Spotlight: Vikram Naidu

vikramRole:  Finance Leader, Print and Digital

Hire Date:  June 2009

Fun Fact:  I love outdoor sports and played cricket and hockey. I was the captain of my University hockey team.

                                                     “there is internal mobility for your career and it’s a strong, growing company where you can make a significant impact.”

Why did you come to Chegg?

This was my first job out of school and I really wanted to work at a start-up for many reasons – the accelerated learning experience, the opportunity to work on many diverse and interesting problems and the ability to play a big role in critical business decisions. So that was really motivating to me. I started looking at different start-ups and connected with a friend who joined Chegg a few months earlier. He only had positive things to say, and I ended up being part of the family. Also Chegg was offering free manicures and pedicures, which made the decision a whole lot easier.

How many people were at the company when you started?

60! And now we’re hundreds so I’ve seen it through a lot of growth.

What was your first role?

I started out as a Business Analyst and had a lot of opportunities to improve our operations. Then I was given the responsibility of managing the entire catalog for our textbook business and now I’m the Finance Lead, doing the planning and financial analysis for the Textbook and eTextbook businesses.

What made you want to make the move into finance?

I was really interested in it after managing the catalog role a year. Start-up finance can be very interesting and I saw a lot of value being in a finance role and I talked with both managers about the possibility of transferring groups and they were both really supportive. It was awesome to be able to move internally and take the next step in my career.

How would you describe the company now, since it’s grown so much over the past four years you’ve been here?

It’s been fascinating to see the company transition from a start-up to a mature organization. The vision of the company has evolved from being just about textbooks to so much more about the student, which is really exciting. We still have a lot of the benefits of a start-up.  Unlike large companies, the organizational structure is pretty flat, so decisions get made pretty quickly around here with no bureaucracy or red tape

Is that why you stay here?

Yeah! Well, the biggest thing is the people. The people here come from diverse backgrounds and they are really smart. Our executive team is great – they’ve been really successful at other companies in Silicon Valley and I get to work with them frequently, so it’s been a tremendous learning experience for me.

What exciting thing are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on building the operational plan for our fall semester rush. That means working with different teams, making sure we’re aligned on the key metrics and goals, and that we know our plan of action.  We have a lot of new exciting products that will be going live so we’re looking forward to this upcoming fall semester.

How would you describe the finance team and culture here?

This is a not a traditional finance group  – we do finance and analytics, really deep diving into the P&L, looking at the big picture and seeing if there are ways to optimize our costs and improve our revenues. We also work very closely with the business leaders in the company, supporting them with decisions they are making day-to-day but also looking at the long-term strategies.

We also work closely with various other teams – product, marketing, supply chain, business development – and when decisions are being made, there is a consensus and finance plays a big role in all that. We have a strong voice here, with a lot of autonomy and independence and are definitely seen as a true partner with the business.

What excites you about Chegg’s future?

I think the company is in a good place right now – I would call it the Tipping Point. We have a lot of leverage and influence to make a big change in the education space. We’ve noticed digital adoption take off, seen a lot of students opting for homework help and we’re doing a great job connecting students to brands out there. So it’s a very unique company solving a very interesting problem, and I am happy to be a part of it.

Anything else?

I can relate a lot to college students looking for a place to work after graduation, since I was recently like them myself. Most students will be looking for a good place to launch their career, a company that has an exciting future ahead, and where they can learn a lot of new things. Chegg is the perfect place for all that – there is internal mobility for your career and it’s a strong, growing company where you can make a significant impact.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s