Employee Spotlight: Aishwarya N (University of Wisconsin-Madison alum)

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Tom Case | September 10, 2019

Q: Where did you go to school and when did you know you wanted to be an engineer and product manager?

A: I have a Master’s degree in Computer Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with an M.B.A.

I have been fascinated with electronics since I was very young, breaking open various telephones and cameras at home to examine the components, much to my parents chagrin! Learning about semiconductor physics in high school made me realize this was a viable area of study, and the computer organization and design class (ECE551!) at Wisconsin made me realize this was a fruitful career path. I was fortunate to start my career at Qualcomm at the advent of the smartphone era, learning tons about low power design, smartphone workloads and constraint-driven decision making, in a market that was growing exponentially. I subsequently worked on several generations of the Galaxy and Note product lines at Samsung’s Austin Research Center (SARC). In total, chip programs I worked on have delivered over 1 Billion devices into customers’ hands.

While working, I also became interested in entrepreneurship – how great ideas meet creative business models to solve real customer needs. The desire to learn more business-specific skills drew me to seek an M.B.A. and a career in product management. 

Q: What attracted you to Cerebras and what do you love the most about working here?

A: Having solely worked at large, public companies in my career, I was determined to round out my work experience by working at a small, high-growth company after completing my M.B.A. I was also adamant in wanting to leverage my deep technical experience. In prior years, I had become interested in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, taking courses to learn more about the technology, and its massive potential.

At Cerebras, I found the perfect combination of all that I desired in the next phase of my career – a small, high-growth company, backed by the best investors in the industry, on a mission to accelerate A.I. 1000 fold. Conversations with the C.E.O. and other members of the executive team convinced me that I would have a unique role and large impact at the company, in this new domain and market.

What I love about working here is the first-principles approach to problem solving, the small team and lack of barriers that allow for holistic problem-solving, and fulfilling a deep-seated market need. 

Q: What are you working on today?

A: I am a Product Manager at Cerebras, handling the hardware aspects of our product, product roadmap, competitive analysis, customer success and overall marketing. That’s a lot of hats to wear – and I love it! 

Q: What has been your most rewarding and challenging project?

A: The hardest project I’ve worked on so far is on a customer engagement, which involved having to balance their unique needs with our engineers’ preferences and our executives’ vision, to drive towards a solution that delights all stakeholders. There is no better reward as an engineer and product manager to see a customer using our product and having it solve some of their long standing problems! It is a very fulfilling emotion and what keep me at my job, even during the challenging moments.  

Q: Who are your most important teachers?

A: I’m always in awe of what my parents have accomplished with their lives and careers, starting from very impoverished backgrounds and challenging work environments. My mother is the CFO of a large corporation in India, and my father recently retired as a general manager from another large company. They taught me the value of education, of working hard on hard problems, and surrounding oneself with excellent people. In a society that is still fairly patriarchal, seeing my mother navigate and succeed at a career in high finance while balancing family commitments provided me a blueprint for success in male-dominated environments. Any time I am in a tough situation, I ask myself – what would my mother do? That usually provides the right direction.