Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class of 2019

Shashank Saurav

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Engineering cum science grad turned underwriter turned banker turned MBA candidate searching for his alchemist.

Hometown: Bokaro Steel City, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: The common perception in India is that if you have worked for 3 years or more in a government organization, you are ready for marriage. Since I was in SBI (a Public sector and Fortune 500 company), the talks of my marriage started behind my back and a prospective partner was finalized through a matrimonial site. My admission to the Notre Dame MBA program was my ticket out of this potential imbroglio.

 Undergraduate School and Major:

  1. Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani- MS (Chemistry)
  2. Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani- BE (Electronics)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:


Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: During my time at State Bank of India (SBI), I worked for a grassroots cause by networking with Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and helped pave the way for government schemes to penetrate remote regions. SHGs are small voluntary associations (10 to 20 members) of underprivileged people who belong to the same socio-economic background, and come together to solve their livelihood issues. However, convincing uneducated rural women with parochial mindsets to earn their own livelihood in a patriarchal society is a herculean task. I operationalized a team, comprising few SHG members and a local NGO’s committed volunteers and led this team, which met hundreds of families in the nearby villages, to increase awareness about government’s financial inclusion schemes and the need for microfinance.

In the coming months, we helped start 12 SHGs comprising 172 women, 9 of which are functioning satisfactorily to date. We sanctioned hassle-free loans for them to start small businesses by rearing goats, producing spices/pickles, and making handicrafts. Over a period of time, income of the impacted families increased from $80 to $120, but more importantly their children started going to schools instead of working, thus paving the way for a better tomorrow.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? I am naturally good at taking objective tests, so I didn’t have to burn the midnight oil to perform well in GMAT. I cannot, however, emphasize enough on the need for mock tests. Look out for patterns of crests and troughs while taking them. If across 5 mocks, your scores are forming a crest, take the GMAT immediately. The best pattern of scores would be starting at the bottom and peaking towards the day of your exam. However, if you notice a trough or an upward-downward swing across 5 mocks, please consider taking more tests until a crest pattern starts developing.

One of the mistakes I initially made with my application was not bringing my resume strictly in line with the US format and style and cramming too much content in it. The other mistake was not preparing adequately for the 4 basic interview questions (Why MBA; Why ABC School; Goals; Introduce yourself). Be sure to avoid making these mistakes. For application essays, it is all about finding your USP and selling yourself to the appropriate university.

Also unless you are absolutely sure about going to a certain B school, apply to 5 schools or more because it is difficult to predict the school that might take a liking to your story.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? If I have to list just one factor, it would be the Alumni Network at Notre Dame. As an international student, I will have to walk the extra mile to secure an internship and job. When we talk about walking the extra mile, it is not just performing above average when it comes to grades and leadership activities, but also networking with more people than is the norm. And the only way this will work is if I find enough alumni to write to and connect with. With such a huge base of powerful and like-minded alumni employed in different firms across the country, Notre Dame was an obvious choice for me. I even have a famous Notre Dame alumnus Mr. Kenneth Meyer to thank for indirectly funding my program expenses at Mendoza.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Success has both the personal and professional side to it. If I have secured an internship with a multinational financial services firm in the corporate finance function and I am performing well, I would consider my short term professional goal to have been achieved.

As of now, I have just started cooking, but I am learning at a good pace. So at the end of 1 year, I hope that many of my batch mates are able to appreciate my cooking as they speak of me as a reliable and fun companion to have. Success would also include my ability to overcome cultural barriers and have at least 1 friend hopefully from each of the countries represented in the 2 year MBA program at Mendoza.

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