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Thoshna Dayalu

Thoshna Dayalu - MBA

Poets & Quants "Best and Brightest" helps Cisco accelerate software sales

  • MBA '18
  • Originally from: Bangalore, India
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering - CMR Institute of Technology
  • Previously worked in investment banking and strategy consulting in India

When Thoshna Dayalu (MBA '18) graduated from UC San Diego's Rady School of Management, Poets & Quants named her one of the "best and brightest" MBAs from a pool of 60 business schools around the world.

Thoshna took her degree and her accolades to Cisco, where she became a program manager focused on cost and value engineering. Today she is a program lead for software acceleration within the global public sector.

In that role, Thoshna helps accelerate Cisco software sales within the public sector, ranging from government and defense to education and healthcare. More succinctly, she designs and builds different buying options for customers so they can buy, manage and consume Cisco software effortlessly.

Thoshna talked about lessons she learned at Rady and how she's able to apply them to her work at Cisco, as well as what advice she'd give to someone considering an MBA from Rady.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
The people. Cisco’s cultural fabric is based on its diverse and yet unified workforce. They make the magic happen.

What are the biggest challenges you face?
The biggest challenge for me as a global commercial program lead is working virtually with a very diverse and distributed workforce. We have a great product that makes our virtual engagements come close to feeling like we're in the same room, but the in-person camaraderie and bonding of teams are definitely missed.

What did it mean to you to be named one of Poets & Quants' best and brightest?
The year 2018 was the first time UCSD was featured in Poets & Quants. To be the face of that recognition was definitely a huge honor for me. I still count myself lucky to have been shortlisted among so many talented graduate students globally for the publication. I think the title only further validates the brand strength and reach of the Rady MBA program.

How did Rady prepare you for where you are today?
Rady prepared me for uncertainty and helped me understand the value and power of human connections.

In what ways do you incorporate lessons learned from Rady into your day-to-day work?
I am always learning and growing from my team, the people around me, and folks I connect with. My time at Rady taught me that we're better together — even a rockstar needs an entourage.

What role does data — and the ability to translate that data — play in your work at Cisco?
Data is everything. In our work sphere, all decisions are made based on data. The ability to find, extract, analyze and interpret data is paramount. Our decision to sell a product in a particular market, packaged a certain way at a defined price point is the result of multiple conjoint analysis and sensitivity tests.

What was your experience at Rady like as an international student?
The FT MBA 2018 cohort had close to 40% international students, with nearly half of us being women. We received a lot of support from our faculty and domestic students, who helped us make connections and gave us referrals when endorsements mattered the most.

For your time in Lab-to-Market, you worked as an intern at HP. What were your primary goals and responsibilities?
My Lab-to-Market team was tasked with coming up with 30 different use cases across six industries for HP to potentially enter the market with IoT logistics solutions. Over the course of two academic quarters, our team brainstormed more than 50 different customer use cases. We narrowed our analysis to the top five use cases with robust business plans including market, opportunity, and solution definitions.

What advice would you give someone considering Rady?
Get ready for the fastest, most fun and yet testing two years of your life. You are going to grow and learn a ton while making lifelong friends and mentors.