For this family, working together is icing on the cake

The Ranjanes.

For Vishal and Sonali Ranjane (MBA ’98 and ’03, respectively), working at Rich Products is a family affair.

Vishal is a business process consultant for the Business Process Services (BPS) group, an offshoot of Information Services. Sonali is an associate marketing manager for new product development in Rich’s Toppings & Icings group. The couple rides to work together on most days, unless either is traveling for the company. Cheering them on from the back seat is their three-year-old son, Siddhant, who attends day care at Rich’s.

The seeds for this family-friendly arrangement were planted when Sonali joined Rich’s in January 2005. At the time, Vishal was working as a senior manager in the management consulting division of Wipro Technologies. However, a year of listening to Sonali rave about her new job at Rich’s prompted Vishal to seek an opportunity there, as well. The result was a position he feels is tailor-made for him.

“This job allows me to do what I like, which is consulting, but I don’t have to travel all the time,” Vishal explains. “It’s a great work-life balance, and I value that a lot.”
Sonali says that from the get-go she felt comfortable at Rich’s because of the many University at Buffalo School of Management alumni who work there. “They were very helpful during my job search and then after I joined the company,” she says. “They were, and still are, a great resource.”

Vishal agrees that the strong School of Management alumni network present in local companies is a great support system. He also credits the school’s Career Resource Center (CRC) with opening doors he otherwise may not have been able to walk through after earning his MBA.

“The CRC was instrumental in getting me my first consulting position, which was at Arthur Andersen’s Business Consulting Group in Rochester,” he says. “For example, the CRC helped the company understand what it takes to hire an international student.”

Vishal and Sonali are originally from Bombay, India. Vishal was drawn to the School of Management because of its “value for the money,” he says, but when he enrolled for his MBA in 1996, one of the aspects of the school that he enjoyed the most was the diversity of the classes. “As a foreign national, that was important to me.”

Another aspect that both Vishal and Sonali feel was hugely beneficial was the connection that the faculty and staff have with local companies. “The marketing faculty are quite in tune with what is going on in industry,” Sonali says. “Because of that, I felt I was well prepared for a career in business; I was confident that the minute I stepped out, I would be able to apply the principles I’d learned to my job.”

“The relationship that the school has with local companies is really good,” Vishal says. “Today, I’m involved with the school as an alumnus—by speaking at business club meetings and participating in Realistic Job Previews—because I know that talking with alumni helps students appreciate and know what’s happening in the real world of business.”

For the smallest member of the Ranjane family, the “world of business” is simply a place he rides to each morning with his parents—a place where life is sweet.

Written by Cindy Hennessey