Rashmi Ketha recently earned two new titles: NJIT Master of Science in Management (MSM) graduate and New Jersey Career Center Consortium (NJC3) Student of the Year for 4-Year Technical Institutions. As the former, she would like to apply her foundational knowledge gained at NJIT to pursue further education at Harvard, with an eye toward the C-suite. And as the latter, she received a $250 cash award, which she plans to invest and also purchase a few books that are meaningful to her.

“It is an absolute honor to receive this award and it is a great recognition for the work I’ve done both on and off campus,” said the Montville, N.J., resident, who was born in Maharashtra, India, and moved to the United States at age 5. “This accolade will definitely motivate me to further excel in my career and studies.”

Ketha applied to the competition with assistance from the university’s Career Development Services (CDS). CDS is a member of NJC3, a consortium of some 50 New Jersey schools that “strives to be the model of academic-employer relationships.” A small committee of career services professionals selected the winners based on projects completed, responsibilities met and growth realized from a particular experience. Ketha honed in on her internship in global decision support at Novartis, where she helped implement and maintain cross-functional processes, projects and resource management systems.

“At work, I gained a thorough knowledge of and experience in using project management tools such as SUCCEED, Horizon and MS Project while interacting with business users to create functional and technical requirements documentation. I also provided insights with information analysis, categorized data points and supplied timecard support by performing routine checks on data migration,” elaborated Ketha, who traveled from NJIT in Newark to Novartis in East Hanover two to three days a week and then returned to campus for evening classes.

“Apart from all the technical skills I was able to develop, I learned how to work in a complex environment by incorporating a global mindset into my day-to-day activities,” she continued. “I was able to cultivate diversity of thought in the workplace…[which] is a key driver of innovation and is a crucial component of being successful on a global scale. My managers were very open to communication, having an ‘open-door’ policy. They served as great role models for me…on how leaders create a collaborative ethical work environment.”

An NJC3 Student of the Year, Rashmi Ketha picked up her certificate at NJIT's Diploma Day.

Changing Course

While a student at the university, Ketha co-founded and served as treasurer of NJIT Health Occupations Students of America, acted as secretary of NJIT Saavan (a Hindi fusion a capella group), worked as a data quality improvement adviser project assistant at New Jersey Innovation Institute and was an Honors College Ambassador. She majored in biology and minored in business with the goal to combine the two for a career. When the courses she was taking for her minor sparked an interest in the advanced technologies of analytics, she decided to pursue her MSM. This past semester, she participated in the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Datathon, which encourages “women to apply their knowledge in a predictive analytics challenge.”

Ketha remarks that both her NJIT degrees and her work experience have introduced her to new thought processes and areas such as data science, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and have also inspired her to solve business problems using the latest technological advances. She says she chose to attend NJIT for its undergraduate research as well as its high return-on-investment.

NJIT also “provides students a lot of opportunities to network with companies in the New Jersey/New York area,” she added and then gave a shoutout to Albert Dorman Honors College. “I knew that the Honors College had many events and initiatives to make students into leaders, which I personally took part in and enjoyed a lot during my time as an undergraduate.”

This month, Ketha started her career in Verizon’s Leadership Development Program in the data and business analytics/artificial intelligence track.

A Second Honor From NJC3

NJIT Career Development Services' Patrick Young also received an award from NJC3.

Ketha was not the only applicant from NJIT to be recognized by NJC3. Patrick Young, assistant director of employer relations for CDS, was chosen as Practitioner of the Year and also received a $250 cash award.

Young is responsible for building relationships with employers interested in recruiting NJIT students and alumni, and serves as the primary contact for inquiries and partnerships related to co-ops and internships, as well as a liaison to the university’s Office of Alumni Relations for recruitment purposes. Additionally, he has a lead role in collecting, analyzing and disseminating graduates’ first-destination data. This past year, he implemented the Interns of NJIT campaign, which generated data on more than 450 internships.

“I pride myself on providing a high quality of service to employers, understanding that every interaction impacts their impression of our office and NJIT, and their likelihood to return here to recruit,” he said. “It is a great honor to be recognized in this way by NJC3, especially among so many strong career services offices and colleagues throughout the state.