Malay Sapra BSIE 2016
“I like to do things that give me a rush, challenge me, and push me to my limits,” says the senior in industrial engineering.
Now in his final semester, Sapra is preparing for a career that he hopes will include running his own business.
Sapra started at Illinois as an aerospace engineering major, then transferred to industrial engineering to appeal to his interest in business and because he enjoyed the size of the ISE department.
“The department is small enough where I can interact with people,” Sapra says. “It fosters a comforting environment.”
After holding leadership positions throughout high school, Sapra knew he wanted to continue leading in college. He became involved with Engineering Council his freshman year and was elected to Director of Leadership for the Leadership Committee his sophomore year. He also joined Illinois Business Consulting, a student-led consulting organization housed in the College of Business. During his time at IBC, he realized consulting would be his next big step and the true beginning of his career.
“I feel like I’m a very good people person,” he says. “Being able to deal with people, being able to deal with things and solve problems . . . that’s kind of because of the engineering mindset that I have.”
In the spring semester of his junior year, when he learned that the department was setting up a chapter of INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), Sapra volunteered to take the lead in its establishment. He took the initiative to set up the organizational structure, develop and host events, and establish INFORMS as a University RSO as well as a national student chapter.
Sapra says that by leading INFORMS, he has learned how to better lead a group, work in teams, and inspire others. He says the learning experience has been a culmination of all he has learned in college.
Additionally, Sapra has been involved with the newly established ISE Buddy Program, which provides an informal, student-led mentorship system for students. Serving as one of the leaders, Sapra has helped to form guidelines and work with the ISE department to figure out the program’s balance.
Now in his senior year, Sapra says he is coming to realize just how quickly his four years on campus have gone, as well as the change he has seen in himself during that time. Sapra says his favorite thing about ISE has been the relationships he has developed with people in the department.
“There’s no boundaries or barriers. I can just knock on a door and someone will be willing to chat with me,” he says. “I really enjoy that because I feel like that isn’t available everywhere.”
In five to ten years, Sapra says he hopes to be working for himself.
“I don’t know what kind of company I’ll be running, but it’s going to be like INFORMS, I’m just going to do it,” he says. “I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to find something and I’m going to make the most of it.”