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Michelle Fisher's unique journey to starting her own company

Michelle Fisher (IEOR ‘86) is the CEO and Founder of Blaze Mobile, a 10 year-old Berkeley company developing mobile commerce, health care, banking, and advertising solutions. She has successfully raised millions of dollars in private financing for Blaze and has nearly fifty patents pending. Michelle has always had an innovative spirit – she sent a company her first product sketch when she was just 10 years old – and brought her entrepreneurial mindset to large companies before launching her own successful startup.


Asmita Karandikar

I graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in IEOR in 2008. After deciding to continue studying the field, I pursued a MS at Stanford University and graduated in June 2009. My coursework at Berkeley sparked my interest in Decision and Risk Analysis, the field I concentrated in while at Stanford. While in school, I had the opportunity to complete two internships which required me to use skills gained from my IEOR classes at Finelite, I determined process enhancements in order to increase productivity and reduce material waste.

Ryan Panchadsaram

B.S. IEOR 2007
Currently: U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer at The White House

What was your first job ever?
I picked up coding and designing pretty early on thanks to my Dad. I remember building small web and multimedia projects for people who were willing to pay a middle schooler..

What did you do after graduation?
After college I joined Microsoft as a Program Manager. I spent my time there on two teams: the Online Services Division then the Office for Mac team.

Nirmal Govind

M.S. IEOR ‘99
Currently: Director of Streaming Science & Algorithms at Netflix

What did you do after graduation?
After graduation, I worked on the Competitive Semiconductor Manufacturing program at Berkeley, did a part-time stint at IBM’s semiconductor manufacturing facility (fab) in New York while finishing up my PhD at Penn State, then moved to Arizona to work at Intel, optimizing Intel’s fab operations. I then moved back to the bay area and worked at a healthcare startup in the valley before joining Netflix.

Gordon Rios

What was your first job ever?
Math tutor, MESA (, at Albany High School.

What did you do after graduation?
After graduating from IEOR I returned to full time work at Inktomi Corp. (one of the early search engine companies) which was founded by Prof. Eric Brewer from UCB.


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