MAE Seminar: Engineering Foundation to a Non-engineering Career Path - Life Lessons Learnt as a Former UCI Student

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Amit Dhadwal, Ph.D.

CEO & Founder, Cordoba Advisory; Global Chief Development Officer & EVP, Global Chief Operating Officer, Affinity; Chief Strategy Officer, Aon Plc; Senior Advisor & COO/EVP of Digital Marketing Portfolio Firm, Catterton Partners; Associate Partner, Financial Services, McKinsey & Company; Co-founder and CEO, FlipCommerce

Abstract: Amit Dhadwal will share his thoughts on how an engineering foundation, which for him started as a UCI MAE undergraduate, helped him shape a non-engineering career path in financial services. He will describe his background and the life lessons learnt around harnessing intrinsics, proactive pursuit and adaptability to uncertainty, followed by Q&A.

Bio: Dhadwal currently is founder & CEO of Cordoba Advisory, a boutique private equity consulting firm that helps PE companies with due diligence, deal advisory and portfolio performance improvement in the financial services and digital/IT services segments. Prior to that, he was in a number of leadership roles at Aon Plc (global chief operating officer and executive vice president, chief development officer, chief strategy officer) for 12 years, where he helped grow Aon's tech-enabled global digital brokerage business from $400M in 2010 to $1.2B in 2020, through building a global team and leading transformations in sales automation, data and analytics, operations, technology, new partnerships and mergers and acquisitions. He was also a member of Aon's global executive leadership team (Aon's top 100). Prior to Aon, Dhadwal was an associate partner at McKinsey & Company, advising CXO clients in financial services, operations, technology and efficiency topics. Prior to McKinsey, he was a co-founder & COO of FlipCommerce, a mobile commerce startup at MIT.

Dhadwal earned his doctorate in operations management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he developed pricing and risk management algorithms for perishable goods such as bandwidth and power. He earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering at MIT, and conducted joint research with the Harvard Medical School in the area of emphysema drug delivery using computational fluid mechanics. 

Dhadwal is a committed UCI alumnus; he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, summa cum laude, in 1993. He continues to stay actively engaged with UCI and was inducted to the UCI Samueli School of Engineering Alumni Hall of Fame. 

He grew up in New Delhi before moving to UCI. Dhadwal is currently based in Chicago with his wife, Jen, and two children (ages 12 and 5). In his spare time, he continues to build on his passions for music/guitar, with a band at the Chicago School of Rock, and basketball.