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Real Humans of the MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2023

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Ragini Bhattacharya, MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2023

Age: 26
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Bioengineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years, Healthcare, Sports Footwear & Apparel

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
My corporate and nonprofit roles have shown me the power of emerging technologies and new business models to democratize health and wellness. I’ve been fortunate to see this space through multiple lenses: from a biotechnology company undergoing operational digital transformation to digital health projects focused on accessibility to new players, like Nike, expanding into digital services for mental wellness and women’s health. To ultimately lead an organization’s strategy to enter this space, I sought out an MBA to gain a foundation in strategic decision-making within a rapidly changing health and technology landscape. With prevention, access, inequity, globalization, and AI top of mind in this space, I see the cross-disciplinary perspectives an MBA offers as essential.

Why did you choose MIT Sloan? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose MIT Sloan for its global reach and strengths in innovation and social impact. As I looked to broaden my global business experience, I was drawn to the number of action learning courses Sloan offered focused on different regions. I knew these entrepreneurial and global projects along with a strong international alumni and research network would provide invaluable exposure to the environments I wanted to work in. In addition, MIT’s culture of innovation is unmatched. Besides the cutting-edge inventions from biology to electrical engineering, it’s the whole approach to innovation that excites me, from MIT Solve’s global social impact challenges to cultural dialogue around equity in technology design.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
My experience connecting across industries and sectors. At the intersection of health, technology, and social impact, I’ve bridged two seemingly unrelated industries, Healthcare and Sports Footwear & Apparel. Similarly, my past nonprofit roles in health advocacy, emergency shelter, and conservation have shown me new business models and creative approaches that I hope to build on with my peers.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I recently picked up a crossword puzzle habit

Post-MBA career interests:
Digital Health, Global Health, Innovation Strategy

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Taking time to reflect. I heard that advice early on during the application process and it really benefited me. I was able to draw connections from my personal interests and professional experiences and transform them into meaningful goals. I often look to those insights as I start my MBA journey.

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Especially since all the prospective applicants programming was remote, I relied a lot on introductory Zoom sessions each school put on. Though those were helpful, I wish I spent more time connecting with students and alumni. There’s so much to learn from different people on their reasons for school and their approach to their professional goals. I would encourage you to go beyond people with your specific industry interests as when you’re here, those might change!

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Like others, studying for the GMAT was challenging to balance with full-time work. For me, studying and taking the GMAT within a few months prevented burn out and allowed me to fully invest in getting to know more about different schools and putting together my application essays.

What is your initial impression of the MIT Sloan students/culture/community?
People are incredibly passionate and curious. Regardless of impressive professional accomplishments or personal hobbies, every student I’ve met still seems to want to learn and explore more.

What is one thing you have learned about MIT Sloan that has surprised you?
How collaborative it is. The collaborative culture is apparent among the people and the program structure itself. Every class has some type of team component where you are constantly learning, brainstorming, and building with people from a variety of different expertises and backgrounds.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
It was during lockdown when I decided to apply. COVID gave me the opportunity to reflect, and I became motivated to pursue a skill set for a larger, more impactful role. Recent times also reinforced the intersection of socioeconomic, racial, and healthcare inequalities and pushed me to reassess my professional goals discussed in my application.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.