2017 MBAs To Watch: Sarang J Nampoothiri, Ohio State (Fisher)

Sarang J Nampoothiri

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

“An empathetic person who constantly strives to positively impact the world.”

Age: 27

Hometown: Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India

Fun fact about yourself: When I was 15, I appeared in a Nike Soccer advertisement that briefly aired in India.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Visvesvaraya Technological University; Bachelor of Engineering – Mechanical Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Voith GmbH, Engineer; Bangalore, India

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Pathways Operations Manager Intern, Amazon; Moreno Valley, California

Where will you be working after graduation? Operations Program Manager, Uber; San Francisco, California

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President: Fisher Serves
  • Vice President: Fisher Indian Students Association
  • Developed a sustainable business model for a Columbus based NGO that identified employment opportunities for the homeless

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? At Fisher, I was selected for our Global Applied Projects in Kenya. It is a mini consulting project where students get to work on real world challenges faced by companies across the world. Through this project, we substantially reduced the Total Cost of Ownership for a product that had the potential to reduce water borne illnesses. We also got a chance to visit interior parts of Kenya and help the local government in its quest to improve healthcare. This is just one of the many projects at Fisher, where I got an opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge gained in classrooms to a practical setting.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Prior to my MBA, I got an opportunity to work on material testing for Airbus A350. It was a huge project and I was chosen soon after my under graduation to work with the Airbus team. I learnt a lot at an early stage of my career and my success in this project reinforced my belief in myself and my capabilities.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor was Jay Anand, who taught us Mergers and Acquisitions. He has an extensive academic career and a deep knowledge across industries. He uses humor and simple stories to embed concepts and frameworks into our thought process. I found his teaching style unique and extremely enriching.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite MBA course was Strategy, which was a case based core class, taught by Professor Jay Dial. The biggest insight about business that I learnt through this class was that there are multiple approaches for any company to generate value. Strategy is not about a single move in a chess game, but how your unique position across the board gives you an advantage in the game.

Why did you choose this business school? Since I knew I wanted to move into Operations and Supply Chain Management, Fisher was a natural top choice. I had researched a few B-Schools in the US for about two years prior to joining Fisher. A common topic that I often heard during MBA fairs in India was the concept of “fit.” It was difficult to understand what “fit” meant until I spoke to current Fisher students and alums. Through these conversations, I could see myself in their shoes at Fisher and that is when I truly understood how Fisher perfectly “fit” between where I am today and where I would like to be in the future.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Over the last two years, I enjoyed most the camaraderie amongst students at Fisher. Unlike many other larger schools, we have a class size of about 100-110 students and I know each one of them, their prior work experience and their career goals post MBA. As a student ambassador, I often give a tour of our college to prospective students and what strikes them the most is the warmth and affection that is seen amongst our students. I know that I have made life-long friendships and that we all have a strong support system in each other.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? The most surprising thing about business school was our huge alumni base and the support they provide to current students. If I looked up any company on LinkedIn, I am sure to find at least one buckeye there, who is willing to go out of his or her way to help me.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? My first advice would be to Introspect – identify what you would like to gain out of your MBA experience. The next step would be to talk to current students, alums and professors to gain a better understanding of the school and what they offer. If possible, visit the school and sit in a class as this gives you an opportunity to also experience the classroom learning environment that might differ between schools. Finally, it is important to internalize that the application process is not just about the school choosing you, but also about you choosing the school that best fits your needs.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest “myth” about b-school was the diversity in class. I was happy to see the myth proven right through my experience here at Fisher. I initially viewed diversity only in geographic terms. But it is also the diversity in thought process, in work experience, in career goals, etc. We have students from all walks of lives in our class and I have learnt as much from their experiences as I have from professors. To give you one example, my core team in first year had a dietician who grew up in Singapore, a project manager from Venezuela, an army veteran who served in South Korea, a marketing manager from Columbus and myself with an aviation background in India.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Fisher is a small program but part of a huge university with a lot of events happening across the campus. I would have liked to leverage these resources more often but due to coursework and the plethora of activities at Fisher, I haven’t been able to fully utilize these opportunities.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Matthew Nordman – He is one of the smartest people that I have met and worked with. What makes Matthew stand out is that he is extremely humble and truly believes in paying it forward. I think he represents Fisher and its core values perfectly.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized that I would need a holistic understanding of various business concepts to achieve my career goals.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…experimenting different career paths.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? If I were the dean for a day, I would provide more platforms for collaboration between students from different colleges within OSU that would further help in enriching our MBA experience. I believe that mini inter-disciplinary projects like these would facilitate a channel for interaction between business school students and rest of the university.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to utilize my learnings across various functions in a dynamic company and channel these skill sets into a cause that has a long term positive impact in this world.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my parents and my extended family for being my anchor. I have many role models in my family who have achieved greatness in their own fields and have inspired me to dream big.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who is humble, genuine and always there for support.

Favorite book: Old Man and the Sea

Favorite movie or television show: Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Favorite musical performer: A. R. Rahman

Favorite vacation spot: My hometown in Kerala, India

Hobbies? Traveling and exploring different cultures

What made Sarang such an integral member of the Class of 2017?

“Sarang has a disarming demeanor. His winning smile, ability to work with others, and success in and out of the classroom set him up for success. I remember him making an indelible impression during his very first day at Fisher, at the International Student Orientation. When asked to share an item of cultural significance with the rest of the international strident cohort, Sarang demonstrated wearing a traditional Indian piece of clothing from his home state. He had the audience hooked – it was a simple act as he showed them the intricacies of wearing this item, sprinkled with just enough self-deprecating humor, but one that conveyed the pride of his cultural heritage. He charmed his way by being easy to talk to and work with. Over the last two years, be it working with a non-profit that benefits the homeless in Columbus, consulting on a global project in Kenya, interning at Amazon, or being an MBA admissions ambassador, he has excelled in each of these endeavors and is poised for success as he begins his post MBA career working on self driving cars in San Francisco. Sarang is a terrific MBA candidate, enriching Fisher’s Class of 2017 with his unique presence.”

Shashi Matta

Director of MBA programs and Associate Professor of Marketing – Clinical



Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.