With Penn’s Alumni Weekend running from May 15th through May 18th this year, we’re taking the month of May to salute some of our amazing M&T alumni. This special A Day in the Life post comes to us from M&T alum Arvind Puri, Director of Technology at the Walt Disney Company.
Please briefly describe what industry you’re in and what your particular position entails.
I work in the computer software industry in the online space, focusing primarily on building high volume websites with a lot of customer interactivity such as Yahoo, MySpace, LA Times and now Disney.
What time did you get up this morning before work?
I usually get up around 6 am.
What time did you start working, and what time were you done for the day?
Since the online world is a 24-7 world, especially for our international properties, my work day begins around 6:30 am when I check in with all the events and updates from overnight. I usually go to my office around 8:30 am. If I am traveling, I sometimes end up working longer days so that I can span multiple timezones.
Who specifically did you interact with today, besides coworkers (clients, interns, researchers, executives, founders, etc.)?
I spend a lot of time working with my team members, other executives and also with business partners, designers and with vendors. My clients are all the guests who visit our Disney Parks website properties and we pay a lot of attention to make sure they have the best experience possible.
Are you currently traveling or about to travel for work?
Yes, I usually travel about 1 week per month.
What was your favorite part of the work day?
Going home at the end of the work day is usually my favorite part of the day!
What are some of the challenges within your position that you particularly enjoy?
I work in a fast paced environment where we have to make decisions every day in a collaborative manner. Another aspect I like is being able to improve the guest experience with new ideas and new technology in a seamless, almost magical, manner.
How did you end up in your current position or school?
I was always interested in working in the software industry, that has led me on the career path that I have taken.
How did M&T help prepare you for where you are today?
I started off working in business application software for large enterprises. Having a Computer Science degree along with a degree in Finance is very ideal for this line of work. Later as I moved into the online space, I was fortunate to be one of the few technologists who could grasp the introduction of new technologies and be able to marry it to the business model being developed. This is a rare skill and very few people are able to do this successfully.
What advice do you have for those who might be interested in pursuing a similar path?
I find the pace of the online world to be very attractive and this an area where one can quickly gauge the impact of products that are brought to market quickly and get great customer feedback. For folks who are interested in pursuing careers in software, the flexible hours and financial rewards also make this path very attractive.
Arvind is currently Director of Technology for the Walt Disney Company in Pasadena, California. He graduated from Penn and M&T in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Penn Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management. Arvind loves mountain biking, hiking, the films of Francis Ford Coppola, and traveling around the world.