2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Megha Kosaraju, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Megha Kosaraju

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

“Striving to improve healthcare access & affordability around the world.”

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Fun fact about yourself: I hiked one of the only routes of Table Mountain that go exclusively up to the front face of the mountain (with no hiking experience) and lived to tell the tale.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Pennsylvania, BA in Health & Societies – Concentration in Health Care Markets & Finance

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Lumere, New Business Strategy Team

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? As a One-Year (“1Y”) MBA student, I started my Kellogg experience during the summer of 2018!

Where will you be working after graduation? Medtronic’s Leadership Development Rotational Program. My first rotation will be with Medtronic Labs – an incubator within the company dedicated to developing solutions for underserved patients in emerging markets.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Kellogg Student Association – 1Y Rep for Personal Development & Wellness, 1Y Liaison for Admissions, Research Lead supporting Maziwa (a classmate’s startup at The Garage)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? This year, I served as the first-ever 1Y representative on the Kellogg Student Association’s Personal Development & Wellness Committee. As part of the committee’s goal to provide Kellogg students with better access to mental health support, I curated a set of local resources for students affected by substance abuse. Although the environment is ripe with triggers, substance abuse is rarely openly discussed at business school. Additionally, university-wide resources are typically catered toward undergrad students. By bringing resources to Kellogg students’ fingertips, I hope that this small step continues to open the discussion on mental wellness and provide students with the support they are looking for.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my time at Lumere, I developed the company’s first software output to make it to the desk of a hospital’s Chief Medical Officer. As an organization dedicated to using an evidence-based approach to reducing the cost of care, we constantly strove to engage physicians in cost-related decisions. However, our typical outputs were not personalized or patient-specific enough to make the conversation real. While developing prototypes of a new piece of software, I took a different approach to presenting information in a way that engaged this critical set of stakeholders through the data that mattered most to them.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I had an incredible experience in Ned Smith’s class – Strategy Implementation. His teaching style combined a mix of real-world data, cases, and discussion in a way that brought applications of management to life. He artfully guided classroom discussion by enabling students to feel like we were teaching each other as often as he was teaching us. If you had a question that he didn’t have the answer to, you could count on him looking into it and getting back to you.

What was your favorite MBA Course? I think the class that changed my outlook most has been Healthcare Strategy. Even though I’ve studied and worked in healthcare for almost 10 years, the ever-changing industry always has more to teach me. I walk out of every single one of Professor Garthwaite’s classes feeling like I’ve gained an entirely new perspective on incentives and structural challenges within the industry. It has been a great application of Kellogg’s economics-first approach to the Strategy curriculum.

Why did you choose this business school? Kellogg’s unique One-Year Program gave me the opportunity to have a full-time MBA experience without giving up two years in an industry that I was eager to continue impacting. Culturally, I found Kellogg to be the kind of place where students are constantly willing to both learn from and teach each other. There is an incredible sense of mutual respect among students that turns into rich classroom conversation and deep connections outside of the classroom.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Get to know the school well. Kellogg’s culture is very much built on the connection that individual students have with the school. Admissions will really appreciate hearing about your unique perspectives on how that culture and environment resonate with you.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? You don’t have to take a professor’s class to get to know them! After getting to Kellogg, I was so impressed with how willing professors were to chat with students one-on-one to provide advice and insight, even if they never had you in their classroom.

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 since starting last June has been in the way I approach confidence. Taking Personal Leadership Insights really helped me work on insecurities in my leadership style and conscientiously work on improving them through the resources at Kellogg. One of the biggest transformations has also been in just hearing my classmates stories and remembering that no matter how impressive someone is on the outside, they always have a deeper story to be shared.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Sahar Jamal. Sahar has embodied dedication to social impact as she went from interning at a maternity clinic in East Africa last summer to go on to start her own venture to develop a better breast pump for working mothers in Kenya. I’ve been honored to help her out with this project and continue to be impressed by how gracefully she gets things done for classes and her business – while still managing to do thoughtful things for her wide-reaching groups of friends!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? As an undergrad, I initially thought I was going to be Pre-Med. I took Health Care Systems 101 to familiarize myself with the context of medicine but became fascinated with the strategic intricacies of the industry during a guest lecture on the pharmaceutical industry. I had always thought of business as just spreadsheets, but this one lecturer brought to light that the world of business in healthcare was about so much more – managing regulatory issues, strategic competition, and sales, all while balancing the critical question of access to life or death treatments. After that class, I never looked back.

What is your favorite movie about business? Okja – I learned that corporate purpose is one thing, but the ethics of the way it is executed is just as important.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working abroad in a country where I could practice my (rusty) French.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? The dollar value of my MBA would probably be at least as much as Kellogg’s two-year program. I think it was worth more than what I paid for it! I felt that in one year I was able to take advantage of the same experiences and opportunities to engage with an incredible student and faculty body as I would have in two years. From a long-term value standpoint, I was able to catapult into a role and career path that I wouldn’t have had access to unless I pursued an MBA, without the opportunity cost of an extra year out of the workforce.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? (1) Take a food tasting tour around the world and (2) Visit New Zealand.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? An approachable classmate that makes intellectual connections in the classroom and deep connections in the community.

Hobbies? Chicago has been a great city to support my loves of trying new food, exploring different workout classes, and enjoying simple outdoor time by the river or lake (when the weather is nice!). I am also incredibly fascinated with books like Sapiens that explore humans’ physical and cultural evolution.

What made Megha such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Megha – a role model in my Personal Leadership Insights course and the Kellogg MBA Leadership Development System – initially caught my attention for being extremely passionate about leadership development for herself and the entire Kellogg community. She was literally the first person to approach me, during new-student orientation, about how to maximize the value of all Kellogg’s leadership development offerings. Later, in my classes, Megha demonstrated extraordinary self-reflection and self-awareness while pursuing a purpose greater than the maximization of financial wealth for individuals, organizations or markets.”

Paul Corona

Clinical Professor of Leadership

Kellogg School of Management



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