2018 MBAs To Watch: Priyanka Lamba Nadgiri, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Priyanka Lamba Nadgiri

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

Person who values relationships and believes humor is the missing element in the business world.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Fun fact about yourself: I cook fresh all three meals of the day and I have done so every day, even during the arduous first year of my MBA program. In addition, sleep talking is another funny side of my personality.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Mumbai, India: Bachelor of Electrical Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

Siemens, India as Sr. Executive: Marketing & Business Development

Cochlear Limited, India as Manager: Service Delivery Lead (South Asia region)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Ecolab, St. Paul, Minnesota

Where will you be working after graduation? Ecolab, Assistant Marketing Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President of Carlson Marketing Network, which helps develop successful marketing and brand management professionals by providing opportunities that connect students to expertise at Carlson and in the broader business community.
  • Graduate Assistant at Carlson Graduate Business Career Center, leading various initiatives that help students develop their job hunt skills and liaising student’s expectations with career center initiatives.
  • Member of Women’s Mentorship Program, an initiative to provide support to prospective or admitted female students while they are making their B-school selection decision and also helping incoming candidates smoothly transition into the MBA program.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant for Marketing Management course in the MBA program as well as Marketing Strategy course in the undergraduate program.
  • Awarded Timberlake Graduate Fellowship for exceptional academic and extra-curricular performance during first year of MBA.
  • Leading member of Class Gift Committee aiming to give back to school by early involving the graduating class toward school development initiatives and using the same platform to continue engaging them as alumni.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My role as graduate assistant with the Carlson career center is something that I am most proud. International candidates have a two-layered challenge when they enter a business school: First is the learning of advanced business courses and second is the understanding of cultural nuances from nationality and business perspective. I leveraged my early job hunt learnings and helped fellow international students by peer coaching them on their networking and behavioral skills. In addition, I have worked on various initiatives that helped international students develop their communication, interviewing, or case prep capabilities. Finally, I served as a liaison between the student body and career center to effectively match the evolving student expectations with various career center initiatives.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my professional career during my MBA, I am most proud of my internship project that I did for Ecolab. My project was focused on a channel strategy for a business line and my findings were appreciated at the most senior level of the organization. It was one of those intern projects that could be incorporated in the broad-level strategy goal of Ecolab and would actually guide their future course of business.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My Marketing Management instructor, Seth Werner, has been my favorite. I adore his passion and zeal toward teaching within class and beyond. He not only helped me understand the course in the class, but also guided me in my prep for my technical interviews and client projects. He beautifully meshed the science and art aspects in his teachings, which helped us understand things beyond frameworks. For example, in one class, we actually had a store aisle set up in class to simulate customers’ buying behavior.

What was your favorite MBA course I have been a marketer throughout my career. Therefore, I would tend to focus on details when I solved a business problem. I wanted to change this aspect of mine and broaden my business outlook, so I took Corporate Strategy. I could not have had a better course than this, especially with a fantastic professor like Evan Rowley, who taught us through extensive case studies the nuances between running a stand-alone business and a conglomerate. Through his frameworks, I learned to detach myself from a functional-level viewpoint and see things on a macro scale. This course actually taught me the difference between running a stand-alone business and managing a multiple-business conglomerate.

Why did you choose this business school? My journey to Carlson was influenced both personally and professionally. Carlson’s highly renowned faculty and small class size were the most important criterion for me to choose Carlson. Secondly, my husband got admitted to their highly ranked Master of Science in Business Analytics Program, which further augmented my preference to Carlson.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Prospective students often evaluate colleges based on return on their investment, and I too carried a similar opinion before entering Carlson. My MBA journey, so far, has made me realize that it’s more about the experience than the return – and this experience is beyond any economic value. I think the biggest learning from a b-school is not the right professional development, but the right attitude development. This takes an individual from being a regular professional to becoming a leader. If you are a candidate who does not pretend to know everything but has the desire and willingness to learn every day, then Carlson is more than a fit. Carlson not only helps build good leaders but also nurtures responsible business acumen toward society and community.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

First Myth: Minnesota winters are unbearable.

This is absolutely not the case and is being vouched for by a person like me who has never experienced below 50-degree winter in her home city.

Second Myth: Minnesotans are not very open to outsiders.

My experience has been absolutely opposite. Carlson’s amazingly talented student community enriches the entire learning experience with its competitive and super collaborative spirit. Whether it’s solving business cases or celebrating cultures, Carlson’s community embraces it all.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I should have participated more in the interschool business case competitions.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The joy of my learning experience at Carlson has been the versatility and inclusivity of the student community. My classmates all carry different ideas and perspective and yet respect and learn from each other, and this has been my greatest point of admiration for my class. Therefore, it would be unfair for me to pick a single name. I believe each of my classmates carries a unique ability to sense and solve business problems, and this is exactly what I have learned to appreciate during my MBA experience.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? One of my role models in my career is the business head of my past organization. She is amongst very few business leaders who perfectly exemplify talent and compassion. She always referred to me as talent and persuaded me to formally learn business in order to improve my business acumen and mold my leadership skills.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working at Cochlear and helping the business leverage its service offering for future product sale opportunities.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Carlson has a rich alumni community comprised of high-achieving leaders and talent. However, Carlson has not been able to tap this potential to its fullest. If I were a dean for a day, I would increase the touchpoints that its alumni have to connect back and engage with the school.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Visiting Universal Studio in Florida and bungee jumping from Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa.

How would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as a Fun-loving person who is curious to learn and is reliable to fall back upon during any situation.

What is your favorite movie about business? Big Short. The biggest lesson I learned was how the best business minds or financial models become worthless if they do no good to society in the end.

What would your theme song be?

It is an Indian song named Jazba (English transition: Emotions) by Shilpa Rao.

Favorite vacation spot: Prague, Czech Republic. I visited Prague during my Carlson Global Learning Enrichment Program, wherein we worked on a live project for a client.

Hobbies? Freestyle dancing (I am trained in Indian classical and freestyle Western dance forms), cooking (I can make six different types of cuisines), and I am a big movie buff.

What made Priyanka such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Priyanka is many things to her clients and fellow students: A class and team leader, a great teammate, a humble and kind “caretaker.”

Pri has done an awesome job of both understanding and then applying the lessons, strategies, and frameworks learned in her MBA program. She is great to have in class, as she is an engaged and willing student who really works to understand and apply the intricacies of critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Above everything, Pri really cares about her fellow students, clients, and community and is willing to act in the best interest of others, as evidenced by her desire to use “Business as a Force for Good.” I am proud to recommend Priyanka, as she truly embodies the best of us.”

Senior Lecturer Toby Nord

Professional Director, Carlson Ventures Enterprise





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