“A lot of people in technology want to study programming,” said MS Information student Satvik Shukla, “I was a little different, I wanted to know what was happening in the background and how technology interacts with information.”
Shukla who spent his early years in Nagpur, India, the geographic epicenter of the country, was sent to boarding school in Hyderabad for high school. “High school was all about preparing for exams,” he said. “It was intense. Luckily I did well enough to get into the University of Pune which was highly rated.” In college Shukla discovered his passion for figuring out how to develop systems that used data to improve quality of life and decision making.
As an undergraduate, Shukla worked with teammates to develop a system to improve women’s safety. “We figured out how to use available temporal and spatial crime data to identify high risk locations and times. When women traveled from point A to B they were alerted and could take measures to protect themselves.” he said. Post graduation, Shukla deepened his experience working for Mu-Signa, a multinational company helping retail giants make business decisions using data, and Ola, a mobility company similar to Uber.
Shukla was doing well and had been offered more senior level positions, but found himself increasingly interested in studying decision science more formally. He initially thought he would study in Europe or Scandinavia but a friend suggested he check-out UW–Madison. The more he learned about the iSchool program the more he thought it was a great fit. He learned that the curriculum and career opportunities aligned with his interests.
Now that he is in Madison, he is very glad he didn’t study in Europe. Shukla has connected with Professor Ian Hutchins who is doing work on knowledge translation and different decision making strategies in biomedical research. Shukla said, “I like to keep pushing and learning. Solving complex problems. I like using the complexity of technology to harness different kinds of ideas.” He has been thrilled with the quality of the faculty and appreciates how they work with students individually to meet their interests and needs. He was also surprised by “how cool” they are.
After graduation Shukla plans to get industry experience for a few years before pursuing a PhD. Longer term he isn’t sure if he wants to work in industry or academia, though whatever it is must allow him to continue to gain knowledge and deepen his understanding of the world.