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Gagan Bhatia

Gagan Bhatia

Founder | DataStride Solutions | Class of 2003

He did his undergraduate studies in Bombay and earned his MBA at Berkeley.

But ask Gagan Bihatia which academic stop best prepared him for a career in biopharmaceuticals, and he’ll point to the place he received his master’s.

“Although I attended multiple universities, I credit the U of I the most for shaping my career path,” Bhatia (MS ’03, systems and entrepreneurial engineering) says from the San Francisco area, where in 2017 he founded DataStrides Solutions.

“The flexibility to be able to go beyond your core curriculum and try different things was incredible — I was an engineering grad but I was able to do coursework in finance, join a consulting club at the B-school and had a chance to work with a campus-based tech startup in the Technology Entrepreneurship Center. They were all very enriching experiences.”

And on those days he wasn’t buried in grad student work?

“The Illini Union was my favorite place to hang out, pretty much from day 1,” he says. “The all-wood interiors, smell of coffee and leather cushioned chairs all made it a very relaxed place to meet people or just enjoy with coffee and class assignments.

“I also remember a chocolate café called Moonstruck, just opposite of Altgeld Hall, for their yummy treats and another space to hang out."