2018 Best MBAs: Animesh Agrawal, Stanford GSB

Animesh Agrawal

Stanford Graduate School of Business

A small-town boy from India, I believe in the power of determination and capital in changing lives.”

Age: 27

Hometown: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Fun fact about yourself: It took me six years to convince my girlfriend to start dating me!

Undergraduate School and Degree: B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

Company: McKinsey and Company, Role: Business Analyst

Company: The Blackstone Group (private equity team), Investment Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017?

Company: The Capital Group Location: Singapore

Where will you be working after graduation?

Company: The Blackstone Group, Role: Investment Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Awarded Siebel Scholarship (class of 2018) for academic excellence and demonstrated leadership at business school
  • Chair of the Academic Committee at the GSB
  • President of the Business in India club, GSB
  • Only student member of Future of Management Education Committee at the GSB. Committee comprised of the Dean and 14 other senior faculty members.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of being nominated by the Dean as the only student member of the Future of Management Education Committee. The Committee consists of the Dean and 14 other senior faculty members. This committee gives me an opportunity to give back to Stanford and impact the lives of generations of future MBA students.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my tenure at McKinsey, I was leading the sales transformation initiative for a large insurance company in India. The new tools I designed for the client’s sales team were initially considered too complex to implement in 90 branches across 15 states. My most significant accomplishment involved spending four months visiting branches across the country to convince and help employees adopt these tools, which led to a 50% jump in sales.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is J.D. Schramm who teaches a number of communication courses at the GSB. He transformed the small town me who was afraid to speak up in English, into a confident business leader.

What was your favorite MBA Course My favorite class at the GSB was Managing Growing Enterprises. The biggest insight for me was the importance of raising the discussion to a higher level in case of disagreement, be it with employees or board members. If there is disagreement on Strategy, raise the discussion to Objective and if there is disagreement on Objective, raise the discussion to Values.

Why did you choose this business school? My mentor once told me that as you grow in the organization, the only thing that will matter are people skills. Stanford GSB is a school that focuses on leadership development and people skills in every aspect of the business school life. That was the biggest attraction for me. Starting from first quarter, we are asked a simple question: Why should anyone follow you? Experiences like Leadership Fellows and Touchy Feely help us get feedback and see the impact of our actions on different people.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? GSB is a place that celebrates people, optimism and authenticity. Make sure this philosophy resonates with you, and reflect that in your application materials.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about GSB is that it is a school for entrepreneurs or technology freaks. I was positively surprised by the quality of courses and professors GSB has in general management (Professors like Joel Peterson and Iv Grousbeck) as well as finance and investing (Professors like Charles Lee and Steve Grenadier).

What was your biggest regret in business school? I would have loved to go on more trips with classmates. Group trips are a great way to get to know your classmates and spend quality time with them.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Laura Chau (class of 2018) the most. As a daughter of immigrant parents from Vietnam, she is a trail-blazer in an industry that is still white male dominated – VC investing. She would be the first female investing professional in New York office of her firm, Canaan Partners, after school.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I was most influenced by my ex-boss at Blackstone, Amit Dixit. He told me a simple thing – what has got me here, will not take me where I want to go next in life. He encouraged me to take a plunge to get to know people and businesses around the world and do an MBA in the US.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a lesser person than I am today. Business school has transformed my thinking, my confidence and my outlook towards the world.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would make the academic experience more flexible for students to take more courses outside of management curriculum (e.g. arts, philosophy) or practical experience (e.g. independent studies). 

What are the top two items on your bucket list? One, I want to visit Mars some day and second, I want to be a loving and supporting partner for my future wife.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?  I would want to be remembered as someone who made them smile and got the best out of them.

What would your theme song be?The Climb” – Miley Cyrus

Favorite vacation spot: Maldives

Hobbies? Running, playing cricket, trekking, organizing events for friends


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