Real Humans of the Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2022
Hometown: Mumbai and Bangalore, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: NITK Surathkal, Chemical Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years in social impact, primarily strategy consulting; 1 year in consumer technology
Why business school? Why now?
It was clear that I wanted to change my career path from social impact consulting pre-MBA to product management. I wanted to use business school as the tool to enable this transition – the ‘core’ syllabus would help me acquire knowledge of building blocks of running a business (accounting, marketing, strategy, economics, etc.) and the remaining parts of the MBA (electives, clubs, on-campus centers, etc.) would help me explore the industries/ roles I was interested in.
The timing was a personal choice – I had taken the leap of switching from consulting to consumer technology to validate my aspiration of entering product management and the positive experience I had built my confidence in the timing of pursuing an MBA.
Why Michigan Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Given that I was looking to transition into a role and sector different from where I had spent most of my pre-MBA career, the factors which mattered to me were the high number of opportunities for hands-on learning, and the strength of the student and alumni community. Ross scored extremely high on both considerations.
Michigan Ross’ MAP (Multidisciplinary Action Project), student-run venture funds, and clubs provided ample hands-on learning opportunities to explore industries and roles I was interested in. I want to draw attention to MAP in particular where students spend 8-10 weeks solving a real business problem for clients where you are treated as professionals – this is as good as a second internship for MBA students.
The warm support I received from Michigan Ross students and alum during my application process already increased my confidence that Ross was the school I wanted to attend. Every student/ alumnus I spoke with had their own story of being supported by someone from the Ross community.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
It’s been only a month since the program started, so I can’t claim any significant contributions. However, I hope to share my experiences in consumer research for non-profit and commercial projects across industries with my classmates because I believe building the ability to understand the needs and desires of people you are working for/ with is invaluable in any professional setting.
Post-MBA career interests?
Product Management in the consumer technology industry – I want to learn how products and the businesses around them are built end-to-end and this is the catch-all role that would allow me to do so.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Speak to people who attended the schools and programs I am aspiring to – this is the richest source of information on the reality of attending the program; current students really lay out the good, the bad, and the ugly much better than any website, webinar, or admissions event can.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Budget 25-50% more time to complete my applications because there are so many things that can go wrong – you may want to retake GMAT, you may have difficulty writing essays, your workload may spike leaving you little time to complete applications.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have skipped giving the GMAT if I could – it’s an expensive test that doesn’t really provide much information on your suitability for an MBA program. I think taking a mock test before starting my preparation helped me become self-aware on which concepts I needed to focus on and help cut down my preparation time significantly.
What is your initial impression of Michigan Ross’s students/culture/community?
It’s generous and thoughtful – in the four weeks I’ve been here, my classmates have set up impromptu support groups for fellow students affected by recent current events (particularly around Black Lives Matter), volunteer to share notes/ resources for classmates who are ill or unable to attend class due to personal matters and start initiatives to connect with classmates who are unable to join them in person.
One thing you have learned about Michigan Ross that has surprised you?
That Ross has the States’ first student-run venture fund – the Wolverine Venture Fund – where students make sizable investments (as high as $150K) in promising enterprises.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Combating FOMO (fear of missing out) – business school provides you a wealth of amazing opportunities and it’s very easy to get swept up in the tide and follow the crowd. I’m trying to make intentional decisions on how I’m spending my time to ensure I get what I want out of the MBA experience
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Meeting people from different backgrounds and learning from them – I’m studying alongside doctors, veterans, social activists, entrepreneurs, sports talent scouts, etc. – they all bring such diverse perspectives to conversations both inside and outside the classroom and it’s a joy to engage with them!