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Real Humans of Allianz: Anant Gupta, IESE MBA ’22, Senior Consultant

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In this installment of our Real Humans: Alumni series, meet Anant Gupta, whose desire for new challenges took him from banking in India to IESE in Spain and then management consulting in Germany. IESE hit all the marks in Gupta’s search for his “dream school:” the case-based curriculum, opportunities in the program to earn experience, and its prime European location. Read his story and find out how the MBA program’s structure and diversity helped him transform from a banker to a management consultant at Allianz.

Anant Gupta, IESE MBA ’22, Senior Consultant at Allianz

Age: 32
Hometown: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Christ University – Finance
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): IESE Business School, 2022
Pre-MBA Work Experience (title, company, years, industry): 7 years across Finance and Investment Banking
Post-MBA Work Experience (title, company, years, industry): 1.5 years, Management Consulting

Why did you choose to attend business school?
Having spent a fair bit of my career within banking and being mostly concentrated in the Indian market, I was eager to expose myself to newer challenges – both in terms of function and geography. I thought going to the business school would not only allow me time to go back to the classroom and further my technical skills but, more importantly, would also give me an opportunity to expose myself to newer ideas and think of alternate career options. I was also keen to take my career global and not be restricted to one geography. Having spoken to enough MBAs, I thought that the business school would help me fulfill these aspirations. Finally, I have always appreciated the importance of a strong network, and a good MBA helps one build a really strong, diverse, and global network.

Why IESE? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
While evaluating my dream school, some things that really stood out to me for IESE were: 1) Its highly international and diverse class – having the chance to study my MBA in a class made of 50+ nationalities was quite exciting, and I knew would give me a great exposure and world view. 2) The IESE Culture – I had spoken to several alumni from various business schools and the culture of the people from IESE really resonated well with me. They all seemed extremely involved in helping me, and all of them had great experiences to share. 3) Location, program structure and the other opportunities that the curriculum offered – I was clear I wanted to do my MBA in Europe and Barcelona seemed like a perfect place. Besides that, professionally, I was aiming to make a “triple jump” and thought a longer MBA would allow me the time to prepare for it. Finally, the case-based pedagogy and some of the electives that the school offered also seemed really unique and enriching.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
The consulting club, the career events, and the opportunity to share the class with several other management consultants were among some of the important factors that helped me narrow down the decision. Beyond that, structured problem-solving skills that IESE helps one develop were critical to converting the role. Another thing that was important was the ability to collaborate and work with people from diverse backgrounds. I feel this was most important in helping me prepare for an international career at a global firm such as Allianz.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
My internship was with Citibank in London as part of their corporate finance leadership program called the FMA (financial management associate). The experience was positive; however, it allowed me to re-evaluate my career goals and rethink the direction I wanted to take in my career. The MBA summer happens pretty early into the business school journey and sometimes one does not get enough time to think. However, being in the challenging and diverse environment that the MBA gives exposes a lot of people to new ideas, and the same happened to me. By the time I entered my second year of the MBA and completed my internship, I realized that I wanted to change paths and get exposure to management consulting.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
The reason was a combination of a couple of factors:

1) Strong functional and sectoral fit – Right out of business school, I wanted to be working in management consulting, and given my familiarity with the financial services sector, be focused on that industry. My current role gave me a perfect mix of both goals.

2) Geographical fit – One of the primary reasons to study for an MBA was my aspiration to build a global career and get exposure to different international markets. My role as an in-house consultant at Allianz gave me an opportunity to work in a highly developed economy and be part of an extremely international and multicultural environment.

3) Global Opportunity – I wanted to take a role at a large brand with a global presence and gain exposure to working in a mature and sophisticated company. Allianz is one of the leading brands in the world, with a highly global presence. One of the mottos of Allianz Consulting is to serve as the greenhouse talent pool for the group and global mobility is highly encouraged and supported. So, the role also offered me an opportunity to continue growing within the Allianz umbrella.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search? 
Networking and learning a lot about the company and the role that one is going after.

–One thing you would change or do differently as part of the job search?
 Two things. First, defining clear filters and sticking to them and second, not being too worried about the job search
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Kind of – In consulting, we end up focusing a little too much on the case interviews, but sometimes interviewers can throw a curve ball. For example, in one of my interviews, the interviewer focused the conversation largely on discussing the macroeconomic situation and getting my views on how that could impact the industry, which was something I had not expected or prepared for. But being aware of what is happening in the market and world is generally expected of an MBA, and staying on top of it can come in handy.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Stress less about the “outcome” and focus more on the process and journey. To be honest, people did give me this advice, and I can only reemphasize – often, we get way too consumed in the job search process and sometimes overlook the MBA experience itself. The fact is that the job will eventually come, but the MBA won’t. So, do make sure to enjoy the business school experience!

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.