Throughout my last two years at Penn, I’ve aspired to attend as many speaker events as I possibly could, especially if these events featured M&T alumni. It’s so insightful to hear stories and get advice from alumni who have once been “in our shoes” as students. Hearing how far M&T alumni have come in so many unique paths has always inspired me in thinking of my own career pursuits and how the M&T Program can help me get there.
As you might imagine, I was super excited when I got word that another M&T alumnus was coming to campus this past March! As the first of the new lecture series recently started from a generous gift from an M&T alum, Meenal Lele (M&T ’05) came to Penn as part of the Barer Family Lecture Series. Besides the amazing dinner that was catered for us, I was able to learn more about Meenal’s path towards her current role as the Director of Clinical Affairs at Velano Vascular.
This particular talk was one of my favorite speaker events at Penn because of Meenal’s candid discussion about her life at Penn and finding the right career after graduation. Although we as students might want to plan out the future as much as possible, there is some value in leaving the door open for “spontaneous” decisions. Meenal talked about the nerve-wracking experience of spending a hopeful semester abroad at the National University of Singapore, although she wasn’t sure if she had even gotten into the exchange program by the time she reached Singapore! Her willingness to be open about her future and try genuinely interesting roles led her to spend some time at Knee Creations, where she managed the clinical and scientific studies for Knee Creations’ state of the art procedure for healing chronic knee pain. It was here where she used her M&T background and Penn degrees to conduct and analyze clinical and scientific studies and learned the ever important lesson of keeping a level head when dealing with a knee surgery gone wrong! Being able to hear Meenal’s experiences and journeys from college and in the workplace has been insightful and gave a different look at how the M&T Program can prepare students to fill positions at the intersection between business and engineering.