“The biggest takeaway from my time at Ohio State was having a growth mindset that enabled me to learn, adapt and navigate change,” explained Deepak Menon (MArch ’99, Knowlton School, MFA ‘01, Design, College of Arts and Sciences). Fast forward two decades, now a partner director at Microsoft, in Hyderabad, India, Menon credits Ohio State for changing his perception on technology and how it impacts the lives of everyone on the planet.
Menon values both the academic enrichment and the flexibility that the Ohio State curriculum offered. The various courses he took across multiple schools enabled him to interact with people who had diverse thoughts, opinions, and backgrounds. By taking an engaging comparative studies course outside of his architecture program, Deepak discovered a coach and an inspiration – Professor Brian Rotman. “I looked forward to our interactions which evolved into a mentorship and conversations about philosophy, technology, hypotheses and possibilities around culture – and these conversations changed my outlook on how technology could influence human culture and the world.” reflects Menon.
He believes that his motivation to impact lives through the avenues of technology and design grew at Ohio State. Hs master’s thesis was a cloud-based operating system which pushed him to join Microsoft in 2001. He also gained valuable experience from positions as a country head of product experience at Google, and at Myntra as the chief product and customer officer. Menon is grateful for the opportunity he has had to build products that affects the lives of billions of users – including the design and development of Microsoft Windows, Google Maps, Gmail, and Microsoft Office.
With the entrepreneurial spirit rapidly gaining ground in India, Deepak also serves as a product advisor, mentor and investor in startups which focus on software as a service, climate change, ecommerce and fintech. He sees enormous growth opportunities in the coming decade for startups and believes it will be a defining moment in India across various fields of technology.
Menon thrives on connecting and networking with people that bring unique ideas and perspectives to the table. He values the culture of thinking about the future, and innovative ideas that bring positive societal impact ignites his spirit. “Respect everyone’s thoughts and opinions, honor your colleague’s time and be accountable for your actions. These are crucial values to bring alive and manifest in your workplace,” said Menon. He considers himself privileged to have had the opportunity to build and represent a team of over 250 Product Makers at Microsoft that have enormous impact on building products that impact most of us.
Since the world is changing at such an exponential pace, Deepak’s advice for the students is to keep an open mind, have a growth mindset, absorb information (like a sponge) from every field and most of all have fun.