Beyond K-State: Meet Anita Ranhotra, '94 BSIE and '01 MEM, of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Beyond K-State is a series that takes an inside look at the lives of successful IMSE graduates and highlights the exciting career options available within the IE field.
Meet Anita. She’s the product integrity process improvement manager for Hallmark Cards, based in Kansas City, Missouri. Anita joined the company in 2000 and is responsible for leading a team focused on large end-to-end process change initiatives. At Hallmark she gets to use her technical background and apply it to a business setting, which she claims is the beauty of an IE degree. “It’s so versatile!”
What does a day in the office look like?
I lead a team who oversees process for product safety and quality. Our goal is to help others do their job more efficiently. We do this by identifying unnecessary waste and then develop improvements to streamline the processes and improve execution.
Did you always want to be an engineer?
In high school, engineering certainly wasn’t at the top of my career list. My older brother convinced me that everyone gets a business degree. He said an IE degree would set me apart. I’m glad I listened because years later my professional accomplishments have far exceeded my expectations.
What advice would you give future IMSE graduates?
Be open-minded about what you want to do. Two summer internships exposed me to manufacturing, which is something I never thought I’d enjoy. I ended up loving it, but also learned that there are a lot of career options for IE graduates. Do your research and start networking. The relationships you build and foster early on will help you find a career that fits you best.
What is the best piece of advice you received from a mentor?
It’s important to know how other people view you, because that’s their reality. Understand this and then portray the person you want people to see.
How do you continue to stay involved at K-State?
I owe a lot of my professional success to the IE department. Faculty and peers from the program encouraged me to get involved in leadership positions where I was mentored to develop my skills. When I started college, I was shy and preferred to be in the background. The IE department helped me break out of my shell. I’ve always been grateful for their guided support and vowed early on to give back. Since then, I’ve served on the IMSE advisory committee and am currently a member of the professional academy. In addition, I sit on the board for the College of Engineering’s Multicultural Engineering Program.
Professional awards and achievements?
Since college, I’ve been involved in volunteer leadership positions with the institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). In 2010 they awarded me with the Outstanding Young Industrial Engineer of the Year. Hallmark supported me to receive this award in Cancun, Mexico! Most recently, I was recognized by K-State’s College of Engineering as a recipient of the 2014 Professional Progress award selected on behalf of the IMSE department. A true honor, indeed.
What do you do to create a work-life balance?
I run. It’s my passion and hobby. I’m currently training for my next 10K.