By: Darsh Gupta
Growing up as a child, I had a difficult time understanding what my father’s occupation was. When asked to explain what my father does for work, I would always respond with “He’s a businessman!” Not that the former is not true, however, this categorization for my father’s line of work was extremely broad. As I matured, I came to a better understanding of what my father’s background is and how that connected to his field today. In brief, he attended India’s Institute of Technology (IIT), pursuing a computer science degree, and later earned his MBA. And today, he works at Abbott within their IT department as a senior manager as a part of their BSS Operations Planning and License Management team.
It was not until later when I fully understood his role and position that I grew to appreciate the relationship that business and technology management holds in today’s world. My father ventured from a technical role within his early career and transitioned to a significantly more managerial role in the later part of his career as insinuated by the position he currently holds. Learning from his experiences, I came out with a better understanding of what is needed to efficiently operate big companies like Abbott. One of my biggest lessons learned was that being able to understand the language of engineering and business is one of the most important skill sets you can bring into your career. No matter the initiative, there will always be a great idea that needs to take the forefront of their respective field, whether that be a new and innovative phone, car, watch, etc. However, without the proper funding, financial guidance, and many more business driven aspects of developing a product, there won’t be an emergence of great ideas.
This realization was amplified within the T&M Seminar when employees from companies would discuss their backgrounds and the products that the company develops. Almost every occasion when a product was being discussed by one of the corporate sponsors, it would be a manager of some sort discussing not only the technical aspects, but also many logistics as to how they execute to place the product in the consumers’ hands. It would also be interesting to learn that the majority of these managers presenting to the T&M Seminar came from pursuing an engineering background, and navigated into their more supervisorial role. Again, there is this dialogue shared amongst engineering the product, and driving the business behind it.
The T&M Seminar also helped me draw a parallel to my past internships with Abbott as well. I have been interning with Abbott every summer since 2018, and I have been reflecting back on the lessons learned throughout the T&M Seminar and applying them towards my internship opportunities. Each summer, I have been a part of a unique team that serves a very important role within the Abbott structure; however, regardless of the diversity of the team that I have encountered, there has always been a sub-team that is responsible for the funding &financing the initiatives set by the main team. This reflection made me realize that my past managers I have worked alongside have had to share this dialogue of technology management with their team to execute their plans on a daily basis.
An interesting experience that my manager shared with me this past summer was that he started off within Abbott as a very technical role and enjoyed it very much. But as time progressed and his career grew, he started shifting away from technical roles because he wanted to have more “direction with the company”. He noted that this was difficult at first because he only had a technical background, and pivoting to higher positions meant he needed to be able to cater to different audiences. This was eye opening for me because I have never thought about moving up the corporate ladder from this perspective and the obstacles that may come with it.
These different experiences helped place the T&M Hoeft Technology Program in a different light, as the gravity of this shared conversation held a newfound importance to me. It is clear that developing a fluent language amongst the languages of business and technology will serve me extremely well for the career that I plan to lead.