Reetu Gupta (MBA 2010) didn’t come to the Foster School to become an entrepreneur. In fact, she had already written a pretty compelling story of the American Dream by the time she enrolled in Foster’s Technology Management MBA Program.
Gupta grew up in a tiny town in northern India, struggled her way to an education and landed a job at Hughes Software Systems. Later, a job offer from AT&T Wireless led to her immigration to the United States in 1999. Arriving with two suitcases and $2,000 in hand, she marched boldly into the land of opportunity, starting as a principle software engineer at AT&T Wireless, then rising to general manager of Honeywell’s commercial displays business where she managed $500M in annual revenue. She also authored several user interface patents in aerospace cockpit technology.
Finding herself increasingly involved in team and project management, Gupta reasoned that an MBA was the next logical step to continue her ascent up the corporate ladder. Except…
The Foster TMMBA experience—“a chance to learn from the best of the best,” she says—stirred in her an irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit: “The TMMBA opened doors I didn’t even know existed.”
Not long after graduating as valedictorian of her class, Gupta was helping her daughter navigate the byzantine application process for a prestigious private school in Redmond when she was struck with her eureka moment.
She quit her job at Honeywell, cashed in savings and investments and launched Cirkled in, a college recruitment platform that connects universities with best-fit high school students based on rich, detailed personal portfolios.
“Cirkled in helps students shine in the best possible light,” Gupta says.
Rebel with a cause
The idea hit a nerve and found a growing market. Cirkled in has won a number of American Business Awards—better known as “Stevies”—including the 2017 Grand Stevie Award which recognizes the top 10 companies in the US. In 2016, Gupta received the Gold Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year.
Perhaps her most satisfying title, however, is Mom. Gupta’s two young daughters, Prakriti and Prakshi, inspire her to show them the way to a world of opportunity that she could not even have imagined at their ages. “I’m raising the next generation of rebels and change makers,” she said, proudly, at the recent GeekWire Summit on the immigrant’s journey.
Gupta didn’t come to Foster to become an entrepreneur. She came out believing she could be anything. “The TMMBA gave me tons of tools, knowledge and the confidence to know that I can do this.”
“I still believe I can change the world,” she adds. “And I will.”