Meet Washington Olin’s MBA Class Of 2020

Brinda Gupta

Washington University’s Olin Business School in St. Louis

School: Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis

It is hard to find me without a smile – I am an energetic, optimistic person.”

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am an Odissi Indian classical dancer. Odissi is one of the oldest dance forms in India and the world. I have performed in front of more than 2,000 people in my life.

Undergraduate School and Major: Saint Louis University, Public Health

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, Program Coordinator

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As part of the Coro Fellowship, I worked at the St. Louis County Department of Public Health in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Health Commission for a three-week consulting placement. During this time, I conducted qualitative interviews with stakeholders in the medical field, analyzed census-tract data, and taught myself GIS mapping software. By keeping the perspectives of patients at the center of the project, I was able to tell a story about healthcare in St. Louis. These recommendations will help inform strategic practices and enhance medical care at federally qualified health centers.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My classmates are very curious. During lectures, I am always impressed by the quality of questions my classmates ask. They challenge preconceived notions, continually try to find the most innovative ways to solve problems, and consider diverse perspectives when proposing solutions.

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? I sought a business school where students are collaborative. In my future career, I will likely work with partners from diverse backgrounds with regards to the sector they work in, personal experiences, and work responsibilities. It is important to be in an environment where I have the opportunity to work with others and understand how to be most effective in teams.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I look forward to being a member of Net Impact and Olin Women in Business, and perform at the Diwali show. I am also helping launch a new university-wide Social Policy Institute. The business sector has a large influence on policy in local, state, and national levels and I am excited to contribute to this planning process.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I wanted to take more coursework in areas such as finance and marketing to supplement my background in public health. This will help me become a better-rounded person. I ultimately want to advance my career in healthcare and an MBA program will equip me with the tools to navigate this dynamic, interdisciplinary, and nuanced field.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I primarily had informational interviews with MBA students who explained how transformative the experience was. After I attended admissions sessions from universities and learned more about the program structure, I knew it was the right fit for me.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Northwestern (Kellogg), Carnegie Mellon (Tepper), Emory (Goizueta), and Yale SOM.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I spoke with current students and alumni to see how an MBA program prepared them for an internship or the job market. I used tools such as webinars to learn more about specific schools and researched culture through blog posts and personal conversations. I wanted a collaborate school that would have a strong core curriculum, but also gave me the flexibility to take electives in the field I am interested in.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I was part of the medical staff at Camp Floyd Rogers, a residential summer camp for more than 100 type 1 diabetic children in Omaha, Nebraska. I aspired to provide the same support to others as campers did with one another. However, I was the only non-diabetic present including medical staff. I had no idea that raspberry glucose tablets were supposed to taste better than orange ones, insulin injection sites rotate, and certain lancets hurt more than others. Additional camp experiences helped me become more empathetic. I gave myself saline injections to show an 8-year-old how to self-administer insulin. I was referred to as a “dia-buddy” when I counted carbohydrates before meals. Campers checked my blood glucose levels after I checked theirs. These meaningful interactions at Camp Floyd Rogers served as a testament to the value of compassion and trust in relationships. Being a medical staff assistant reinforced my interest in healthcare and reminded me to always consider patient perspectives, as I witnessed the individual and collaborative efforts that went into empowering diabetics. 

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I would like to work in business development or strategy and innovation for a healthcare organization. I am also exploring healthcare consulting opportunities.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to be leading a business development team in the healthcare sector with a diverse, compassionate team.

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