“What are you going to do when you grow up?” We’ve all been asked this question, and now we’re all grown up, so what’s your answer? Some of you may know exactly what lies ahead, but a majority of college students don’t. Meet Harish Srinimukesh, a graduate of Tech’s Class of 2014, former editor-in-chief of The Pioneer, and currently a Research & Development (R&D) engineer for Edwards Lifesciences’ Transcatheter Mitral and Tricuspid Therapies division. After spending most of his undergraduate experience searching for a path that would bring him happiness, he finally figured it out. As an engineer designing for heart failure therapy solutions, Harish has been through a lot to get to where he is now.Coming to Georgia Tech as a biomedical engineering (BME) major, Harish says,
This urge to work in the cardiovascular space led Harish to join Dr. Ajit Yoganathan’s Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics (CFM) Lab, where he worked on Fontan surgeryin vitro flow loops and the efficacy of current surgical solutions under different exercise conditions. This passion led him to intern at Cordis, where he furthered his exposure to the industry working on peripheral vascular self-expandable stents.
During this time, he also explored medical school, staying involved with the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and gaining exposure to the medical space through courses like Dr. Ackerman’s Clinical Observation Design Experience (CODE) course. With this also came the MCAT, the dreaded 6-and-a-half-hour-long test required for every applicant to medical school. After months of studying, sitting in front of the exam, he realized something: “As I was looking at the MCAT questions, I decided, ‘this stuff isn’t for me’. At that moment, I voided my test, went back to my internship at Cordis, and told my parents I wasn’t going to pursue medical school.”
Harish was lost. What did he really want to do after graduation? From this point on, Harish went through numerous academic changes in a short period of time. He pursued a minor in computer science, but came to find that he didn’t enjoy coding. Then pursuing a minor in biology, Harish realized nothing quite piqued his interest above his work in industry working on cardiovascular medical devices. These varied explorations of interests involved Harish taking several semesters of 18+ credit hours. “Overall, it was way more exhausting than it needed to be,” said Harish as he laughed.
Though Harish changed his desired field numerous times, his love for the cardiovascular space was undying. Upon graduating from Tech, Harish joined Edwards Lifesciences, “A global company, with a presence in approximately 100 countries and approximately 8,500 employees around the world” according to their website.
Harish started out as a Manufacturing Engineer at their Utah facility close to Salt Lake City, implementing process improvements and supporting multiple production lines for about two years. As of July 2016, Harish lives in Irvine, California, doing what he loves as a R&D engineer working on Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement solutions.
Harish’s story is fascinating, and he’s learned a lot about how to successfully navigate the undergraduate path. “Definitely figure out what you want to do […] You’re an undergraduate, and you have an insane amount of resources available to you that you will rarely have again once you get out. If you’re going to explore your career options, this is the time to do it.” In addition, Harish makes a great point about the academic intensity of GT: “The intensity of the GT program was high and very stressful, but you kind of have to learn to ‘work hard, play hard’. Working in industry seems a lot easier to chew after the rigor of the BME program at GT.”
Harish added to his words of wisdom with some tips on how to secure internships and co-ops like he did as an undergraduate student: “Internships and co-ops expect that you don’t have work experience yet, but someone’s got to get you that first shot. If you get involved in things like research, campus organizations, and leadership roles, it looks good because it shows the employer that you can allocate resources, handle the workload, and push to better yourself with opportunities within your reach.” In addition, Harish says not to limit yourself to a specific location or company: “You have to leave the door open for new opportunities and experiences.”
Harish Srinimukesh explored a variety of paths during his undergraduate experience at Georgia Tech, yet managed to find his passion amongst all of the opportunities. Harish summed up his thoughts with a final quote, “At the end of the day, I get to wake up in the morning loving what I do right now. Work hard. Play hard. Work harder.”
Edited by: Emily Dykstra