Alumni Profiles

Sonali K. Shah, M&T '96

Champaign, IL
Engineering Major: 
Wharton Concentration: 

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.