Meet Madhuram Ravichandran— engineer, applied data scientist, machine learning specialist, mother, and dedicated lifelong learner. We often interact with learners and find inspiration in every story, but serial learners are in a class of their own! If you’re looking for motivation to learn and wondering how to balance work, life, and upskilling, this learner’s story can help. Join us as we delve into her incredible learning journey, guided by resilience and the quest for knowledge.
Life as We Know It
Ravichandran’s educational voyage began as a determined engineering student in India. However, life’s unpredictable turns led her to take a career break to nurture her family, made possible through the unwavering support of her father and husband. She embraced this chapter wholeheartedly, but a strong desire for personal growth simmered beneath the surface, waiting for the right moment to resurface.
Ravichandran reflects, “I cherish the years I spent nurturing my family. It was a transformative experience. However, my father’s advice a year ago rekindled my passion for learning and re-focussing on my career.”
A Determined Comeback
With determination and resolute spirit, Ravichandran decided to re-enter the corporate world. Her journey of self-discovery and skill-building took flight with a 10-week Programming With Python course from Carnegie Mellon University via Emeritus. It marked the first step in her quest for upskilling.
She shares, “I realized that learning is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s about unlocking new possibilities and embracing change. It is not easy to re-enter the workforce after a career break. So, I wanted to strengthen my profile, learn the right skills, and prepare for the tech-filled future.”
Building a Stronger Portfolio
Right after she completed the first course, she delved into a 6-month Professional Certificate in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence course at UC Berkeley Executive Education. She also immersed herself in another 6-month Applied Data Science program at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering.
These programs were not only educational experiences but also stepping stones toward expertise. Ravichandran reflects, “Becoming an applied data scientist fascinates me because it involves solving real-world problems using data. It’s like being a detective in the digital age. I completed three programs in a year, one after another. I advise first-time learners to plan their schedules and stay up-to-date with the learning material. Learning as an adult is not easy, but the effort is worthwhile!”
The weekly Try-it activities that were a part of the programs, she recalls, were a fun way to practically apply the curriculum, interact with peers, and learn from their analysis. This helped her build a strong network, and she never felt held back due to an asynchronous learning experience. She adds, “I learned much more than the core subject topics. From constructive feedback sharing to time management, there are some invaluable soft skills that I am now applying every day in the corporate world.”
Balancing Act: Work, Family, and Learning
Ravichandran valued the art of balance, skillfully juggling her career, family responsibilities, and learning commitments. This balance reflects the wisdom imparted by her parents, who encouraged her to embrace personal and professional growth while nurturing strong family bonds. Their advice became her guiding light, helping her navigate challenges and successes along her journey.
She believes, “Finding balance was my greatest challenge and my most significant achievement. It’s possible to excel in your career and be there for your family. There’s no need to sacrifice personal life for professional growth or vice versa.”
Ravichandran also shared that in pursuit of a well-rounded life, she has cultivated a diverse range of interests apart from work. This includes traveling, gardening, baking, cooking, painting, and playing outdoor games like tennis, finding joy and fulfillment in her multifaceted pursuits.
The Power of Networking
Ravichandran’s journey extended beyond the classroom into the realm of networking. She connected with like-minded individuals, nurturing relationships that would later prove invaluable for her personal and professional growth.
She shares, “Networking is not just about collecting contacts; it’s about building genuine relationships. These connections have opened doors I never imagined. I am glad I got this opportunity to bond even during an online program!”
Then, Ravichandran’s path crossed with Lynn Hazan & Associates in a twist of fate. While attending a webinar during the Applied Data Science program, she met her current employer, highlighting how learning and networking can converge to open doors to unimagined opportunities.
Ravichandran reflects on this serendipitous encounter, “It was a pivotal moment that showed me the real-world impact of my learning journey. She was the webinar host. I added her on LinkedIn and kept in touch. The rest is history! Lynn has been a wonderful employer, mentor, and well-wisher who has supported me during my most challenging moments.”
Embracing the Learning Tide as an Applied Data Scientist
With its twists and turns, Ravichandran’s journey reaffirms the belief that in a world where change is constant, resilience and the pursuit of knowledge are our steadfast companions. Completing the three programs helped her learn in-demand skills and seamlessly re-enter the workforce.
“From 1:1 meetings to constructive feedback on my capstone project, learning facilitators like Dr. Issac Artzi, Dr. Pol Cusco, and Professor Dr. Geoffrey G. Parker have been by my side throughout this learning journey. I would like to give them a special shout-out,” adds Ravichandran.
As she continues to scale new heights as an applied data scientist, Ravichandran’s story serves as a testament to the limitless possibilities that await those who dare to embark on their journey of self-discovery and reinvention. Are you inspired to sign up for an online course, too? Check out the host of programs available on Emeritus and give your career the boost it deserves.
Emeritus Careers affiliated with the Professional Certificates offers participants a complimentary and optional career development course and helps them access additional, individualized career coaching and resume referrals to employer partners. We have partnered with organizations like TTEC to connect with prospective employers. Brands looking to reach out to great talent like Madhuram Ravichandran can learn more here.
By Manasa Ramakrishnan
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