“As a fond generalist I love solving new business challenges, with a focus on empowerment – I strongly believe that inclusivity can lead to both social and business impact.”
Hometown: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Fun Fact About Yourself: Hailing from a marginalized farmer community, I am passionate about inspiring and empowering people with lack of resources. I have targeted most of my efforts so far in the growth of my village through various efforts such as weekly tutoring and mentorship programmes for kids, setting a corpus fund to generate sustainable cash flows for low-income students, and supporting in local community outreach through the village temple.
Undergraduate School and Major: B.Tech + M.Tech: Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India; Mechanical Engineering with specialization in Product Design
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: WestBridge Capital (Late-stage VC / PE), Investment Analyst
What has been your first impression of the Harvard Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Harvard Business School story so far. The first time I learned about Harvard Business School was in my 2nd year of undergrad from a very close mentor who was writing his essay for the 2+2 programme. I remember being both amazed by the fundamental and introspective nature of the question and amused by the open-ended nature of it. Every year since then, I’ve noticed that the most passionate and driven seniors dreamt of getting into HBS and fought for it. Later as I started discovering my passion to solve business challenges that impact change, I was drawn towards HBS and learnt more about what makes it special. Working closely with senior HBS alumni at global firms, I got inspired by their focus on the co-existence of business and social impact and, subsequently, HBS’ inclusive and thought-provoking culture. Immersing myself in such an environment will enable me to that which excites me most – to empower the underserved by giving them what society has denied them for far too long, a fair chance at life.
What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? My experience across consulting, investing, and technology has taught me this lesson: while strategizing is an important element, execution is most critical and often the most challenging. I believe the case method of putting a student in the shoes of a manager in a very real business situation is closest to being in a practical situation. Moreover, this approach also takes into consideration the lives and emotions of people who will get impacted with the decision, which could get lost in simple theoretical strategizing.
Aside from your classmates and cases, what was the key part of Harvard Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The prestigious alumni network of 85K+ successful business leaders was another important aspect of the HBS program.
What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Harvard Business School? As someone looking to build businesses in the future, I am most passionate about the entrepreneurship and VC/PE clubs.
When you think of Harvard Business School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Brand. I strongly believe HBS is among the most prestigious and coveted brands in the world. As someone who was denied access to resources, being a part of this brand became not just my win but my entire community’s win.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I take immense pride in developing and running a mentorship programme for my village kids who hail from low-income, marginalized backgrounds. Professionally, my biggest achievement has been to co-lead WestBridge’s ‘Rural Lending’ practise, investing $450M and supporting rural lending institutions that focus on enabling affordable credit to rural India – 40% of which is still plagued by informal credit.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Three key reasons led to decided pursuing an MBA. First, it was the career timing and having clarity of my goals and what to do next, I want to upskill myself and prepare myself before building my career. Second was to learn and experience the global fintech wave which I believe is critical for India’s growth, especially to the underserved. The last reason was exposure to people, both peers and alumni. Learning about diverse perspective opens me to new cultures and forming trust-based relationships with like-minded peers will accelerate my journey towards creating impact.
What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I would definitely recommend watching videos of the HBS case method, something that is extremely unique to the HBS style.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wharton and Booth
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Harvard Business School’s MBA program? Reading the simple, yet powerful self-introspective HBS essay question when I was 19 kicked my HBS journey off. After a lot of short-term goal chasing for the first 25 years of my life, the question helped me pause and think about my life so far and my journey forward. It is very important to think of the application process not just as an application but as a way to discover yourself at a personal and fundamental level. Understanding yourself and connecting your past roots to future aspirations is critical to cracking the admissions process.