Studying for an MBA while working full time: Arun’s employee story
Today, we’re catching up with Arun, Regional VP of Sales for the East Coast. Arun joined Adjust over five years ago, and now leads our team of Sales Managers for the area. But that’s not all: he’s also halfway through studying for an MBA at Columbia University. Here, we chat through his background at Adjust, the biggest lessons he’s learned so far and how he’s balancing studying with his sales career.
You recently passed the five years mark at Adjust. Looking back, how did you come to work with us?
Before starting at Adjust, I was working with ad networks for around four years. I saw the industry shifting towards attribution and tracking, and knew I wanted to be a part of it. I was then approached by Adjust, and introduced to Christian [Henschel, our CEO] and Paul [Müller, our CTO]. I immediately trusted them, and really liked the wider team.
I was the very first employee in the US, starting as a Regional Sales Director on the West Coast. As Adjust grew and began hiring more and more sales reps, I developed greater managerial responsibilities. Within two years, I was promoted to US Sales Director, and I’m now RVP for the East Coast.
Tell us a bit more about your MBA. What was your motivation behind starting the course, especially while staying at Adjust?
Things change so quickly in mobile that if you take even six months off in the sector, you’re not ahead of the curve anymore. I really love working in this industry, and knew I never wanted to leave it, so continuing to work at Adjust while studying was a natural choice.
But being in mobile means you’re absorbed in a bubble, which can hinder you from seeing the bigger business picture. I’ve only been selling for about eight years, and up until then hadn’t learned the more analytical skills needed in business - what it’s like to start a company, or what it’s like to run a P&L, for example. That was my main motivation behind starting the MBA.
How does studying fit in with your work?
It’s a gigantic time commitment. This is the busiest I’ve been in my entire life - if I don’t plan out my schedule, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Fortunately, Adjust has been really supportive in terms of taking time off and having time away from work when I need it. There’s a lot of plate spinning to keep up hitting your quota, managing your team and going to school, but I know it’ll be worth the pay-off.
What are some important learnings you’ve brought back from the course? And what have you learned from Adjust that’s helped you while studying?
The course is really helping me develop as a manager. It sounds simple once you think about it, but one of the biggest takeaways is that not everyone’s motivated by the same thing - it could be by getting more money, more responsibility, or a promotion. Learning who’s motivated by what is a big realization for me, and helps me be a better manager.
More broadly, the skills I’m learning overall are helping me analyze situations from a different angle, which is really valuable. Before, I was working mainly off of my gut. But intuition won’t always give you the right answer, especially when it comes to bigger decisions. This course is helping me develop the analytical skills to complement that intuition.
In terms of what I’ve learned from Adjust, it’s definitely the management experience - particularly in a company that’s grown from 20 to 250 people since I joined. It’s given me a big leg up when it comes to analyzing business cases, because I’ve been in a lot of those situations myself. I know it’s rare to see companies grow tenfold and be in a leadership position to see it all happen, so I’m really grateful for that.