Sonali K. Shah, M&T ’96
WHAT ARE YOU DOING CURRENTLY?
I am a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research examines how innovation happens and the factors that determine the success of innovative high technology start-ups.
HOW DID M&T PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CURRENT POSITION OR ROLE?
Fluency in technical and business issues has allowed me to be an effective and creative problem-solver in a wide array of professional settings (investment banking, consulting, graduate school, and professor) and connect to many different audiences. The problem-solving techniques taught in engineering have been invaluable.
HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH THE M&T COMMUNITY?
As an alumna, I’ve shared my experiences with prospective students through the Penn Alumni Interview Program and interacted with other graduates at alumni events.
Several close friends are M&T graduates – we’ve shared many experiences and insights over the years as we’ve pursued different career paths.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE M&T PROGRAM?
The people! It is incredible to be part of a community of enthusiastic, engaged, and determined students and alums.
The M&T faculty and staff are amazing, and such a great resource for M&T students. The M&T office always offered a warm welcome. And, Dr. Hamilton was always there to help us think through decisions and tradeoffs.
WHAT ACTIVITIES DID YOU TAKE PART IN WHILE AT PENN?
Many! Penn is a treasure trove of experiences. I sailed competitively with the Penn Sailing Team; wrote, copyedited, and served as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine; conducted neuroscience research at Penn’s Medical School; volunteered at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; headed up the SEAS Peer Advising Program; and studied abroad in Stockholm, Sweden for a semester. My friends and I also spent a lot of time chatting over food truck lunches and birthday desserts at cafes on campus. Whatever your interests, you can tailor an amazing college experience at Penn.