Much has happened since Sountheriya Kalimuthu graduated with her MS in Engineering Management in December 2012. After a month-long vacation in California, Kalimuthu joined Nationwide Insurance as a process improvement specialist, a position she secured after completing an eight-month co-op there. Her responsibilities include business process analysis and design; recommendation and facilitation of quality efforts; short- and long-term business transformation planning; cost/benefit analysis; and identification, assessment, and mitigation of business risks.

Currently, Kalimuthu is involved in a process improvement project for Nationwide Direct with the goal to reduce waste, limit response time, and long-term support costs. Courses in project management, lean principles, operations research, and economic decision-making helped prepare Kalimuthu for her position, providing knowledge that has supported her in developing the skills she needs to succeed.

As the youngest member of her team, Kalimuthu has been challenged to work with people who have many years of work experience in the field. During her co-op, Kalimuthu’s co-workers and manager helped her learn how to respond to the corporate demands and pressures, and how to satisfy her responsibilities and finish projects on time. "Every day has been a new learning experience, because this job requires staying up-to-date with all the recent technologies and strategies. I consider this a great opportunity, as I not only get to use my skills but also gain more knowledge from my experienced co-workers," Kalimuthu says. "I would say this growth and learning curve was one of the most satisfying elements of my co-op experience. This co-op instilled in me the confidence that I would be an asset to any enterprise. I could not have asked for a better start to my career."