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Real Humans of the Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2024

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michigan mba classKavya Davuluri, Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2024

Age: 25
Hometown: Canton, Michigan
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Wayne State University, B.S. in Psychology, Class of 2019
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 3 years in Healthcare/Medical School

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
Business school was never part of the plan — medicine was. Then, I started a social enterprise accelerator in undergrad called OptimizeWayne, based on University of Michigan’s optiMize, to make positive change in Detroit and beyond. Through a five-month program called the Social Innovation Challenge, we connected student innovators with workshops, mentors, and funding. The optimism, passion, and ingenuity that these young entrepreneurs demonstrated was addictive to be around. It brought me so much joy to facilitate their goals and picture a world where the status quo depended on one of their ideas. As I reflected on what brought me to both medicine and business, I realized that it was the mission of empowering the underestimated and overlooked to achieve their own life visions and make change in our society. I chose to attend business school to better fulfill that mission.

Why did you choose Michigan Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose Michigan Ross when I chose Michigan Medicine a few years ago. In fact, the possibility that I could apply to and attend Michigan Ross is a pivotal reason why I decided on Michigan Medicine at all! That’s how impressed I was by the opportunities that Ross offers, ranging from extracurriculars such as their many student-run venture funds to curricular highlights such as the MAP program. I found during my time in the hospital, learning to care for patients by… well, caring for patients, that learning-by-doing is inimitable. The ability that I’d have at Ross to do business from the very beginning of my MBA experience, rather than having to wait for a summer internship or a full-time job offer after graduation is going to make me a better student, peer, and businesswoman in the long term. In addition to these offerings, the community that Ross cultivates among its classes is renowned on campus. It is no secret that Ross has a collaborative, thriving, and fun culture — but through chats with current students and my future peers, it is clear that this sense of camaraderie and connection will last long beyond our tailgates and late nights of homework while in Ann Arbor. This is particularly true of the Consortium for the Graduate Study of Management crew at Ross, which I knew developed a supremely supportive cohort.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I’m the only future physician-venture capitalist in my class! My most differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024 will be to bring a focus to venture capitalism (which is not particularly common, with about 5% of students from the Class of 2023 recruiting for VC summer internships)—and more specifically, consumer-based healthcare VC. Beyond my industry foci and career goals, however, I think that my social impact roots are extremely valuable because they guide me to look at business as a tool to advance society and optimize the lives of individuals. In my view, the words “consumer” or “customer” are synonymous with the terms “patient,” as they are all people that I have a responsibility to serve and empower. While this view is one that I have seen reflected in some of my peers who were drawn to Ross’s social impact opportunities, I’m excited to pioneer the application of a social responsibility lens in the healthcare VC space, toggling between the clinical and investor perspectives that sit on either side of the table.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I learned how to ride a motorcycle this summer! 

Post-MBA career interests:
As of now, I plan on pursuing clinical practice as an OB/GYN and also being a venture capitalist focused on FemTech and consumer healthcare products. While there is a growing trend of medical school graduates who forgo residency training and focus on industry, I love connecting with patients, academic medicine, and doing surgery (especially C-sections!) too much to follow that path. The challenge then becomes: How do I balance a career as a physician and a VC? Well, I haven’t been able to find anyone who has done that yet, but that just means that there’s something for me to pioneer here! I’ve connected with a number of peers who plan to do the same, so keep an eye out for a couple of doc-VCs in a couple of decades. 

I’d love to use my medical knowledge, passion for DEI, background in social entrepreneurship, and mission of empowerment to ensure that healthcare startups are able to make a sensitive, significant, and sustainable impact on the lives of consumers/patients and the way we do healthcare globally. 

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
There were times in the application process when I worried that I focused too much on medicine. I felt like anyone reading my application responses or listening to my interview would think, “We get it! You’re in medical school!” Truth be told, I feel that same way as I write this bit of advice, too! But medicine is my passion — it’s the other side of the coin of my career that I need to meld with my MBA to make an impact the way that I feel so passionate about. It was vital for me to be my most authentic self regarding my career dreams, Ross hopes, and daily passions so that I could paint a clear picture of the value I would be to the Ross community as a student and an alum. And, my biggest piece of advice: Do not shy away from sharing what lights a fire in you and how you will combine that with your MBA to make a lasting impression on the world.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would’ve been more confident in my few business experiences. I felt very self-conscious that I hadn’t taken time off between my undergraduate schooling and medical school, nor between medical school and business school. I was concerned that my application and interview would come across as novice without enough “real” business experience. However, in retrospect, I didn’t need to take time off of school to push myself to delve into the world of business. I started a social enterprise accelerator, worked at a venture capital firm, helped manage a co-working space, and interned for a local jewelry startup all while I was a full-time, pre-med college student! None of my future peers have a background like mine — we are all unique and bring such valuable experiences to our collective cohort. I wish I’d been more proud of my accomplishments and brought that assurance to my application and interviews.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Learning how to interview like a businesswoman was challenging. There are so many frameworks that people recommend you learn to apply in interviewing dynamics, which felt extremely efficient, but not particularly authentic — especially coming from the world of medicine where compassion and kindness are quintessential. I was very appreciative of friends who were willing to do practice interviews with me to help me expand my interviewing skill set and develop my own style of answering questions that felt both efficient (as the world of business demands) but myself!

What is your initial impression of the Michigan Ross students/culture/community?
In the three years that I’ve been on campus (albeit on the medical side), I’ve been so astounded by the true collaboration and camaraderie that the Michigan Ross community embodies. No other graduate program at the University of Michigan has as much of a reputation for its culture, and I’m so excited to have been accepted to that community. Everyone is so fun, kind, enthusiastic, and brilliant! I can’t wait to work with and learn from my peers—and see where their Ross MBAs take them in the world!

What is one thing you have learned about Michigan Ross that has surprised you?
As much as the Michigan Ross student community knows how to develop a deep-rooted sense of connection and fun, they also have an incredibly impressive curriculum. I have been surprised talking to my peers and students from classes above me regarding the projects that they have been able to work on through Ross’s numerous offerings. I was actually interviewed for a reproductive health startup that an MBA student team was working on for their MAP project in Israel a few months ago! It’s delightful to see how much these students are able to not only learn, but do and impact in their time at Ross — and it is very inspiring as well!

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I’m anxious about figuring out my niche and reconciling my varied interests, ranging from venture capital to reproductive and sexual health to empowerment of marginalized communities. I think that Ross offers so many opportunities to explore each of these passions, so I am anxiously awaiting having to choose which opportunities to leverage! Ultimately, it is a good sort of anxiety that comes from having so many resources and possibilities at your fingertips!

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Joining the renowned Ross student body! I’m so excited to cultivate connections with people who will make waves in so many industries across the world — literally shaping our future! I’m honored to have been selected to join a cohort of such brilliant individuals and can’t believe that not only will we be colleagues and classmates, but will be incredible friends for the rest of our lives!

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.