2017 Best MBAs: Ravi Teja Jagarapu, Purdue University (Krannert)

Ravi Teja Jagarapu

Purdue University, Krannert School of Management

Education = Engineer + MBA

Personality = Observer + Knowledge Seeker + Lighthearted + Includer 

Age: 27          

Hometown: Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India

Fun fact about yourself: I have a blue belt in Okinawa martial arts

Undergraduate School and Degree: Andhra University, Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Wipro Ltd. Project Engineer

At Wipro, my client was American Bureau of Shipping, an organization that sets the safety standards for the marine industry. It establishes and maintains technical standards for the construction and operations of ships and other off shore structures.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Walmart, Bentonville Arkansas

I interned with Walmart’s Data and Analytics team. We developed a tool to evaluate the performance of all 60,000 Walmart suppliers based on millions of purchase order details.

Where will you be working after graduation? I am still looking for opportunities. I also have the option of going back to my previous company, Wipro, since I came here on a sabbatical leave.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Graduate Assistant – Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships, Purdue
  • Chief of Staff – Krannert Graduate Student Association
  • Volunteer – ISEEK (Institute for Social Empowerment through Entrepreneurship & Knowledge)
  • Winner of PwC case competition
  • Mentor for 1st year MBA students
  • Academic tutor for Weekend MBA students

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am proud of my work for Purdue’s Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships. I provide corporate research that helps Purdue to strengthen its partnerships with corporate companies, alumni, non-government organizations, and domestic and global universities.

India is one of the major strategic partners for Purdue. I developed dashboards using Tableau that provided better insights and analytics about Indian students in Purdue. Using this dashboard, we were able to look at various trends over the last five years. We identified the institutions that sent the most number of students to Purdue and formed Memorandum of Understanding with those universities for joint research. Purdue created a country-wide alumni network and we are identifying former students who are working in India to share their experiences and engage with the university. Purdue’s President, Executive Vice-President for Office of Corporate and Global partnerships and Chief Corporate and Global Partnerships Officer have all appreciated my efforts in this project.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I was working as a Project Engineer in Wipro Technologies, we developed a software application for ship emergency response. This application provides technical support during maritime emergency, reducing risk to crew and ship. It also protects the environment by mitigating the spillage of oil. During an offshore emergency, the crew must provide information such as wind, tide and loading conditions, damaged tanks in the ship, and various other readings. Based on the information provided, the application will test for the stability and structural strength of the vessel. It will then notify if the vessel can continue travelling in sea or if they need to go to the nearest port without delay or if the crew must be evacuated immediately.

It is not common to test such an application in real life as accidents in sea are very rare. But on one of the occasions, our client mentioned that there was an accident the previous week and they used this application to determine the best course of action. The results obtained were very accurate based on the events that happened thereafter and the crew was safely evacuated on time. I felt proud that I was part of a project that saved lives as well as the environment.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? It is a difficult choice to make since we have so many outstanding professors, but I will pick Professor Kartik Kannan as my favorite professor. Besides being an excellent instructor, he also sincerely cares for the well-being of his students. He is very approachable and talks to the students frequently to understand some of the challenges facing them.

He is also the academic director of the MBA program and regularly seeks feedback from the students about the curriculum and the course structure. In spite of being busy with research and classes, he gives time for all his students and that is the reason why I admire him.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Purdue for three reasons:

  • My major focus areas are Operations and Analytics and Purdue is one of the top 10 schools in these areas.
  • With over 400,000 alumni living in 176 countries, Purdue has one of the strongest networks in the world. Purdue has several noticeable alumni, which includes CEOs’, Nobel prize winners and astronauts.
  • During MBA, you learn as much from your classmates as from the professors. Therefore, it is important to have diverse views in the classroom. Purdue ranks second in international students’ enrolment among public universities.This will help us to understand different perspectives from people around the world.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I enjoyed the case-based teaching in the business schools. It brings real life stories and helps us to learn about the mistakes that leaders and organizations made. It encourages students to participate in class discussions and engage in healthy debates. I will also cherish the relationships that I have built with my peers, professors and the staff. We call ourselves, the Krannert family.

I also enjoyed learning about various cultures We have an event called Country Highlight where students from different countries present about their history, culture, food and music which helped me to look at the world differently.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? I was surprised at the number of opportunities one can get in a business school to pursue various interests. We can be part of a wide range of clubs, such as a wine club, fitness club, or operations club. We can work with various professors on groundbreaking research projects. We can work with startup companies in Purdue to develop innovative products. We can volunteer for various organizations that make a difference in our societies. There are so many opportunities to implement the classroom learnings to real life experiences and make an impact around us.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Each person has a unique and a different story. Narrate your story and your experiences in a compelling way and convince the admissions team on how you can bring value to the class. Be honest in your interviews. It’s okay to admit what you don’t know. For those who do not get an admit, know that it is not the end of the road. You can still do great things.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the myths about Purdue is that there is a nuclear reactor in the basement of Electrical Engineering building. It is true that Purdue has the only working nuclear reactor in the state of Indiana. It is open to students as well as public.

Another famous myth about Purdue is that if you walk under the Bell tower as a student, you will never graduate. I do not want to walk and take the risk of not graduating after having spent so much money on my MBA degree.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I could have taken more courses in Strategy and Finance. I ended up taking so many analytics courses that I could no longer take any Strategy and Finance classes, apart from the core ones.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Nikita Atal for the following reasons:

  • Last year, she became the second female ever to be elected as the President of the Krannert Graduate Student association
  • As the President of KGSA, she implemented many initiatives – academic, social and cultural – that improved the student experience.
  • Nikita was also part of clubs such as Graduate Women in Business which promote women leaders
  • She helped many international students during the job search process by reviewing their resumes and helping them prepare for the interviews.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized I can add much more value to my clients if I understand not only the technical aspects but all business aspects- Finance, Operations, HR, Marketing- as well.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working with a different company as a Business Analyst.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Apart from classroom learning, it is important for students to interact with people in the industry as sometimes there is a gap between what we learn and what is happening in the industry. I will invite some of the alumni, who have recently retired, to visit the campus. I will encourage the students to have candid discussion about the future of businesses, impact of new technologies on various industries, and the business challenges they are facing. The faculty will also be invited as they can add value to these discussions with their research findings. With those alumni who are working and have busy schedules, we will conduct virtual sessions and ask them to share their industry experience.

I hope this will help the students to be better prepared when they go out of the business school and manage an organization.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? The prospect of learning new things and solving business problems that haven’t been solved before excites me. I want to start as a Program/Project Manager with one of the major technology firms and then progress within the company to become a senior executive.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My family. I would like to thank my parents and brother who always supported and believed in me. They gave me the freedom to make my own decisions.

It is very expensive to get an MBA and I am thankful to my cousins who provided me with both moral and financial support during these two years. I would have never come here for my MBA, if not for their help.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want my peers to remember me as a fun, kind and trustworthy person.

Favorite book: Made in Japan by Akio Morita, Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca

Favorite movie or television show: Shark Tank, 12 Angry Men

Favorite musical performer: A.R.Rahman

Favorite vacation spot: Kerala (India)

Hobbies: Reading about politics, Cooking, watching cricket, playing badminton and racquetball

What made Ravi such a valuable member of the Class of 2017?

“Ravi is Krannert’s nominee based on his leadership, initiative, academic performance and student involvement. From India with over four years of experience in engineering, Ravi was instrumental in designing an emergency response software application for large ships and vessels. As a result of this application, ships and crew have access to technical support during a crisis. This allows crew members to determine the best course of action, thereby allowing for more lives saved. This application also has the ability to mitigate oil spillage. He choose to pursue his MBA at Purdue based on a strong alumni network and operations focus. With his graduation date approaching in May, Ravi has been an exemplary student in and outside the classroom.

Ravi has maintained a solid academic performance throughout the duration of his two year program and is in the top 10% of his cohort. Ravi was selected to be a Graduate Assistant for the Purdue Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships. He was key in conducting corporate research that has been used to strengthen its partnership with corporate companies as well as non-government organizations and domestic and international universities.

In addition to his graduate assistantship, Ravi has been an active student role model by being actively involved in community work and leadership roles. He was appointed as Chief of Staff for the Krannert Graduate Student Association, a mentor for 1sty year MBA students, academic tutor for Weekend MBA students, volunteer with ISEEK (Institute for Social Empowerment through Entrepreneurship & Knowledge) and winner of the PwC case competition.

At this time, Ravi is still exploring his options for job opportunities. He does have the option of returning to his previous company Wipro since he is currently on sabbatical leave. Ravi is outgoing, lighthearted and ambitious and is a prime example of an MBA student. He has truly made a difference at Krannert.”

Greg Beaver
Director MBA & MS Programs
Purdue University

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