Real Humans of MBA Students: Minnesota Carlson MBA Class of 2023
Hometown: Pune, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Pune, India, Mechanical Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 6 years in the automotive industry as a design engineer
Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
Since 2018, I have been working at the Honda Performance Development as a design engineer. I was a member of the design team that developed the 2020 Indy500 race-winning engine. This was an extremely challenging yet rewarding experience. I participated in regular strategic discussions in the design team, worked with a cross-functional team, negotiated with suppliers, and handled multiple projects simultaneously. My previous work experience in Cummins and Hitachi Automotive exposed me to the manufacturing and energy industry. However, working in a fast-paced racing industry reshaped my interest in strategic leadership roles. I aspire to be a leader in the manufacturing or energy sector, undergoing a rapid and challenging transition towards stringent sustainability targets, emerging government policies, digitalization, and changing consumer behavior. Hence, I chose to pursue an MBA education that will help me enhance my business acumen, sharpen my strategic thinking skills, and expand my market knowledge in addition to my existing engineering abilities.
Why did you choose Minnesota Carlson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The Carlson School of Management’s academic reputation and extensive network is impressive. Carlson maintains strong relationships with many Fortune 500 companies in the Twin Cities area. A small cohort size at Carlson was also important to me since I was looking for a more personalized experience explicitly tailored towards my needs, strengths, and limitations. I had heard excellent feedback about Carlson’s enterprise program and individual career guidance by the business center.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
My experience as an engineer in a fast-paced and highly competitive racing industry has taught me to utilize time and resources to find an optimum solution. Being a woman leader and first-generation immigrant, I have a different perspective. I learned how to drive, assert, inspire, and empathize with accomplishing a goal. I believe my leadership skills will help in various activities on campus, including the student club events.
Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I love building LEGO models. My husband gifted me 1969 pieces (yes, the moon-landing year!) LEGO model of a NASA Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket last Christmas, and I built it in less than 5 hours!
Post-MBA career interests:
Consulting or corporate strategy role in the manufacturing or energy industry
Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Self-reflection. I remember thinking about the path I have taken in the past, starting from a very young age. At times, it was challenging and emotionally difficult, but it also helped me become more self-aware.
–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Writing the MBA essays with enough time to revise. I would undoubtedly write the first draft of my essays earlier and spend more time reviewing and editing!
–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Nothing comes to my mind. I enjoyed talking to Carlson’s current students, alumni, learning about different opportunities, and understanding where I can be a good fit. These interactions helped me better writing the essay and preparing for the admission interviews.
What is your initial impression of the Minnesota Carlson students/culture/community?
I can proudly say that Carlson’s student community is energetic, innovative, and true to the saying of ‘Business as a force for good.’ We have various active student clubs such as Energy Club, Graduate Volunteer Consulting Club, and Carlson 4 Community Club directly working on projects to help local communities and small businesses.
What is one thing you have learned about Minnesota Carlson that has surprised you?
I am pleasantly surprised and reassured to see the importance of students’ wellbeing by the MBA student affairs team, faculty, and the university. Our Health and Wellness Club organizes Yoga sessions every Friday morning, and the student affairs team has planned multiple meditation sessions throughout the semester for interested students. Considering the pandemic’s toll on everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing, I am happy to see the resources available to all of us to be our best version.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
I was working from home when I applied to Carlson. Thus, virtual interactions with the admission committee or Carlson alumni did not feel very different. However, I would have loved to visit the campus in person to help me in the final decision-making phase. The admission committee at Carlson did a fantastic job satisfactorily answering all my questions.
What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Going back to be a full-time student after six years of working in the industry and balancing time between schoolwork and family.
What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am looking forward to being on the student club boards and working with the fantastic team of 2Y students! I am also excited to learn business fundamentals through courses such as economics, finance, and strategy.