Amy Mirchandani, a HORIBA sales engineer, completed a circle when she went to work in the sciences.
She earned a bachelor's in chemistry with a minor in biology at the University of Connecticut.
“Originally I was going to go into teaching science,” she said. “But there weren't any jobs available at the time.”
Mirchandani instead took the entrepreneurial route. She began working on building an international sales department at a small company. And then, along with her husband, the couple started their own company, the North American headquarters for a European entity. A few years after that they opened a medical division for that company. The products included sample preparation for metals analysis in microwave-based technology.
This route was far from what Mirchandani initially planned.
“I actually went to school to be a nurse,” she said.
When Mirchandani began the curriculum, she took one semester in general chemistry and one semester of organic chemistry.
“And then a friend of mine had an accident, was in the hospital, and I fainted at the sight of blood,” she said. “So at that point I thought, well, I think I'm going to need to change my major. I had really enjoyed the chemistry. And I had always liked biology from the time that I started taking courses in middle school and high school. So I went the chemistry and biology route.”
Mirchandani remembers one teacher in particular. It was a general science class in seventh grade, and she said the teacher made the topic very interesting. Mirchandani enjoyed the coursework, and particularly the labs.
“We did some basic chemistry and biology,” she said. “We did some labs as well. I remember in biology doing the dissections. We had to dissect frogs one year. I think most of the girls in the class were really grossed out and thought it was disgusting. I thought it was fascinating.”
That helped launch her career in the sciences.
Mirchandani is the northeastern sales engineer at HORIBA Scientific. She handles Raman spectroscopy, ICP - OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectroscopy), XRF (the spectroscopy technique of analyzing fluorescent X-rays to garner information on the elemental composition of a particular material), glow discharge, and ellipsometry products.
She covers a territory that includes all of New England and New York State. The customer base is a mix of people. She was with a competitor for about seven years covering the same territory, and selling primarily to the materials science audience. Pharmaceuticals made up a large part of her sales. There were varieties of customers in the industrial sector.
“And the audience is very similar to the spectroscopy products,” she said.
About 60 percent of her business now comes from the academic arena.
“I really liked the academics area because they are doing cutting edge research,” she said. “Some of the tools are being used for undergrads as well, but they're usually in some kind of advanced curriculum. I'm just getting in and learning about the kinds of work that these professors are doing. I find it fascinating.”
Twenty-five percent of her remaining business comes from the pharmaceutical industry and 15 percent from industrial users. The industrial users can include polymers, metals and even aerospace companies.
Mirchandani grew up in Connecticut, in mostly suburban towns She currently lives in Milford, a beach community on the Long Island Sound.
“I moved there for my last job because one of my major accounts was at Yale University. We had a lot of users there, and I expect that will probably be the same for HORIBA. Milford is also a good place to jump off from. I can easily get to Boston. I can get to New York State, I can do a straight shot up to New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. It's a great territory, very drivable. Driving relaxes me. I'm not somebody who really enjoys traveling by plane.”
She lives in an apartment very close to the center of town. It's a new England-type setting with a town green and lots of shops and restaurants. Her apartment is about a mile-and-a-half walk to the beach. She does a lot of walking and loves being able to go down to the beach during the day or even in the evenings for some exercise.
“It’s a beautiful state, traffic notwithstanding,” she said.
Mirchandani probably walks five days a week, for about three miles at a time.
“I have to log my steps on my Fitbit. That's a great motivator,” she said.
Mirchandani feels that her position at HORIBA Scientific is ideal for her. Every customer has a different type of application, and she loves the science.
“To me, it's just interesting to find out what a company does or what a lab at a university does. What's happening in an industry that drives somebody to need this kind of analytical instrumentation? I'm naturally curious, and I like science, so it works well to be in a sales job for a company like HORIBA.”
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