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Real Humans of Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class of 2023

kellogg mba class of 2023

Shobhit Gupta, Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class of 2023

Age: 29
Hometown: Lucknow, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) in Instrumentation Engineering
Pre-MBA: Management Consultant, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
Work Experience (years, industry): 6 years in consulting

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I had been thinking about the decision to go to business school for the longest time. After an engineering undergraduate program, I realized that while I had been exposed to opportunities that shaped my critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, my business knowledge was limited to what I had learned via my engagements at BCG. The idea of returning to school was daunting, but the need to take a step back to introspect and focus on long-term goals while being in the vicinity of an incredibly talented community made business school an important step in my journey. Learning about my own self and diversifying my repertoire – in terms of communication, leadership, and managerial styles – have been an important part of my decision-making process. At the end of it, despite all the logic I outlined, the only question that mattered was – Would I regret not doing it? It was an easy yes.

Why did you choose Kellogg? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I had been fortunate enough to be a part of an incredible firm, which had a strong emphasis on people and culture. As I thought through where I would like to spend my time in graduate school, I was looking for a strong parallel between BCG and the school’s culture. In that, I realized Kellogg was a great fit. I know that I speak for my entire class when I say this, but Kellogg, at the heart of it, is a community-oriented school. You would realize it from the very first conversations here, be it with the admissions team, students, alumni, or the professors. The spirit of belongingness I felt with the community during my interactions, coupled with a strong sense of collaboration and interpersonal dynamics, all the while holding on to one’s humility – drew me most towards Kellogg. In addition to this, the fact that you don’t need to choose a major at Kellogg allows you a lot of freedom to chart your own academic path, which means you can take the classes you want, not the ones you need.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
I consider myself to be a seasoned generalist with a lot of curiosity and affinity for people. I like connecting people to each other, to opportunities and paths they might not have been exposed to before, to broaden our collective perspectives. During the days leading to Kellogg, I promised myself that I would use my time in graduate school to invest in relationships and bring a lot of myself to every engagement. I decided to leverage my experiences and perspectives to actively try to have a pulse on how I can contribute. To that effect, I joined Kellogg’s student administration to represent the voice of my peers and help make a difference. 

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I love open waters and scuba diving – 10+ dives and counting across 4 continents.

Post-MBA career interests:
Return to consulting and then pivot to a growth-focused role for a small/medium sized organization.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Start early! I know you’ve probably heard this before, but I cannot emphasize it enough. Take the time to connect with people, understand the school’s “vibe” and think through the match. Business school is a big commitment, and it is important that there is a personality match between who you are and where you want to spend your time. On the applications, be bold while being authentic – it is not only admired, but it gives the school a true feel of who you are.

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Get more people involved in my application. Business school application is an intense process and just like any project – it is important to have a set of stakeholders (mentors/peers) as well as deadlines, which you can hold yourself accountable to. I spent a lot of time self-analyzing my past life. I think it would have been more efficient to ask people around me – family, friends, coworkers – for genuine feedback about what makes me different from others.

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
People have differing opinions on this one and I understand the merit of it, but it would have been nice to skip the video essay.

What is your initial impression of Kellogg’s students/culture/community?
Incredible! It has been a few weeks here, but the place and the people make you feel that you have been here for a long time. While I could go on and on about my impression of the amazing community that Kellogg is, one thing that really stands out to me is how easy it is to connect with people. By this point, I have had innumerable conversations with people that started with a casual hello and took a path of its own. Above all, the camaraderie of the 1Y cohort of goes beyond words – it is a family that makes Kellogg home!

What is one thing you have learned about Kellogg that has surprised you?
Diversity of talent that you see around yourself every day! It is a humbling experience to be around folks that have such varying experiences you can draw into – teachers, athletes, doctors, ex-military, entrepreneurs … and the list goes on. For someone who comes from a background where academics is equated to simply gaining knowledge from books, the amount you learn just by sharing perspectives and connecting with people has been a pleasant surprise. 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
I had to delay my application by a year. This period really made me think why (and if) I wanted an MBA. The whole idea of returning to school after so many years was daunting anyway, and adding an extra delay year further complicated things in my head. However, I’m glad I took the plunge as in hindsight, I’d have really regretted it otherwise!

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Time management! There is a lot happening around you (all the time!) from clubs, social events, academics, sports, and such – the key is to actively prioritize and avoid things that don’t get you excited enough. Simply “going with the flow” may not be such a great idea with the diversity of activities around you. I guess B-school does a good job at teaching the science (or art?) of trade-offs in decision making.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Just about everything! There is so much to do and learn that superlatives don’t do justice here. If I had to choose a couple, it would be forming meaningful relationships with peers and learning from their diverse experiences. To that effect, a big part of it is travel and networking. For example, a large portion of the incoming Kellogg class went to an annual trip, KWEST, last month. During KWEST, students have the opportunity to interact closely as a team and plant the seeds for meaningful connections. Looking forward to more such experiences in the time to come!

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2023, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: Northwestern / Kellogg

About the Author

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.

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