In many ways, brothers Nakul and Nishul Juneja live up to the identical twin stereotype.
They wear similar rectangular glasses and often finish each other’s sentences. They completed the same undergraduate program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, then both went on to work at the Hershey Company’s corporate office as analysts. Now, they've checked off another major milestone together: graduating with master's of business administration degrees from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.
While the Juneja brothers have a lot in common, they have strived to express their individuality. In their classes, they learned about a similar problem in the world of marketing: when an almost identical brand exists in the market, how do you set your own apart?
“People assume we have the same outlook on everything, but it’s very different at times,” Nishul says. “It was our experience at Rotman which helped us understand how to identify and leverage our personal strengths.”
The brothers planned to set off on different paths after graduation. Nakul was set to join the consulting firm McKinsey & Company as an associate, while Nishul was due to become a senior product manager on Amazon’s advertising team. Although they moved in lockstep at Rotman – taking nearly all the same courses, joining the same clubs and both interning at Amazon – they were also able to discover what made each of them unique.
Spending time with Nakul, it becomes obvious he loves experiencing new things, although he's more introverted than his brother.
While Nakul had never worked in consulting before, it was one of his long-held goals to give it a try. During the MBA program, Nakul learned his strengths lie in strategy and international management. One of the highlights of his time at Rotman was participating in a mental health case competition with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Rotman Management Consulting Association.
“I found an appreciation for consulting work across different sectors and discovered the impact I can have on people and organizations through my work,” he says.
Like his brother, Nakul also considered joining Amazon full-time after graduation. During his internship following his first year in the MBA program, he helped build an internal software product designed to track employee engagement. While he loved the stimulating environment there, he decided to pursue his goal of working in consulting.
“I’m excited for this new chapter in my career,” Nakul says. “McKinsey works with global companies on complex issues where I can really apply the learnings and frameworks from class, from negotiation to international business.”
Nishul also thrived during an internship at Amazon and accepted an offer to return there after graduation. He saw that the opportunities in the company aligned with his own long-term career goal: to manage diverse teams, and ultimately become a leader at a global company.
“Amazon is probably the most customer-obsessed company in the world, and it meshes well with my desire to become a customer-obsessed manager,” Nishul says.
Nishul pursued an executive position in the Rotman Marketing Association, where he served as the vice-president of industry relations and finance. When a series of case competitions didn't go the brothers' way, Nishul and Nakul promised themselves that they would step up their game.
“We signed up as a two-person team for the Brewery Case Competition, hosted by the Rotman Beer Association, where you partner with a local brewery and try to fix a business problem for them,” says Nishul. “We were with Lost Craft Brewery, and we spent three days working on their business problem... and trying a bunch of their products.”
Facing stiff competition, the brothers still managed to snag third place.
“Everyone wants to do everything. There are a hundred different things to try during an MBA program and it really is like drinking from a firehose,” says Nishul. “I tried to find the two or three things that really mattered to me.”
Nakul and Nishul say they learned many things at Rotman, including strict time management and sharp negotiation skills that will serve them well in their careers.
Nishul, who started the program with his brother in the fall of 2020 as the world adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic, said going to school at such an unusual time was a “life-changing” experience.
“We’re now entering a world where everything has changed, and we have the right skillset to succeed in this new world,” he adds. “In business, we’re seeing new regulations and a big push towards e-commerce and international trade – all these things which we learned in-depth at Rotman.”
For Nakul, it's the warm and welcoming community he found in Toronto and at Rotman that made an impact on him as an international student.
“It’s the most familiar [and] unfamiliar place you’ll ever see. Your classmates are there for you. The school is there for you,” he says. “It might take some time to get used to things, especially for folks who are more reserved, but once you’re here, you’ll see that there are opportunities for everyone.”
Nakul and Nishul are now poised to embrace the world separately, together.
“We came to Rotman wanting to pivot our careers and meet interesting people, and we’re leaving with so much more than that,” Nakul says. “We now have the knowledge and experience to help us succeed in an ever-changing world.”
“Getting a refreshing perspective on the world, working with students and professors from diverse backgrounds – it makes you see the world differently than before,” adds Nishul.
“It changes the way you see problems, the way you behave and ultimately, who you are.”