Meet the Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2020

Angad Banga

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Sports business and social impact nerd, comedy fan, and passionate advocate of the oxford comma.”

Hometown: Montville, New Jersey

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once had a modeling gig with Major League Soccer and was featured on the League’s ecommerce site and in select MLS Club merchandise promotions. Clearly, years of Zoolander fandom and practicing ‘Blue Steel’ in the mirror paid off.

Undergraduate School and Major: American University – B.A. in International Relations, B.A. in Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:
Major League Soccer, New York City
Senior Coordinator, Properties & Event

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The entrepreneur and avid gamer in me is incredibly proud to have helped launch Major League Soccer’s (MLS) newest venture: eMLS. Launched in 2018, eMLS is a comprehensive esports League and platform that connect Major League Soccer to over 25 million FIFA gamers. For years, the FIFA video game has been a cornerstone of soccer fandom globally. However, a budding North American FIFA community and the rising popularity of FIFA esports competitions presented a unique opportunity to further integrate MLS into the FIFA gaming conversation.

As eMLS continues to evolve, the priority is to get more gamers involved via esports events, gaming content, and unique experiences that celebrate gaming culture. So to all you FIFA fans out there – in the midst of business school applications – I encourage you to take a break and check out what eMLS is up to. If not, then maybe catch me on PlayStation or XBOX and we can get a game in; my gamertag is Bippity441.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The supportive nature of the class has really stood out to me. Every classmate I have met has been passionate about providing guidance and assistance to their peers in any way possible.Incoming students, some of whom I have only met via Slack, have already introduced me to members of their personal network who can help me achieve my career goals. In return, I have done the same.

This sense of selflessness and willingness to help is incredibly attractive, and only affirms everything you hear from alumni and the admissions team.

Aside from your classmates, 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? Ross was the school best positioned for me to explore and expand upon my interests in sports marketing, technology, and social impact. The entrepreneur and venture capital enthusiast in me gets excited to participate in the student-run investment funds through the Zell Lurie Institute. In addition, I look forward to collaborating with my peers to create social impact solutions that I can test and refine with the exuberant University of Michigan fan base.

I cannot help but think that the school puts me in the position to succeed because of the institution’s namesake: Stephen Ross. Stephen Ross is the embodiment of the intersection between sports business and social impact, and his business ventures have helped build a community of individuals who can help the industry grow in a variety of ways.

My goal is to be at the forefront of that intersection as well, and what Stephen Ross and family have built at the University of Michigan will best prepare me to achieve that goal.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I look forward to participating in the student-run investment funds, such as the Wolverine Venture Fund, Social Venture Fund, and Commercialization Fund. I would love to get involved in all three (alongside several other clubs), although I’ve been warned about stretching myself too thin. With all the incredible things going on, it is not hard to do!

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I recognized that to advance in my career – and pursue my interests in venture capital, entrepreneurship, and social impact in the sports industry – I would need additional perspective.

The MBA experience quickly stood out as the most efficient and resourceful avenue by which to attain that perspective. Being surrounded by renowned faculty, staff, and an incredible student body would best prepare me with the insights and expertise I need to pursue my career goals. And in Ross in particular, I found myself with access to thousands of alumni who have gone on to become leaders in a wide variety of fields.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? The MBA is about both professional AND personal growth.  Not often in life do you get two years after starting your career to take a step back and pursue your interests. Furthermore, there are limited avenues by which to ready yourself for a career and a sense of fulfillment based upon those interests.

In an MBA, you get both – all of which is facilitated by a supportive group of faculty, staff, and students who are eager to help you tackle any challenges along the way.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to a variety of different programs: Stanford’s Graduate School of Business; University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business; University of California Los Angeles’ Anderson School of Management; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management; and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? My initial search was predicated on the ability of the MBA program to facilitate my interests in sports business, technology, and social impact. However, school culture quickly became my top priority. I sought a collaborative environment where I could work with others to pursue my goals and also provide guidance from my experiences.

Ross offered avenues to pursue all three of those interests in an environment best-suited for my success. Putting ideas into practice throughout the academic calendar, as well as hands-on opportunities via clubs, MAP, and beyond, was incredibly compelling. Together, these elements were critical to determining the best business school for me.

The added perk of Ross is the vibrant school spirit and sporting culture – Go Blue!

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just been rejected from a job opportunity with Major League Soccer, again finding myself unable to fulfill my dream of becoming a sports business professional. Moments after receiving that rejection letter, I was contacted by MLS’s Human Resources department, offering me an internship instead.

I contemplated the opportunity. I would be taking a step back both career-wise and financially, and there was no guarantee of a full-time position. But I also knew that opportunities to learn from industry leaders daily is rare. So within the hour, I accepted the internship.

My efforts and desire to learn paid off, as the internship quickly evolved into a full-time position. For more than three years, I got the opportunity to realize my dream. Every day, I woke up eager to get to work and make soccer as big as possible in the United States and Canada. In addition, I formed relationships and true friendships with some of the best and the brightest in the industry.

The risk I took was calculated, but my successes assured me that I could excel in an industry I am passionate about with minimal experience. Now as I look to evolve in my career, I invite new challenges and am confident in my ability to overcome future obstacles. With an MBA, I will be prepared for any challenge that comes my way.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? Upon graduating, I aspire to join a venture capital firm focused on early-stage investing. In particular, I would love to help fund and facilitate the growth of technology and social impact projects within the sports and entertainment industry.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Five years from now, I hope to be involved in a variety of projects in the world of sports and entertainment. I envision myself as an executive in a venture capital firm, identifying some of the best and brightest thinkers and ideas that will fuel future industry growth. In addition, I aspire to take leadership positions within sports-for-change institutions such as the Ross Initiative for Social Equality (RISE). In my spare time, I hope to build my own venture(s) to make my own mark on the sports and entertainment industry.