“I enjoy solving problems,” says Aditya “Adi” Dhandhania ’12MBA. “Everything I’ve done in my career was to solve a problem or identify a gap that others weren’t thinking about. That’s where the real opportunity is.” Dhandhania has used that problem-solving mindset to rise quickly in his career, becoming CEO of Neon Marketplaces in April 2023 at just 34 years of age. At Neon Marketplaces, a New England-based chain that launched in 2020, customers can fuel up on gas, slushies, and snacks but also upscale offerings like brick-oven pizza and electric car charges. His Bryant MBA, he says, gave him the tools for success — but that doesn’t mean it was guaranteed. He says you still have to put your newfound knowledge and skills to work.
Everything I’ve done in my career was to solve a problem or identify a gap that others weren’t thinking about.
Born and raised in Calcutta, India, Dhandhania says he was fascinated by the world of business from an early age. “I always wanted to do something unique and different,” he says, “and that brought me to America.” He earned his bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering from Johnson & Wales University in 2010, which he says helped him to pursue his “passion for building stuff.” “Engineering always fascinated me,” he says. “You get to have something tangible that you build. But I knew I wanted to get onto the business side of things because it’s creative. It leads you to think outside the box.”
Dhandhania began Bryant’s MBA program in 2010 while working full-time as a firmware engineer at the company then known as GTECH, now IGT. “Immigration laws only allow you to do certain things,” he says, “so I had no choice but to work full-time and also go to school.”
“I was quite impressed and happy with Bryant,” says Dhandhania. “I enjoyed the classes, I enjoyed the rigor, and I enjoyed the professors, some of whom I still keep in touch with.” As he gained skills and experience in his Bryant courses, he says, he transitioned to a business analyst role at GTECH, helping customers grow their own businesses.
After completing his MBA in 2012, graduating with honors, and earning recognition from the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society, Dhandhania says he put his Bryant skills to use right away. He rose rapidly in GTECH and even relocated to New Jersey for the company before moving on to a senior role with Brightstar Corporation, a subsidiary of SoftBank. He then became a vice president of Bally’s Corporation, a gaming company headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, and oversaw transformational growth in both the company’s bottom line and his own career. During this time period, he also earned an MS in Technology Leadership from Brown University and became a CFA Charterholder. He left Bally’s in 2023 as the Chief Operating Officer for the company’s North America Interactive segment, the growth unit of the company, for which he held full P&L responsibility.
As CEO of Neon Marketplace, Dhandhania says he’s excited to pursue an opportunity to build on a gap in the Rhode Island region’s market. In other regions, Dhandhania says, businesses have found success by providing service at what he terms the “convergence” of quick-serve restaurants, convenience, gas, and electric power. “Rhode Island and neighboring regions do not really have any businesses that cater to that convergence,” says Dhandhania. “If you go to the Midwest, if you go to the South, you’ll see a lot of these concepts there, but nothing in our state or our neighboring states.” He says the business feels like a startup, and he is energized by its growth potential.
Dhandhania has no predictions for what his future holds — he says his career path to date has taught him how unpredictable life can be. “If I was to look back 10 years and think about where I am now,” he says, “I wouldn’t have been able to chart this pathway. But I am always interested in seeing where life takes you.”