Sep 22, 2021
Inside Tanium: From Tanium’s First Intern To a Career Solving Customers’ IT and Security Challenges
Behind every Tanium success story is a technical account manager making sure the job gets done. Here’s how Zach Nandapurkar solves challenges for customers.By Leanna Chraghchian, Content Marketing, Tanium
At Tanium, our technical account managers, or TAMs, serve as the linchpin of every customer engagement. They have a wide range of responsibilities focused on helping our customers achieve the maximum value of the Tanium platform to secure and streamline their business operations.
Zach Nandapurkar is part of Tanium’s TAM organization that helps our customers solve some of the most challenging IT and security issues.
Zach grew up in Chicago and attended Whitney Young High School, one of the most diverse high schools in America. After graduating from high school in 2014, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California (USC) due to his interest in USC’s computer science and business program — and trading in his snow boots for flip flops looked enticing after watching the “many TV shows that featured going to school in California.”
Zach learned about Tanium in college and became one of the company’s first interns. Today, he helps manage the intern program. We trace back to the very beginning of Zach’s Tanium story.
Did you always know what career path you wanted to pursue?
Zachary Nandapurkar: I didn’t know what I wanted to do with computer science and business after USC. I just knew I wanted something that was a bit more business and consulting-focused as opposed to software development. I loved the idea of working directly with consumers and helping them use existing technology to solve business challenges. I also became fascinated with understanding different companies’ business strategies and what makes them operationally efficient.
So how did you make your way to Tanium?
Zachary Nandapurkar: I played lacrosse at USC, and was introduced to Tanium by my teammate’s dad, who was familiar with the company. I spoke about my interests in cybersecurity and consulting, and he thought that Tanium might be a good fit.
I met with Charles Ross, Tanium’s Vice President of Technical Account Management at the time and current Chief Customer Officer. Charles took time out of his busy day to answer questions from a kid who wanted to intern. Luckily, Tanium had an interest in starting an internship program at the time, and I became one of Tanium’s first interns in 2017.
Were there any memorable projects you worked on as an intern?
Zachary Nandapurkar: One project involved creating an extremely rapid deployment of Tanium that included packaged hardware, software and a business plan for quick execution. So if an organization found itself in a potential breach situation, someone would take this server to that location, and implement Tanium to help that organization regain visibility and control across its environment. I also worked on creating sensors to gather information from endpoints.
Could you tell us about your typical day at Tanium?
Zachary Nandapurkar: Every day is a new adventure. One day could be seven hours of customer support calls, another could be an important demo in front of government officials. If I happen to have a day that’s lighter on the meeting side, I catch up on learning — we’re always learning here as TAMs. Every day presents itself with a unique customer challenge.
Many TAMs often take on responsibilities that aren’t necessarily in the job description as well. For me, that responsibility is managing the TAM internship program from a strategic goals perspective.
You’re a TAM now, a long way from where you began. Did anyone specific help you on your journey?
Zachary Nandapurkar: Nate Oyler, regional vice president of technical account management at Tanium, was my first mentor. He was able to take complicated concepts and break them down for me, making sure I had the opportunity to be successful. I put in the work, but it was extremely helpful to have a guide.
Shahzad Chowdry, regional vice president of technical account management, was another mentor of mine. Hiring somebody out of college was new for Tanium, and not everyone thought it was possible because experience pays off in this field. Shahzad gave me actionable goals that I could work toward to absorb and understand the fundamentals of the Tanium platform.
Both Shahzad and Nate took a lot of time out of their schedules to help me get to a point where my work was generating quantifiable value for our customers. I have a lot of appreciation for that.
Has your position evolved through Tanium’s growth?
Zachary Nandapurkar: The role of the TAM has changed a lot as we focus with different weights on presales, post-sales support, and research and development (R&D). Now my role focuses on working with state and local government customers across the U.S. This provides me the unique opportunity to get involved with the government and understand how policy affects technology. Aside from our customers, TAMs also have a responsibility to be subject matter experts in a particular product. My product happens to be a new and innovative IT Service Center solution we are building jointly with Salesforce.
Can you tell me about a specific project you’re proud of?
Zachary Nandapurkar: I was given the opportunity to work with a state government entity that had team members that were only a few years out of college, just like me. They found tremendous success learning from Tanium’s best practices and won an award at our 2020 Tanium Converge Conference! Being able to grow our careers together by developing unique solutions that leveraged the Tanium platform made me feel like I was a part of their team. I took tremendous pride in that.
Tell us what it’s like to work in the world of TAMs at Tanium.
Zachary Nandapurkar: The entire TAM organization fosters the most collaborative, helpful and friendly environment I’ve ever been a part of. People are here to build you up, and you’re here to build them up. Everyone is actually doing that.
I always feel like the entire TAM team is behind me when I’m going into an important engagement, and vice versa. It’s a big pool of knowledge. We all get to dip in when we need to and everyone is there for each other, so I couldn’t be happier with that aspect of it.
Last, with Tanium’s hybrid, flexible work model, what are you most excited about?
Zachary Nandapurkar: I’m excited for us to come back to the office, but after investing in a good home office setup, I’m comfortable at home too. It’s fantastic to have both options! Tanium has allowed us to schedule when to come in and be around other employees safely. Seeing each other face to face, with both customers and TAMs, strengthens the bond within work, so I’m super excited to return to in-person customer visits soon.
“Inside Tanium” is part of a series that highlights the people and culture of Tanium. To learn more about Tanium and explore our range of career opportunities, visit our Tanium Careers page.