Kruthika Srinivasan is a 2011 graduate of Embry-Riddle’s MBA program. Born and raised in India, Kruthika left her home country at age 17 to work on a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics from the University of Nottingham. Soon after receiving her degree, Kruthika realized she wanted to immerse herself in the aviation industry and decided that a degree from Embry-Riddle would be the best way to move forward with her goals. She moved to the United States and began attending Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. As an MBA student, Kruthika landed an internship at Southwest Airlines. Soon after completing her internship, she interviewed for her current position. Kruthika is a Senior Analyst in the Network Planning Department, where she has been working for the last year.
Tell us about your position at Southwest Airlines and what you enjoy about working for them.
As a Senior Analyst in the Network planning department, I am part of the team that is responsible for routing and scheduling the approximately 520 aircraft in our network. We are constantly living in the future while we optimize the balance between the commercial requests of the schedule and the operational feasibilities. The fact that we are a point-to-point network just makes our lives as planners a lot more interesting as we solve this massive puzzle made up of at least 3000 flights a day. It is a very fulfilling job where I get to see my schedule working in the real world while making good profits for the company. I personally love working for Southwest Airlines. We, as a company, have a very different approach towards work which needs to be experienced firsthand. The culture at Southwest is outstanding, there is an excellent work-life balance, my co-workers are very friendly and the people here in general have a very positive outlook towards life.
Many international students want to gain some work experience while in the U.S., either during their studies or after graduation. What advice would you share with these students?
My advice to international students trying to get some work experience in the U.S.:
- Start early and plan ahead. This is most important.
- Do a good amount of research about the companies that you are interested in.
- Work closely with Career services and take advantage of the experienced counselors there.
- Show the employer that they have a lot to gain by hiring you – not just in terms of knowledge and skill set, but also because you could bring a global perspective to their business practices and add to the diversity of the company.
You represented Southwest Airlines at the recent ERAU Industry/Career Expo. Being on the recruiting side of the table, share a few things that stand out to you when you are talking with someone about working at Southwest.
Most students that I spoke to at ERAU seemed to have done their homework about Southwest Airlines and I definitely appreciated that. I would advise any student approaching Southwest to be confident, cheerful and have a good time. This is a company that gives importance to not only your work ethics and knowledge, but also to your all-round character.
We know that many times the education received at college is a solid foundation for the work world, but it does not completely prepare you for the career position you will have. What skill have you found that has helped you adapt to your new position quickly?
Yes, I agree that just having a formal education does not prepare anyone for work in the real world in its entirety. However, I do believe that it is very important to have a good foundation in school as it is the basis for your thought process. Education may not prepare you for every possible scenario, but it helps train your mind to identify the right to approach any problem. Personally, I have found that keeping yourself up to date with the latest developments in the industry and associating how knowledge learned in the classroom could be applied to a real world problem will prepare you to hit the ground running. Also, team projects are an excellent way to learn and build on your emotional intelligence, leadership skills, time management techniques and most importantly, ability to be a team player.
Is there any other advice you would share about preparing to be successful in the work force?
Focus on the task at hand and aim to be a perfectionist. After attaining a certain level, when you are working with some of the best minds in the industry, hard work, the right attitude and good work ethic are the only things that will help you stand out in the crowd. At the same time, don’t forget to have fun.