While accomplishing a childhood dream with her MBA, Shyamala Kachaliya’s confidence soared
For Shyamala Kachaliya, an accomplished software engineer and the co-founder of a successful 18-year-old mortgage business, a Daniels Executive MBA represents far more than a line on her resume.
“I already had my own business and I was already confident, but the feeling I had when it was done was that I could crash through any glass ceiling,” she said of the advanced degree she completed in 2020. “It made me supremely confident that I can take on anything that I have a passion for.”
Furthermore, in fulfilling a lifelong personal goal to earn an advanced degree, Kachaliya said she set the bar for her 11-year-old daughter.
“I wanted to provide inspiration to my daughter,” she said. “I want her to succeed at high levels and I believe I should lead by example.”
Kachaliya’s drive and motivation will also serve as a touchpoint for future prospective Daniels students as she now serves as a graduate student ambassador.
“Shyamala really stood out in how much respect she had from her classmates,” said Teaching Professor David Cox, Kachaliya’s finance instructor and past academic director of Daniels’ Executive and Professional MBA programs. “Given the talent and expertise that every cohort has, it’s tough to stand out among all the high achievers, but she did and that was impressive.”
Having grown up with a father who was a principal and a mother who was a teacher in a small town in India, Kachaliya has long been fascinated by the academic world. When she completed her computer science and engineering degree from Amravati University in central India, however, she put her dream of earning an MBA on hold.
When she moved to the U.S., Kachaliya seamlessly moved into a software development job and she soon discovered a new hobby—real estate investing. The avocation quickly blossomed into a passion for both Kachaliya and her husband, then a high-ranking executive with PwC, and the pair took the leap to found Fortune Financial Inc. mortgage business in 2002.
“We saw that people were getting charged more than they should have for their mortgages,” Kachaliya said. “So, we started a transparent business to take care of people who are not so good in finance. “I love working in finance. This was truly a calling and I enjoy what I do every day.”
She also made a considerable impact within her Executive MBA cohort.
“Any time we discussed international issues, Shyamala provided great insights, especially around what was going on in emerging markets,” Cox said. “She also added a lot of depth to discussions about merger strategies and the importance of corporate culture.”
For her part, Kachaliya said while the coursework rounded out her knowledge base, she treasured the opportunity to tap the knowledge of Daniels’ instructors and collaborate on projects with fellow students with different expertise.
Going forward, she believes the Daniels experience has prepared her for whatever rolls her way.
“Previously, I had to go the extra mile to prove myself in front of strangers,” she said. “But my MBA gives me instant credibility with anyone in my industry. Whatever career change I choose to make, I believe I’m ready to take on the world.”