MBA Jobs: A Duke MBA At Bank of America

With an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School, Bhavna Goyal was able to land a job with Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch

Twenty-nine-year-old Bhavna Goyal is a trailblazer in her own right. She excelled in her mechanical engineering studies at Indraprastha University in her native country of India. But as a woman, she was barred from many of the professional opportunities that existed in her chosen field.

Realizing the discrimination she would face, Bhavna pivoted into information technology and landed a job at Tata Consultancy Services, a well-known IT firm that is India’s third largest company. After four years at Tata, she joined the Class of 2010 at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She used her MBA from Fuqua to successfully pull off a major career switch. Today, she is an assistant vice president in the New York City office of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, the financial services division of BofA.

My Story

After graduating from college, I quickly realized that being a woman in India would shut a lot of doors in my face if I chose to pursue mechanical engineering professionally.  Knowing this, I segued into the technology filed in an attempt to bring an engineering perspective to projects geared at computerizing and modernizing previously existing technologies such as boilers and turbines while working for Tata Consultancy Services in India.

My job did not turn out the way that I imagined. Decisions were made at the very top of the company and rolled down to the rest of us.  I was the last woman on the totem pole.  Instead of using my brain and background to develop new innovation, I basically ended up coding small pieces of predetermined projects that I had no input on whatsoever.

That was about the time that I realized I needed an MBA.  Not only was I not interested in coding and developing software, but I wanted to have the opportunity to make a more far reaching impact. I wanted to gain a bigger picture perspective—a macroscopic view as opposed to the microscopic one that I had. I also wanted to be less tactical and more strategic in my work.

One thing that did turn out well for me, however, is that towards the second half of my tenure at Tata, I got the opportunity to work with financial clients such as the National Stock Exchange (the largest exchange in India) and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). The latter affording me the opportunity to live and work in Toronto for a year.

I quickly discovered that I enjoyed finance and developed an interest in working in the financial space. I was a career switcher and looked to an MBA as the appropriate next step in my professional trajectory. Ultimately, I was accepted to and chose the Duke University Fuqua School of business.

Duke Fuqua was my first choice for many reasons.  I loved the team-oriented atmosphere and the school’s focus on global expansion. I was also impressed with the way in which the school supported women. Nearly forty percent (40%) of my class—the Class of 2010—were women.

I was also offered a very attractive financial package. This was important to me because my family did not have the kind of money to be able to sponsor an education in the United States.

Duke has completely over delivered in terms of helping me to not only achieve but exceed my goals. My current position at work is so much better than I would have ever thought was possible for me—especially coming from a technical background rather than a finance background.

  • Sandman

    100% agree. Had a co-worker who essentially manipulated our boss into giving her a letter of recommendation that was filled with lies and deception. US b-schools need Indians in their admission committee to vet these applicants by understanding the Indian psyche and mentality and culture. These ad coms are all mostly feminist liberals and they fall for any story of women in India being discriminated against etc. I’m sure there are some legitimate stories. But they should be cautious because right now they (bschools) are being taken for ride.

  • arjun

    Kevin, well said. I am astounded at the number of Indian women who routinely play the “I am a woman so I am discriminated in India” card nowadays. Especially in the workplace, they do the least work, refuse to pull late shifts, don’t want to take too much onto their plate, yet want disproportionate rewards and recognition. And if they are pretty, man – the amount of manipulation and trying to get colleagues to do their work..
    India is a weird case of an ancient society which has western concepts of “feminism” and similar stuff artificially grafted into it, as a result of which the end result is a hodge podge hybrid which is worse off in many ways than the original.

  • guest

    India has had a woman prime minister and a woman president, something that even the US has not. Playing victim is a great way to get into bschool.

  • Kevin Hartley

    Before posting, it really helps if you can comprehend. I never brought up immigration anywhere in my original post. I did however point out the story was ordinary and nothing note worthy. Growing up in India and having lived there for 30 years (Read that again, you might have missed it, the first couple of times, yes I am Indian) I know how IT companies recruit and also understand why most graduates (from other engineering disciplines) gravitate towards IT jobs. The woman in the article puts IT in a negative light saying that she was the bottom of the totem pole. Unfortunately this might have been more due to her shy (introverted) personality, which is revealed on the second page of the article when she admits she failed to secure an internship at Duke. It is very clear you did not read the article or my comments. Instead, like a tard filled with hyper-nationalism (nice one, Harsh) you listed a handful of CEOs from a population over 1 billion. Big effin deal! I cannot believe you walk around in real life carrying this racial/ethnic insecurity, interactions with you must be a pure joy 🙂 Or does hiding behind a keyboard make you a thug? Either way, I would suggest you get help.

    PS: You said “I think this story is facsinating(sic)” umm so IT Drone from TCS works in BOA in the finance sector post MBA. What about this is so fascinating? What makes her different from the 100s of IT graduates in post MBA finance roles. You know this has nothing to do with being Indian or immigration. Please enlighten me, I am listening.

  • bigred

    Finally some Duke love, even though the article could have been focused on a more impressive alum.