2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Ananya Gupta, University of Pittsburgh (Katz)

Ananya Gupta

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh

“Creative problem solver, driven by passion for using innovative technology to change lives.”

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Fun fact about yourself: I have worked and lived in 4 different countries in the last 4 years.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Technology (Computer Science & Engineering) – Amity University

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? HCL Technologies, United Kingdom, as Lead Engineer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? HM Health Solutions, Pittsburgh, PA—Graduate Consulting Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Crane Merchandising Systems, Atlanta, GA—Product Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President, Katz Consulting Club
  • First Place, McKinsey Cup Spring, 2018
  • Student Representative, Board of Visitors Annual Meeting, 2018
  • MBA Student Ambassador, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
  • First Place Team: University of Connecticut Sustainability Case Competition, 2018
  • Case Writer, Katz Invitational Case Competition, 2019
  • Teaching Assistant, Managerial Economics
  • Dean’s List for Academic Achievement
  • George A. Davidson Jr. Scholarship Recipient (2017-2018, 2018-2019)
  • Student Honoree Award, 2018
  • Student Honoree Award, 2019

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Winning the University of Connecticut Sustainability Case Competition – The case involved quantifying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) investments for United Technologies Corporation. Our team calculated the Social, Employee and Customer return on investments for United Technologies Corporations CSR initiatives and helped them report these back to the shareholders. This was a unique project as it helped us understand the impact of these CSR investments on the society at large and how important it was to create a model to quantify the benefits from these initiatives and report them back to the shareholders.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Completing my MBA was hands-down the proudest professional achievement of my career until now. It has been a very rewarding, challenging, and humbling experience. It has had a profound impact on me and my future personal and professional development.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. John C. Camillus – He is a world-renowned expert in the area of Strategic Management and has held the Donald R. Beall Endowed Chair in Strategic Management since 1991. Dr. Camillus is an artist in the classroom and easily breaks down wicked problems and makes learning an experiential process. He is always available for help outside the classroom and is passionately involved in the success of his students.

What was your favorite MBA Course Business of Humanity: Strategic Planning in the Era of Globalization, Innovation and Shared Value. Taught by Dr. Camillus, the course was an eye-opener for me. I learned how companies can conquer complexities and confound competitors by using wicked strategies. The course also helped me learn how to develop business solutions for complex problems with unknowable futures by identifying the right frameworks for responding to and profiting from these complex problems.

Why did you choose this business school? When I decided to pursue an MBA, I knew that my focus will be on strategic planning and management. I also knew I would pursue my MBA in the USA and I wanted to graduate from the program debt free using my personal savings. The University of Pittsburgh is known for excellence in strategic management. I applied to the MBA program and was accepted to the full-time, two-year MBA program. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the alumni, executives-in-residence, and professors at the school and just knew that Katz was the right fit for me. Also, Katz’s reputation for having one of the highest ROIs in the country helped a little bit.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Before applying to the MBA program, I would advise them to do a deep dive into their intentions and expected outcomes from entering the business school. I would advise them to have a purpose and make it very clear to the admissions team. Be yourself, and understand that although the MBA experience is rewarding, it comes with a lot of challenges and sacrifices. Focus is very important and there will be lots of opportunities to test yourself in areas that you are not comfortable with. Embrace those opportunities and learn. These experiences will prepare and develop you to become a future business leader. Finally, have fun and leave your mark at the school and in the Katz community.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth is that Katz is a small school in terms of its student population. Some conclude that this will limit their learning and experience. While it is true that Katz is smaller than some of the bigger MBA programs, this allows for a more intimate classroom experience and an individualized and custom MBA program.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? I wish I had known that failures and setbacks will be inevitable during the program. These setbacks help you grow professionally and you should use the academic environment to get comfortable with uncertainty and explore things you don’t know fearlessly.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? The biggest transformation in my perspective was learning the ability to see the big picture. As an engineer in my last job, I was very siloed in my position. I have now realized that there is enormous potential that is underutilized in organizations since the available synergies are not leveraged. My experiences with the finance classes have changed my perception of what represents a financially successful business, something that was missing my knowledge base.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Justin Burdette – Justin is very disciplined, process-oriented, and a critical thinker with whom I had the privilege to work with on a number of school projects. Justin brings it, every hour, every day, every assignment, every project. I am proud to call him a friend and look forward to following his career in the future.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father was my biggest influence in my decision to pursue business in college. He has an MBA himself, and I have seen him leverage his skills to become very successful in his professional career. He taught me that it was important for me to develop strategic thinking mindset and develop my knowledge base that can be applied universally, which would allow me to become a business leader in the future in any industry I choose.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? Circle of Death – In my first year at MBA program at a networking event I was told to be aware of the circle of death. I had no idea what it meant until I was part of one and things became very clear. Usually, at networking events, there are more students than potential employers. Inevitably there is a group of students talking to one employer representative, and then begins the game of back-and-forth questions and answers. This circle of students and employer is infamously known as The Circle of Death.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working as an R&D Team Lead trying to commercialize new telecommunication technologies.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? My valuation professor would probably not be proud of my answer, but I don’t think I can put a dollar value on my MBA experience. It was worth much more than what I paid for and the experience has transformed me into a business professional that I had no idea I could be.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Vacation in Isle of Skye, Scotland
  • Get a graduation picture on the top floor of Cathedral of Learning, which is 163 m high and a centerpiece at the University of Pittsburgh

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want to be remembered as someone who was very approachable who led both with confidence and empathy, achieving his goals while also helping others to succeed.

Hobbies? Playing Soccer, watching sports, cooking new recipes, playing chess, cycling

What made Ananya such an invaluable member of the Class of 2019?

“Ananya Gupta can be described as a class leader. He takes pride in making Katz and the University of Pittsburgh a better place, which is a characteristic his peers admire. Five years of prior work experience in telecommunications research and development in multiple countries helped build his strong sense of globalism and work ethic. He currently maintains a high academic standing, making the Dean’s list in the spring and fall of 2018. But what makes Ananya exceptional is that he actually spends more time helping his fellow students than he does sitting in a classroom. He has exemplified this through leadership, networking, service, and mentorship. You can regularly find Ananya:

  • Helping to plan a university-wide case interview event directly benefitting over 30 students to perfect their interviewing skills;
  • Connecting his internship employer to one of our experienced-based-learning faculty members, which has resulted in a new consulting field project course relationship;
  • Serving as a Katz Ambassador to help answer student questions and provide advice; and
  • Mentoring our first-year MBA students to assist them with everything from interview preparation to making course selections.

As the President of the Katz Consulting Club, Ananya excels at building relationships and making connections which has brought numerous presenters to campus to educate students on consulting careers, as well as numerous networking opportunities. He has served as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for our Managerial Economics course and currently serves as a TA for our Executive MBA class. While all of Ananya’s leadership and volunteer activities are too numerous to list, some highlights include:

  • Working with Crane Co. executive leadership to co-write the case for the Katz Invitational Case Competition, which will host 10 schools from the U.S. and Canada competing for the grand prize of $10K;
  • Leading his Toshiba consulting field project team to a first-place victory in the final competition, which received positive accolades from the company;
  • Winning alongside his team at the University of Connecticut Sustainability Case Competition, which measured and qualified the impact of CSR for United Technologies;
  • Serving as the President of his Management Simulation capstone course company, he received excellent feedback from his teammates and course professor regarding his leadership abilities;
  • Volunteering for Pitt Make a Difference Day which works to beautify Pittsburgh; and
  • Serving as a volunteer for Student Executive Board activities and on the student committee to interview key director level staff positions at Katz.

It is clear that Ananya is a true pioneer and emulates many leadership qualities. It is an honor to nominate him—we are proud to have him as part of the Katz community.”

Dana Romano
Associate Director of Career Management
University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

DON’T MISS: POETS&QUANTS’ HONOR ROLL OF THE WORLD’S 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAs GRADUATES IN THE CLASS OF 2019