Carnegie Mellon University

With over a decade of experience spanning big tech giants like Oracle and Apple, Aroop Ganguly has seen firsthand how high-quality communication and integrity empower both engineers and leaders. Though Aroop joined Apple’s ad team lacking specialized big data skills, he leaned on foundational strengths he learned while in the MSE to pick up new domains on the job. 

“I started on projects that utilized my existing skills and slowly learned,” Aroop explained. Rather than let knowledge gaps shake his confidence, Aroop employed the methodical problem-solving approach honed at CMU. “I took things one logical step at a time, created a plan to gain skills and apply them for success,” he said.

According to Aroop, the program’s intense focus on alignment and stakeholder agreement taught vital skills long before they became engineering buzzwords. “I can communicate in a very structured manner and bring projects to successful outcomes,” Aroop said. 

Connecting Talent with Business Needs

Today as a senior manager at Apple steering machine learning efforts, Aroop enjoys connecting talents with business needs to build innovative products. He mentors engineers on exhibiting vulnerability, stating, "The MSE way is documenting challenges transparently with supporting data before putting out solutions."

This authentic approach builds trust and an open culture. “Failure is important. Understand it, share weaknesses so others can help,” Aroop urged, noting industry leaders echo the same sentiment. He has seen firsthand how owning imperfections earns respect while misrepresenting reality destroys morale and progress.

Though affecting broad change remains an aspiration, Aroop is proud of incremental improvements within Apple. He has united internal teams and open-source communities to solve shared technical roadblocks. Aroop also informs senior leaders to shape better infrastructure for machine learning engineers. 

The Value of Honest Feedback and Open Exchange

In addition to professional achievements, Aroop has found great fulfillment in paying forward lessons from Carnegie Mellon. He fondly recalls how foibles and triumphs alike prepared him for the working world, from brutal critiques during end-of-semester project presentations to leisurely barbecues at professors’ homes. A particularly memorable moment came when renowned privacy expert Dr. Nancy Mead attended Aroop's final presentation as his project team’s client.

At the end of the presentation, one of the faculty pointed out that the project requirements seemed to be constantly changing, and that their client wasn’t pushing them to accomplish much. “Our client is sitting right there, and she’s a legend in the field! How do you respond to that? And then Nancy started smiling and laughing. That really broke the tension. We answered honestly and I learned that they’re not attacking you, they’re just asking questions.” 

Fielding tough questions with grace before an industry icon proved formative for handling high-stakes interactions professionally. Above all, what indures is the spirit of honest, intellectual exchange MSE fostered. Aroop summarized, "Comfort backing yourself while working in that rubric of transparency makes MSE alumni successful."