Meet Gurmehar Sodhi (Gurmee), a Skillful alum and Sr. Manager, BizOps at Uber Direct. Gurmee pivoted from consulting into the tech industry after joining the February ‘21 Core Sprint.
To summarize Gurmee’s career path in 1 line: Bachelor's Degree in Business-> Management Consulting (2.5 years) ➡️ Deal Advisory and Value Creation with a focus on Ops (2 years) ➡️ Sr Business Operations Manager at Uber Direct, leading S&O for all of Canada.
Read on to learn more about how Gurmee thinks about his career, advice he’d give his former self and how he ultimately clinched his new role.
Why did you want to pivot industries, from consulting into tech? How has your thinking around your career path changed over time?
I wanted to focus on one product and business instead of many, which is what I was doing in consulting. I felt it would give me more autonomy and influence to make impactful decisions and leading initiatives. To me, it made perfect sense to aim for something in the tech space that would demand exponentially scaling. And helping to scale Uber Direct in Canada (I was the first hire in Canada for it!) seemed like the perfect fit.
I think towards the latter stages of my pre-tech career it was obvious to me that I wanted to switch into the tech space and help grow a business directly. Now that I’m in tech, I’m not sure of what’s next!
Why did you join Skillful? What were you hoping to get out of the Core Sprint? Did your experience match your expectations?
I joined Skillful to get the prerequisite skills to succeed in the tech space and I wanted to network with people already in tech. I definitely learned technical skills that I apply in my role currently on a daily basis. I also gained contextual problem solving and critical thinking skills that were hugely beneficial for my interview process!
The community aspect of Skillful exceeded my expectations. I didn’t think the community would be so helpful - everyone is so kind and wants to help you with questions, prepare for interviews, or just generally talk about trends in the tech space. It’s a super positive environment and includes individuals I’d be glad to have a coffee/drink with!
I continue to stay engaged in the community - I keep track of job openings where I might know the hiring manager and be able to recommend someone at Skillful for the role as everyone in our community is super ambitious and skilled.
Tell us about your mentor during the Core Sprint? What was it like to work with them and your team?
Si Jia (Product Ops @ Revolut) was my mentor and she was extremely helpful for the project and the job search process! Despite time zone differences (Si Jia is in the UK), she helped a great deal and was always ready to get on a call or answer questions. She embodies what Skillful is about!
It was great to work with my team as they had similar ambitions as myself. Everyone was helpful and equally curious about the project, which resulted in some long discussions that well-challenged our way of thinking.
Tell us about your job search to find your current role at Uber.
My job search didn’t really kick into high gear until I joined Skillful. Once I felt confident in SQL and had a chance to network with the Skillful community, I started to get a lot of interviews! In fact, I believe it was a key driver to most of my interviews. I also received tremendous help from the community for those interviews.
In my experience, interviewing at a startup or tech company won’t be vastly different from other industries like consulting or banking. You will have an intensive take-home case and you will always rely on some level of personal bias from the hiring manager (you need to be a good fit for their team!). I had many instances where I was even told my case answers were great but I unfortunately did not get the offer, so it’s important to note that sometimes it’s due to factors out of your control or so minimal that you need not stress over it.
I learned that it’s important to make a strong impression at each and every interview round. For my final rounds, I started creating 1-2 sliders of my thoughts on the company, which the leads/founders greatly appreciated. That’s an example of making an impression even past your case interview! My advice: continue putting your best foot forward and going above and beyond expectations until the very end - it’s not over until there’s an offer in hand!
How did you land your role at Uber?
I came across it on LinkedIn and then asked people at Skillful who work at Uber about Uber Direct. Once they explained it and how it reaches all verticals (not just food), I was sold on at least interviewing!
The interview process itself was pretty typical of what I experience at other tech companies: recruiter phone call, business/fit interview, case study + presentation, last round with Uber Direct’s lead.
What advice would you give to your former self at the beginning of your job search?
Networking and asking “dumb” questions is key! If you know the company you are interested in, try to find someone in that industry that can help you get more knowledgeable about the product. Don’t think it’s “dumb” to ask a very basic question - that’s how you get base knowledge. If you don’t know the product, it will show in the interview process! A great community to access this is Skillful :)
Try to figure out earlier in the interview process if this role is something you want - it’s fine to drop out after a round if you feel it’s not a fit for you. This saves yourself and the hiring manager a lot of time.
Lastly, to the extent possible, control the interview. How? Learn about the product and bring thoughtful questions to ask - this changes the interview to a conversation which is less one-way.
We believe that bonds aren’t built on transactional networking conversations. We prefer to dig a little deeper. That’s why our learning model is predicated on peer-to-peer learning & team-based projects. Let’s get to know Gurmee:
📰 Where you get your daily news:
- Literally Skillful
- LinkedIn - if you have the right network they funnel the important stuff to you!
- Tech subreddits on Reddit
🎨 What you're doing outside of work:
- Always improving my cooking skills (baking included!) - recently made some Tom Yum soup that included making the broth from scratch!
- Catching up with all my friends as things have opened up
➕ A handy shortcut
- You can right click and group your Google chrome tabs! It’s super helpful if you’re like me who has 100 tabs open. Grouping them by category disallows opening the same page/file twice!
"I'm always happy to speak with people interested in Skillful and guide them to the best of my abilities!" If you want to chat with Gurmee, reach out to him here.
*Interview has been edited for clarity & style.