As a product development engineer, Evening MBA Student Pratyush Lal designs physical education equipment for disabled kids.
For Pratyush Lal, entrepreneurship is a family tradition dating back generations in India.
To follow in his forebears’ footsteps as a successful business leader, Lal is earning his MBA through Georgia Tech College of Management’s Evening Program.
“Growing up in that environment, I saw the passion and commitment that goes into running your own business,” Lal says.
He co-founded the Adept Group with his brother two years ago to provide a range of design, engineering, graphic, packaging and sourcing services.
In addition, Lal continues to serve as the product development engineer at Sportime International, a position he’s held since 2002, when he graduated from Georgia Tech with a BS in mechanical engineering.
Skills to Succeed
Through the Evening MBA Program, Lal says he’s gaining a strong business foundation that is helping him be more successful in both businesses.
Georgia Tech began offering its high caliber MBA program in an Evening format in fall 2007 to accommodate professionals who didn’t want to interrupt their career for two years to earn a full-time degree. Most students in the program take two courses each semester, completing the program in approximately three years.
All Work and Some Play
For Lal, holding two jobs while taking evening classes isn’t exactly fun and games, even though his work at Sportime is. As a product development engineer, he helps develop the physical education equipment that Sportime distributes to schools around the world.
The company’s products include games and equipment designed to help physically and neurologically challenged children participate in regular activities and improve their functioning. Lal collaborates with teams including occupational and physical therapists to develop these products.
“One of the funnest projects I’ve worked on was a mini-golf game for kids with speech problems,” Lal says. “They get to blow a foam golf ball around a tabletop course using a straw. While they’re having fun, they’re actually generating wind in their vocal cords to improve their speech.”
Lal finds his work at Sportime deeply fulfilling, and he’s glad that his education is already helping him add value to the company.
“Being able to relate what I’m learning here to my work is a big bonus,” says Lal, who founded and leads the student government organization Graduate Evening Management Students. “For example, after discussing inventory management in class one day, I was able to better understand and make meaningful contributions to a conference with the corporate supply chain VP later that week.”
Doing the Right Thing
Georgia Tech College of Management appealed to Lal because of the school’s focus on sustainable, ethical business practices. He regularly travels on business throughout Asia where he sees that corruption is still a big problem hurting business.
Lal says his father, who started his own metal can manufacturing plant in India, has been a great role model for doing the right thing.
“He once had an extortionist demand money at gunpoint, but he wouldn’t bend on principle,” Lal says, adding that his father’s employees respected him so much that they put themselves in harm’s way to dissuade the shooter. “My father taught me that you don’t do business just to make money.”
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