Meet Ujwal, a Mentor at The Commons and Sr. Business Operations Associate at LinkedIn.
To summarize Ujwal's career path in one line: UMICH Engineer (Go Blue! 〽️) --> IBM Strategy Consulting (reached AA Executive Platinum status!) --> Ops Ex Manager @ Home Chef (built out an Inventory Management System ) --> Business Operations @ LinkedIn (helping members find more productive conversations)
Read on to learn more about how Ujwal decides when it's time for a career pivot, his advice on tackling a job hunt, and what he's doing to pay it forward (hint: it has a little something to do with being a Mentor at The Commons!).
Describe yourself with three emojis
🔋 (being fully charged) I always like to bring energy/excitement into any situation.
🎧 As a huge music fan (specifically Justin Bieber’s music), I enjoy my focus time paired with music. Always happy to chat music!
🍪 I love solving problems/puzzles; recently the problem I’m trying to solve is how to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
Current role & location?
📍Business Operations @ LinkedIn. Currently in Chicago, working remotely for an SF/NY based team.
What prompted your past career pivots?
In thinking of switching jobs, I always juxtapose what I’m currently doing vs. what my dream role/position would be and assess how my current situation is preparing me for my “next play”. If I decide that I am not well equipped to grow into the person I wanted to be for my “future”, I begin the job-hunt process.
When you pivoted into tech, what was one of the biggest changes you noticed vs. non-tech orgs?
The biggest change is the thought process and mindset of how tech companies operate. In my experience, tech companies are extremely mission-driven, and the people that find the most success are able to marry their previous experiences/skills with a strong lens of strategy associated with the company’s mission & values.
You decided to become a mentor at The Commons (we're thrilled to have you!). What are some of your favourite things about mentoring?
- The people: the community of folks in The Commons are so impressive. Not only are they extremely fun to work & talk with, but also they all provide a unique perspective.
- The growth experience: as a mentor I’ve really valued the ability to “pay forward” all the advice/mentorship I’ve received to learners who are looking to make a similar jump that I have done. It’s pretty remarkable to see the delta of where they enter vs. where they exit the program
What should people who are thinking about joining The Commons know about it?
It’s what you make out of it. I’ve seen folks who come in with little to no experience in tech/strategy/ops really sink their teeth into the project and get a ton out of The Commons. Ultimately, it comes down to putting yourself into uncomfortable situations and leaning into the learning opportunities; that’s when the magic happens!
Tell us more about your role at LinkedIn! What team are you on?
I’m on the Business Operations team for our Consumer Product (the app). I’m on the Content Experience team, focusing specifically on the newsfeed and creator ecosystem. We work alongside Product teams to better optimize the newsfeed experience for (a) our members by serving them more relevant content and (b) our creators by providing them the right tools to scale audiences.
What has been one of your favourite projects at LinkedIn?
- Project Objective: Post-COVID retrospective on the Messenger product
- Project Overview: As a result of COVID, engagement on the platform dipped and threw past product roadmaps to the wayside. I was responsible for providing an analysis on what powers Messaging on LinkedIn and how does the new environment of COVID reflect what our teams should be prioritizing.
- Your Role: Running the retrospective analysis and putting together recommendations for key focus areas for Product to double-down on.
- What made it so rewarding? It was a great project because it allowed me to really immerse myself in interesting member data and present key insights to key decision-makers. I was able to lead brainstorming sessions with product and cross-functional partners, which resulted in a set of product features that have recently been launched!
Why should someone work at LinkedIn? What do you love so much about it?
The mission/vision of the company is truly remarkable and inspiring. It is so incredible to not only see the work I do ladder up to the company’s goal, but also see our teams/execs actively making decisions/tradeoffs in spirit of our mission.
Okay, give us the good stuff - what's a fun perk that comes with working there?
The free food (LinkedIn’s food is the best!)
As you reflect on your previous career transitions, what advice would you give your former self at the beginning of your job search?
Be intentional. Invest in soul-searching and forming an idea of what your dream job would be. Then, make decisions that will actively get you closer
And now, a few fun tidbits about you!
🎙 Your Favorite Podcast: “How I built this w/ Guy Roz” Featuring Justin McLeod (Founder of Hinge)
📰 Where you get your daily news: LinkedIn and “The Morning” (NYT email digest)
🌟 A CEO or leader you admire: Jeff Weiner (Executive Chairman of LinkedIn)
💬 An inspiring business quote: “Attack each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” ~ Jim Harbaugh
➕ A handy shortcut: For Mac, “Command-H” which hides windows
💡 Something about you! Competed on America’s Got Talent
Join our Strategy + Operations Sprint and maybe Ujwal will let you in on his perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.
*Interview has been edited for clarity & style.