without his camera. “Sharing a class with people from such diverse backgrounds, cultures and locations has shaped my perspective to be broader and my ideas to be more inclusive. 

“I was fairly confident of my achievements, but coming here and interacting with such smart people has humbled me. Owen is not just an institution. It is also the people within the community who gave me new insight into the business world.

I would tell other prospective students, especially those from other countries, ‘Come here with an open mind. Explore areas that are new to you, and get to know your American classmates. There is an immense amount of peer learning that happens here.’”

Fun Fact: In high school and college, Harkirat was a vocalist for a rock band in India. “Now,” he says, “I just have fun at karaoke.”

“Sharing a class with people from such diverse backgrounds, cultures and locations has shaped my perspective.”