Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class of 2018

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Chethan Rao

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A fitness-crazy, foodie, engineer looking to intersect tech entrepreneurship and investing with social impact.

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once went beer tasting in Germany and came back with a BMW.  Through this trip, I realized how sometimes the happiest experiences involve the least amount of planning.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Manipal Institute of Technology, BE (Electronics and Communication)

University of Texas at Dallas, MSEE (Microelectronics)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Prism Circuits (acquired by MoSys), Circuit Design Engineer

MoSys, Senior Design Engineer

LSI Corporation (acquired by Avago), Staff Analog/Mixed-Signal Design Engineer

Avago Technologies, Staff Analog/Mixed-Signal Design Engineer

Broadcom Ltd (acquired by Avago), Staff Analog/Mixed-Signal Design Engineer

Sneha Initiative, Co-Founder

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:

Career-related: Less than a year after I joined a boot-strapped startup in the Silicon Valley as its seventh employee, I had the opportunity to design a component for a Japanese supercomputer customer. I had no prior integrated circuit design experience. Not only did the component work (thank God!), thereby bringing our startup much needed revenue, but I was fortunate to be able to patent the design as well as publish and present my work at an industry conference.

Community-related: With none other than my Biochemist mom, I co-founded a social enterprise called Sneha Initiative in India. The initiative locally manufactures and sells low cost sanitary pads with the goal of improving menstrual hygiene awareness in the Udupi District, while also empowering its 10 low-income female employees to be financially independent.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? There’s such a wide (often times confusing) array of websites, forums, and blogs dedicated to MBA admissions that it’s almost humanly impossible for your eyes not to be glazed over. So, before that happens, here’s essentially my bottom-line tip: everything about the MBA application process is subjective, and the self-reflection mindset applies even to the GMAT. Analyze. Plan. Execute. Repeat.

GMAT:

  1. Don’t stick to just one course prep company/material. The wider the array of questions you prep for, the better, thereby equalizing the prep company specific eccentricities. So, start early and keep the momentum going.
  2. Spend as much time taking practice tests as analyzing them. Not just the ones you got wrong, but also those you got right. Getting it right isn’t the real goal, getting it right fast is.
  3. Always finish off with the official GMATPrep exams (order the extra tests, it’s worth it). Take the GMAT when you’re consistently scoring 20-30 points ABOVE your target score.

Essays and Recommendations:

  1. Be genuine and sincere. There is only one YOU in this world. No amount of advice, articles, and coaching can truly bring out your story as well as you can. So, think and keep thinking about writing an interesting story that connects the dots and brings out your personality.
  2. Gut-check your work. Read your essays out loud, in front of the mirror, to your significant other, and friends. Does it sound like you?
  3. Constantly be on your recommender’s radar. They’re most likely busier than you and your MBA goal might not really be top of their list. Try to have periodic one-on-ones, meet for coffee, lunch, whatever it takes to keep the momentum up.

Interviews:

  1. Be happy, be positive, and have fun while you’re at it.
  2. Interviews are two-way conversations. You’re evaluating them as much as they are you. Take the opportunity to observe and learn about the community, culture and visualize yourself in it.
  3. Never pass up the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Genuineness. Warmth. Humility. Depth. Community. These are values that I care about and those that I’d heard associated with Tuck over and over again. So, there was a natural gravitation towards Tuck but I wasn’t sure how much of it was true. To experience it first-hand with every interaction I’ve had so far with the staff and students, both before and after the admit, has been unbelievable. Every Tuckie that I reached out to during this roller-coaster MBA application journey got back to me with input and advice, something I’m grateful for and hope to pay forward.

I was also looking for a small class size, in a true campus atmosphere, and the opportunity to build lasting relationships with not only my peers and but also the faculty—all of which Tuck provides. The fact that Tuck has one and only one focus—full-time MBA—was the icing on the cake. It also helped that Tuck gave my wife and I the opportunity to escape the crazy traffic and real estate situation in the Bay Area for a couple of years.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My long-term goal is to be in the tech venture capital space and there are so many exciting firms in the San Francisco Bay Area. An example dream job would be to work at Google Ventures either in an operational or investing role. I absolutely love their investing philosophy, supporting folks who are trying to push the edge of what’s possible.

I’ll always be an engineer at heart and being associated with innovative new products that disrupt traditional markets gets me excited. I’m trying to build up my investing chops while at Tuck. The goal is to marry my technical background with an investing career—both as an entrepreneur and an investor.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Hopefully it’ll go something like, “Here’s a Tuckie who’s genuine, passionate, fun, and smart. He’s a loyal friend, an inspiring leader, and above all, a good human being.”

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