Class of ’24

Meet Patel headshot
Photo by Keith B. Bratcher

Project Manager, VTC NC LLC

BEFORE MEET PATEL, GABELLI ’24, enrolled in the Full-time M.B.A. program at the Gabelli School, he served as the general manager at his family’s real estate development company in Gandhinagar, India. Now he’s joining the family’s new firm in North Carolina as a project manager, prepared to apply his education in marketing to build the company’s brand and grow its client base in commercial real estate.

“I thought I should get proper professional experience and a business school education,” Patel said, adding that he gained even more than he imagined when he began his M.B.A. experience. “I learned how to work as a member of a team, and I would have to participate and present in a class. This was very new to me. I was put into situations that I would not normally be exposed to, and [that] has boosted my confidence. I learned about everything in such a structured and precise manner, exactly how it should be.”

Patel earned his undergraduate degree in geology at the M.G. Science Institute at Gujarat University, a typical field that interested him and would prepare him to join the civil services in India. However, after working at Shree Umiya Developers, the company his father established, his vision for his future changed. Serving as general manager, Patel assisted in the completion of a luxury bungalow project and, when each of the 21 properties sold, he knew the experience was the first step toward his new career journey.

Patel noted a few M.B.A. courses that are particularly relevant to his next chapter. Strategic Branding not only focused on “how to build a brand, but how to differentiate it,” valuable skills he will use to grow the real estate development business. In Marketing with Cultural Intelligence, Patel discovered how different modes of marketing appeal to different cultures. This enlightenment came from learning specific practices that cater to Indian consumers and clients, which inspired him to reflect upon his own culture from a marketing perspective.

“When I would visit Indian grocery stores, I would just go as a consumer, and I would not think why this item is placed here, and how it is different from the American way,” he explained. “After this class, my understanding of marketing within my cultural context deepened.”

Patel took advantage of many opportunities to build his leadership skills as an M.B.A. student. As the president of the Student Advisory Council, he and his team worked to enhance the student experience and campus culture by coordinating events, balancing budgets, and serving as a liaison between students and the School’s administrators.

An accomplished equestrian who enjoys adventure sports and the outdoors, Patel looks forward to life in North Carolina and to his new role that will keep him connected to family and friends from India.

“I am lucky to have my own family business here,” he said, adding that while he is excited for the next chapter in his career, he will miss the home he found at the Gabelli School of Business. “For one and a half years, I’ve been used to the Gabelli School way of living, meeting people, studying, attending events, and everything else. I will miss that when I [leave] for North Carolina.”

— Gabrielle Simonson