Somnath Roy

Somnath Roy

Tell us about your degree - why did you choose it? What elements of the degree inspired you to study it?
I wanted to accelerate my career progression and expand my strategic perspective. Leeds offered an opportunity to study at a globally renowned university and immerse myself in a progressive culture known for innovation. The MBA curriculum provided a strong foundation across critical areas like operations, finance, strategy, marketing and leadership. Studying for my MBA in the UK allowed me to gain international exposure and a global mindset too.

Aspects that inspired me to study at Leeds included the range of resources offered, the reputation of the Business School, and a curriculum that had an emphasis on research and trends. The Business School is home to thought leaders across major disciplines who bring real-world experience into the classroom. It also offered access to workshops, career coaching, an alumni network, clubs and much more to augment my learning. With a long legacy of business education and a reputation for pioneering programmes, I was excited to learn from the best at Leeds. I was also drawn to the focus on emerging research, creativity, and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

What was the best part of your studies here? What did you enjoy the most?
The practical approach to learning and the hands-on experience was an integral part of the programme. It encouraged us to take on consulting projects, engage with industry partners, and work on practical case studies. These experiences allowed me to bridge the gap between academic learning and practical application. Solving real business challenges and witnessing the positive impact of our solutions gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

The opportunity to interact with a diverse group of fellow students, each with their unique backgrounds and perspectives, enriched our discussions and broadened our horizons. The exchange of ideas, debates, and teamwork during group projects was invaluable in developing not only our problem-solving skills but also our ability to work effectively in diverse, global teams.

The academic staff were knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects. Their guidance and mentorship were instrumental in shaping my understanding of business management and leadership. The interactive and engaging teaching methods employed by the school made learning enjoyable too. 

The global perspective of the programme was a highlight. The Business School’s emphasis on international business and its connections with leading institutions around the world provided me with exposure to global trends and practices. This global outlook is crucial in today's interconnected business landscape, and it broadened my perspective on various industries and markets.

To summarise, the best part of my studies was the practical and experiential approach to learning, the collaborative environment and the global perspective it offered. These elements collectively made my MBA journey enjoyable, intellectually stimulating, and highly rewarding.

What were your career aspirations when you arrived? Do you think the experience and skills you gained whilst studying at Leeds helped you in your future career plans?
When I arrived at Leeds, my career aspirations centered on transitioning from technical roles to leadership positions where I could advance cloud computing and digital transformation. The MBA was a seminal milestone in equipping me with the strategic perspective, business acumen, and leadership capabilities to succeed on that path.

My experience at Leeds helped accelerate my career plans. The academic foundation in areas like strategy, marketing, operations and organisational leadership gave me the knowledge and insight to prepare me to take on executive roles. The global vision and network I gained empowered me to make an impact at multinational companies. Skills like critical thinking, communication, and cross-cultural collaboration have been invaluable. I continue applying the insights from the Business School as a Director at Google Cloud guiding cloud adoption. The MBA built leadership, strategic, and business skills that enabled me to get to where I am today.

How has your career progressed since leaving the Business School? Have there been any notable highlights?
Since graduating I have taken on roles of increasing responsibility leading cloud consulting organisations. I started as a Senior Consultant at PwC and then got promoted to Manager - My work focussed on guiding cloud transformations for strategic customers in diverse industries. Post PwC, I joined Google and specifically in Google Cloud where I progressed through various leadership roles, including heading professional services and customer experience teams. Recently, I was promoted to Director of Consulting at Google, where I now lead a portfolio of strategic Google Cloud customers in California.

Notable highlights in my career since Leeds includes developing innovative cloud solutions and platforms at PwC that became new offerings, building and scaling Google's professional services team in San Francisco from 3 to 50+ members, and leading delivery of multi-million dollar digital transformation initiatives for major enterprises. I'm proud to have rapidly grown organizations under my leadership while also maintaining high customer satisfaction. My expanded market visibility and industry impact reflect the long-term value gained from my MBA education at Leeds.

Where are you currently working, and what is your role?
I am currently working at Google Cloud as the Director of Consulting for the San Francisco and Southern California region. In this role, I lead a consulting organisation of over 60 people that is responsible for driving cloud adoption and customer success for Google Cloud's top strategic customers in the region.

My key responsibilities include:
- Managing a portfolio of strategic Google Cloud customers based in California and overseeing all aspects of service delivery including sales, delivery, and customer lifecycle management.

- Leading engagement with CxO-level customer executives on strategic initiatives, escalations, and advancing their cloud outcomes.

- Driving business growth, strategic priorities, and financial results for the regional consulting organisation.

- Building high-performing teams and capabilities through hiring, enablement, upskilling, and process improvement.

- Providing thought leadership and technical oversight on complex customer cloud transformations and migrations.

- Representing Google Cloud's services capabilities and developing new offerings that accelerate our customers' success.

It's an extremely fulfilling role where I get to combine my passion for cloud computing, solution development, and team leadership. I'm honored to guide our customers in the region on their journeys to the cloud and help them transform their businesses with Google Cloud.

What are your ambitions for the future?
I want to continue making a significant impact in the technology and cloud computing industry, and further advance my career within Google Cloud, potentially taking on more extensive leadership roles. I am committed to driving innovation, fostering a culture of customer success, and helping organisations harness the power of cloud technologies to achieve their business objectives.

I aspire to contribute to the broader technology community by sharing my expertise and experiences, whether through mentorship, speaking engagements or thought leadership initiatives. My goal is to continue pushing the boundaries of what's possible in cloud computing and helping businesses thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Do you think your experience and skills gained here will help you in your future career plans? In what way?
My Leeds MBA experience helped me shape my future career plans in the following ways:

- Academic staff grounded me with core business knowledge in areas like finance, marketing, operations and strategy that enable me to lead at an executive level.

- The leadership coursework and project work developed critical soft skills in communication, collaboration, influencing and relationship building that are essential for my continued career progression.

- The global immersion expanded my perspectives and ability to bridge cultural differences, invaluable in an increasingly interconnected business world.

- The Leeds network connects me to alumni at top global organisations that can facilitate opportunities down the road.

- The forward-thinking curriculum and research orientation equipped me to identify emerging trends and new technologies to stay ahead of the curve.

- The critical thinking and creativity skills taught on the MBA empowers me to approach problems more innovatively.

- The interdisciplinary approach allows me to make connections between disparate ideas and disciplines.

My MBA helped me to build fundamental business knowledge, key leadership skills, and strategic vision that gave me the confidence to advance into senior leadership roles, driving change on a global scale.

How was the transition to a foreign country? Did the university offer support or services that you found helpful? Can you offer any advice?
As an international student coming to the UK from India, there was definitely an adjustment period. The University of Leeds and the Business School provided excellent support that helped my transition.

Some advice I would offer to international students studying in the UK would be:
- Attend international student orientation events - Leeds organised informational sessions that covered visas, healthcare, employment, culture and more, which helped demystify the process.

- Join university global or cultural groups - I connected with an Indian student association that became a great social network.

- Learn logistics like transportation, banking and housing - Leeds had workshops and resources to help figure out essentials like getting a bank account, finding housing and navigating the city.

- Embrace opportunities to experience UK life - I went to local events and tried new things outside my comfort zone. I’d recommend immersing yourself in life in the UK as it helps you to adapt quicker to life in a different country.

- Get support if homesick - reach out to counselors or groups on campus. The adjustment can take time, so ensure that you are patient with yourself.

- Ensure you build a diverse support network - having local and international friends provides different perspectives.

Have an open mind –  push yourself to adapt and experience all the UK has to offer. The university provides resources, but you drive the acclimation process. It may be challenging at first, but your personal growth will be immense.

What was your impression/experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the student union, the City of Leeds and the region itself? What would you recommend to future students?
I had an extremely positive impression of the school, staff, students, and overall environment at Leeds and in the region. Teaching rooms full of technology enriched our learning experience, staff were always supportive and happy to help whenever they could, connecting with students from across the globe allowed me to learn diverse perspectives and make lifelong friendships and Leeds University Union provided a central hub for activities which helped to build a university community.  The city of Leeds provided a great student experience, with lots of activities and events throughout the year, lots of things to see and visit and a rich history and culture. Yorkshire is a great county to explore historic sites and explore the natural beauty of the landscape too.

I’d recommend taking advantage of the people, places, and opportunities. Embrace it all with an open mindset. The facilities and support provide everything you need to focus on personal and professional growth and have a brilliant student experience. It is when you make those long lasting connections that it leads to lifelong impact.

What would you say is your defining memory of studying here? And would you recommend the Business School to others?
The personal growth and global perspective I gained. These include:

- The close friendships forged with classmates from around the world truly expanded my global perspective. I learned so much from their diverse viewpoints.

- Group projects building apps and starting mini ‘businesses’ gave me confidence in my abilities to deliver outcomes collaboratively.

- A guest lecture from a prominent CEO inspired me to think big and shoot for executive leadership. 

- Joining the football club and competing in a major London tournament was an amazing experience outside academia.

- The Leeds MBA transformed my strategic vision, business knowledge, communication abilities, and leadership skills, developing me professionally and personally.

I would recommend the Leeds Business School to others looking to sharpen critical business acumen while accelerating their careers within a global community. The excellent education, culture and environment equip you for future success in your career path.