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Tell us about yourself

Even as a young girl taking dance classes, Shilpa Arya (BSM 2007) was focused on improving efficiency, from easing the entrance of dancers to the stage to how parents filed in for recitals. So she already knew she had a strong interest in process improvement by the time she enrolled as a Management major at Georgia Tech.

“When I was filling out the application to Georgia Tech, my parents asked me if I wanted to be an engineer,” she says. “I said, ‘No, I want to be in business; I want to make things better.'”

What do you do?

Arya is fulfilling this goal in her job at The Home Depot, where she’s worked for the last two years, focusing on ways to improve the consumer experience and help store associates do their jobs faster and better. She was recently promoted to senior business analyst within the Store Operations department.

Arya got a lot of preparation for this job through Georgia Tech’s Cooperative Education Program, which allows students to earn as they learn, alternating semesters on campus with full-time jobs at participating companies. The opportunity to participate in a Co-op program in a city with many employment options was a major factor in attracting her to Georgia Tech from her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina.

What did you study? How was the experience?

Arya, an MBA from Georgia Tech, also completed her undergraduate studies (B.S., IT & Operations Management) in five years (which is standard for the Co-op program) from Georgia Tech, spent five semesters working at Delta Air Lines in a process improvement role. For example, she studied ways to improve the movement of passengers through check-in lines and onto planes, then back off again.

“I loved the Co-op program because I got to employ the concepts I was learning in the classroom,” Arya says. “Everything just clicked so much easier from then on.”

Knowing that much of her learning would be outside the classroom, she made a point to be involved in numerous extracurricular activities at Tech. She held leadership roles within her sorority, the FASET orientation program, Freshman Council, and Lambda Sigma Honor Society and serving as president of Georgia Tech Ambassadors.