OXFORD, Miss. – Adaption ensures survival, but creativity leads to true success. University of Mississippi alumnus Arun Buduri (MSCSI ’00) is a model example of this principle.
Since graduating from UM 14 years ago, Buduri has worked for Nortel in the Dallas area. After Nortel downsized, he moved on to Microsoft in the Seattle area, where Buduri honed his expertise in technical management. Returning to his native India, he worked in various positions at Ingersoll Rand before becoming director of architecture and program management for Indix, a startup in Chennai.
“Memories from Ole Miss are still very fresh,” said Buduri, who also earned degrees from the College of Engineering Guindy and National Institute of Information Technology. “As part of my undergrad project, I had designed a wireless modem for a local company here in Chennai. When I was looking to apply for my master’s, I was looking for professors who were working on something cool in the related wireless networking field.”
Buduri remembers Googling ‘wireless networking’ and finding then-UM computer and information science chair and professor Robert Cook’s page, which detailed his work on Palm/mobile devices.
“His work sounded really cool, so I got in touch with him,” Buduri said. “He inspired me to study at Ole Miss.”
Conrad Cunningham, UM chair and professor of computer and information science, remembers Buduri.
“Arun was one of several strong and ambitious Indian students we had during that time period,” Cunningham said. “He worked for former chair Bob Cook as a graduate assistant on a research project, and I had him in classes.”
Buduri’s fondest memories of Ole Miss include the excitement of being offered a research assistantship for his master’s degree.
“I initially wasn’t offered any tuition assistance and Dr. Cook had mentioned over email that he would put me on a monthlong project as soon as I arrived,” Buduri said. “If I could prove my abilities and deliver according to his expectations, he would award me the R.A. on the merit of my skills. I ended up completing the project in a few days.”
Another memory Buduri said he will never forget is his leadership opportunity as president of the UM India Association. His interactions with the international community, as well as the ISO office, helped lay the foundation for years to come.
“The courses in my master’s degree program helped a lot in taking my skills to a new level at Nortel,” he said. “The experience I gained working with Dr. Cook in assisting with his research, along with his guidance, helped push me to a whole new level. This experience also landed me an internship at Palm Inc., at Santa Clara in the summer of 2000. Dr. Cunningham’s course on design patterns proved really practical at Nortel and gave me an edge over others.”
In addition to working at Indix, Buduri has launched his own startup: Jugaado.com, which is a blog with a vision of “experience learning” for students across the globe.
“This blog is about sharing projects, small or big, that students or faculty with students are working on either as part of their curriculum or on their own,” Buduri said.
For example, if a freshman student at UM bought an Arduino board and a few other parts and used them to made a dancing robot, he or she can share the project/code details, their learnings, challenges faced and so forth on Buduri’s blog. Another freshman student (in the same discipline or not) elsewhere in the world would be able to relate and encourage the UM student to take that extra step to learn from someone else’s experience.
“The challenge I have seen in colleges is that students don’t get enough exposure on what more they could be doing, and limit themselves to what is happening around them,” Buduri said. “The vision of this blog is to break these boundaries and experience learning from someone else in same or a similar field. I believe this provides a vast potential for both faculty and students in enriching and supplementing the coursework. It also motivates them to reach out far beyond their set limits.”
The blog isn’t limited to students in computer and information science.
“It is open to all disciplines (non-engineering included) and people with advanced degrees,” he said. “I would love to collaborate with faculty in the Ole Miss C.S. department in sharing the various projects being done along with students.”
“I’m looking forward to working closely with faculty and students everywhere, but especially those at Ole Miss,” Buduri said. “The most memorable times at Ole Miss were with my close friends who helped shape and define who I am right now.”
Computer science careers abound in the Buduri family.
“My wife recently earned her Ph.D. in computer science in face recognition from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and currently works in Boston,” he said. “My older brother is an independent consultant in the software field in the U.S.”
His hobbies include singing, cooking, photography and teaching.
“When I moved out of Ole Miss to Dallas, I started a band along with a few friends,” Buduri said. “We soon became the top band in the D-FW metro area. I (also) once cooked at entire lunch buffet for 250 people at Nortel cafeteria and really enjoyed the experience.”