Real Humans of Michigan Ross’s MBA Class of 2021
Arshaq Wazeem Razack, Ross MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Cochin, Kerala, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Bachelor of Technology, Metallurgical Engineering & Material Sciences from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5 years at Flipkart.com (e-commerce company in direct competition with Amazon). I was fortunate enough to have stints in retail, supply chain, digital advertisements, and international business, which all gave me a holistic view of different functions of business.
Why business school? Why now?
I rose through the ranks at Flipkart pretty quickly. Once I became Senior Manager, I realized that in order to continue my steady growth at any company, I had to explore and develop leadership styles and skills that best suited me. I wanted to become a great leader that could manage a team of diverse individuals and bring out the best in them. I also wanted to develop a deeper and more holistic understanding of the different core functions and get a global perspective of how to run businesses. B-school would provide a setting where I could develop all these aspects, where I would be constantly interacting and engaging with like-minded, highly skilled individuals who would help me become the best version of me.
Why Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
While researching business schools, I realized that any MBA program is extremely fast-paced and rigorous. I wanted to find that school where I would feel at home and one that would constantly provide me with opportunities and challenges to improve myself.
Two factors about Ross stood out the most:
- The amount of importance that Ross gave to action-based learning was so impressive. The MAP project where you work with a company for half a semester to solve real-world business problems, the Zell Lurie funds where you manage funds, and invest in real-world start-ups, etc. were a few of the many opportunities that Ross provided students to put theory into practice. Being a strong believer of learning by doing, Ross was a perfect match for me.
- Everyone at Ross that I approached was so supportive and collaborative. Be it alumni, faculty, or the admissions office, everyone empathized with the situation I was in and was able to provide very meaningful and personal inputs to help me make better decisions. I wanted to be in an environment where everyone had each other’s backs and was working as a community to become better at each step.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I was fortunate enough to be part of Flipkart from a very early stage. We were solving problems and implementing solutions in an extremely fast-paced environment with Amazon hot on our heels. At Flipkart, I have also worked in teams across retail, supply chain, and digital ads, all of which helped me understand the business dynamics at play in India better.
I believe that this experience would help me provide valuable inputs to my class on how to think out-of-the-box and come up with solutions to unique problems and also help them to deliver results in an extremely fast-paced, high-pressure environment.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I was one of the lucky few who got a chance to stand backstage and watch Mike Portnoy (former drummer for Dream Theater) perform at IIT Bombay. Dream come true!
Post-MBA career interests?
I want to work with one of the top consultancy firms in projects where technology is being used to build sustainable business solutions. I love the impact and scale that can be achieved by companies that fully integrate with the latest innovations in technology and I want to be at the forefront driving such projects.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Research as much as you can about the school that you want to go to. I made the initial mistake of deciding on prospective schools by just going through their global ranks and post-MBA placement opportunities.
The biggest takeaways from an MBA are the relationships you build and the experiences that you have in those two years. Talk to as many current students and alumni as possible and attend as many networking events to understand why each person loved their time at b-school. You never know, it could be one experience that you hear from these sources that will give you your ‘a-ha!’ moment and help you decide on your perfect fit.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have loved to invest more time in the essay. When you go through the questions initially, it seems pretty straightforward, but when you finally sit in front of your laptop to put down your life story in 300 words, believe me—it is extremely tricky. You need to be very clear on the why, how, and what of what you want to do for the next five to 10 years of life to do justice to these essays.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The verbal section of the GMAT was quite daunting for me initially. But when you realize that improving your skills to ace this section will eventually help you communicate with people better in any organization, learning for verbal becomes a fun task. Unfortunately, the only way to get better at it is by putting in the hours until you get your basics right.
What is your initial impression of Ross’s students/culture/community?
Moving to another country is extremely overwhelming for most students and I was no exception. But the orientation program set up by Ross blew my mind. I already feel at home in this community and have loved all my interactions with my classmates. There are so many opportunities for me to explore my interests and a support system/community that I can completely relate to.
One thing you have learned about Ross that has surprised you?
Peter Faricy, ex-VP at Amazon, was one of the early members that developed the Amazon marketplace as we know it today. I am so proud to be able to say that OUR ALUMNUS has helped shape the way consumers all over the world shop today. I knew that the Ross network was strong, but after experiencing it in person, I am extremely humbled to be part of such an elite network of people.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
While I am so excited about having so many opportunities to explore in terms of activities outside of academics, I am anxious if I will get lost in the sea of opportunities. I have made it a point to talk to as many people as I can before the semester starts to ensure that I have my priorities right.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most excited about learning more about my peers at Michigan Ross. I have just interacted with them for ~15 days and it is amazing the kind of skills, backgrounds, and viewpoints that each person brings to the table. I cannot wait for class to start and hear all of them in a business setting and learn from each one of them. And of course, the amazing faculty at Ross will guide each one of us to make the best use of our classroom discussions. Also, I have been learning a lot about football! Can’t wait to go to each game and scream my throat out!