2019 MBAs To Watch: Summi Sinha, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Summi Sinha

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“Resilient, Driven, Trustworthy, and Life-Long Learner.”

Hometown: I was born and brought up in a very small town named Hazaribagh in Eastern India.

Fun fact about yourself: As a kid, I wanted to join the FBI; but only because I wanted to help Agents Mulder and Scully (from the X-Files) find the “Truth Out There!”

Undergraduate School and Degree: Kings College London, UK – Master’s degree in HRM & Org Analysis; Vinoba Bhave University, India – Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Manager, Operations and HR, Teach For India (New Delhi, India); Non-Profit Consultant, Amnesty International, and BHF (London, United Kingdom); Associate – Graduate Leadership Program, Life Insurance Corporation (India’s Largest Insurance Firm).

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? M&A Consultant at Ernst and Young (EY) in Chicago, IL

Where will you be working after graduation? Senior M&A Consultant at Ernst and Young (EY) in Chicago, IL

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President of Curriculum, Student Government Association – Represented the MBA students at Graduate Curriculum Standards Committee, and the Faculty Executive Council of the Business School; created opportunities for students to engage with Faculty outside the classroom and learn about their corporate consulting projects.
  • Co-President, Human Capital and Leadership Club – Hosted the first Human Capital Trends Report discussion on campus (sponsored by Deloitte).
  • Impact Consultant – Member of a team of 4 students selected to provide strategy consulting services to a non-profit client as part of community development initiatives at McDonough. It was a great opportunity to develop solutions for a real client in Washington DC, and work with a group of very smart and passionate classmates.
  • Forte Foundation Merit Scholar  
  • MBA Admissions Coffee Chat Host – Co-hosted coffee chats and participated in welcome weekend events for prospective students on campus

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of being selected as VP of Curriculum on the Student Government Association and as an Impact Consultant for the community development initiative at McDonough. Personally, both positions challenged me to get out of my comfort zone of only being focused on recruiting and academics and helped broaden my understanding of managing stakeholder expectations in diverse settings. Professionally, both positions were gratifying as the role of a student representative motivated me to create new opportunities for students, and the position of a consultant representing my school inspired me to deliver value for my client. Most importantly, both positions helped me connect with amazing people in the MBA Program Office, members of Faculty and MBA students. In doing so, I was able to build relationships I will always cherish as part of my time at Georgetown.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The professional experiences of which I am most proud are the ones that challenged me to design solutions for a complex business problem and proved to be tremendous learning opportunities. The most recent experience that meets both these criteria is my summer internship as a Senior M&A Consultant with EY. I had the opportunity to work with the Project Management Office team for a multibillion-dollar deal. I created solutions to deliver value for our client in an industry I had no prior background and successfully received a full-time offer with the firm. Three aspects make me proud of this achievement: the steep learning curve, the joy of solving a problem together with my team (who were incredible mentors and coaches), and the gratification of proving to myself that I can stretch the boundaries of what I think I can accomplish through my determination and willingness to learn, and the goodwill of my friends and mentors.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is such a difficult choice as each professor brings her unique teaching style and passion for their field to the classroom. Academia is an intensely competitive field and three women have inspired me as great role models: Professor Evelyn Williams (Management), Professor Allison Koester (Accounting), and Professor Christine Porath (Management). What stood out for me was their enthusiasm and passion for their research and their ability to engage with a diverse audience. They have not only been great teachers, but also inspiring mentors throughout my time at Georgetown.

What was your favorite MBA Course? There were three courses in the second year of my MBA Program which taught me very different but critical insights about business in general and the field of Mergers and Acquisitions in particular. They were Performance as Value Creation by Professor Jason Schloetzer, which helped me learn critical skills of analyzing the value of a firm; Strategies Beyond the Market by Professor Stephen Weymouth, which explored the intersection of business and policy and helped broaden my understanding of business problems; and Private Equity by Professor David Roux and Professor Richard Morrissey – an incredible class taught by the founding partner of Silver Lake and former managing partner of Sullivan and Cromwell. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this class; it completely transformed my perspective about the field of private equity.

Why did you choose this business school? Georgetown McDonough excels in all three metrics that were critical for me in choosing a business school: strong community and values, well-rounded business education, and good quality of life. The school is renowned for its commitment to principled leadership and the student body truly embodies this value as I found out first in my interactions with alumni during my research and then as a current student. The school provides amazing opportunities for holistic learning. In the first semester itself, along with a challenging core curriculum, the school provides opportunities such as the highly selective Impact Consulting Program so students can gain hands-on experience in different business areas with a strong focus on leadership development. The second year of the program has a compulsory global business project and travel component which is an incredible opportunity to not only travel to an international destination but also gain experience in diverse business and cultural practices. Finally, the location of the school in Washington, D.C. was a huge draw for me. The location of the school brings together the best of both worlds: a quaint and beautiful Georgetown neighborhood with close access to the business hub, which has offices of many Fortune 500 firms.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be authentic and do your research. By bringing your authentic self to every interaction with the school, you will be able to differentiate yourself. By doing your research, such as reaching out to current students and attending on campus or online admissions events, you will be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in becoming part of the program and the Hoya community that we are so proud. The school has a very collaborative culture with students from diverse professional and personal backgrounds. Each one of us – current students or alumni – is always willing to pay it forward by sharing our experiences with prospective students. This is not to say we are not a competitive bunch: one only has to visit the school during the McDonough Cup when cohorts are fiercely competing with each other for the honors!

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. For me, the value of an MBA education is preparing for the unexpected and no amount of prior knowledge or preparation can match the satisfaction of rolling up my sleeves and working with my team to make sense of being thrown at the deep end! Business school is a professional world in a microcosm where you are surrounded by talented and passionate individuals and a lot to learn from their collective experiences. I am very grateful for the work ethic and the lesson taught by my Mom: that I can make the most of any situation by keeping an open mind, reaching out for help, and helping others.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? I had to overcome significant personal challenges before deciding to come to business school. Reflecting back, I can say with conviction that it was the toughest and the best decision I ever made. What makes an experience transformative is the dramatic impact it has on one’s thinking, beliefs, and behaviors; my MBA journey has positively impacted all three aspects for me. I have been challenged by the academic rigor of the program, the intensity of preparing and recruiting for consulting, and taking on leadership opportunities so outside my comfort zone that I might have never considered them. Each one of these aspects has helped me become more resilient, learn something new about my capabilities and potential for growth, and helped me broaden my perspective as a future business leader. Most importantly, I have been inspired by the dedication, work ethic, and crazy time management skills of my teammates, and gained the friendship and mentorship of people that I genuinely admire.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Georgetown curriculum is heavily focused on team culture. MBA students attend core curriculum as members of one of the four cohorts and work with cross-cohort teams in elective courses. The best part of my MBA experience has been getting to work in different teams and learning about the journeys of different classmates. I admire each one of the team members that I have had the opportunity to work. Particularly, being a member of the Saxa cohort has been a privilege – our amazing class president, Andres Romero (El Presidente!) created a weekly newsletter where each cohort member shared about themselves. While some stories made me laugh – and some made me introspective – almost all of them inspired me and made me feel proud that I get to be friends with this wonderful group of people. Also, I much admire the student leaders in my class. In particular, I admire Holly Wolf and Lauren Cosgrove, who led the Graduate Women in Business Club to great heights; and Tyler Deaton and Esme-Thea Rogers, who together led the Graduate Student Association, creating opportunities and experiences for the entire student body.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mom and my sister – two incredible women who are my pillars of strength, and who continuously challenge and inspire me to believe in myself and deliver my best.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…completing a Ph.D. in Organizational Change & Transformation, and working toward becoming a professor.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? The value of my MBA is so much more than what can be measured in dollars! The knowledge, experience, access to opportunities, and most importantly the relationships that I have gained are of unparalleled worth.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Take part in a Marathon
  • Travel to Dunedin in New Zealand

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A resilient, motivated, helpful and kind-hearted individual with a strong sense of possibility that each one of us is capable of doing good and achieving much more than we can imagine.

Hobbies? Reading (classics, non-fiction, anything that catches my interest!); exploring museums and art galleries, and walking around in historical cities; gardening and hydroponics

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

“Summi Sinha grew up in a small, traditional town in eastern India. She is, in the true sense of the word, extraordinary. Over the summer, she interned at EY as an M&A Summer Senior Consultant. She will return to EY in Chicago after graduation. At Georgetown McDonough, Summi served as the VP of Curriculum for the Student Government Association where she diligently represented the concerns of the student body and worked to connect and introduce faculty and their research to students. She was also the co-president of the Human Capital and Leadership Club, and provided strategic consulting services to a local non-profit as an Impact Consultant. But it is her leadership and service outside of these more traditional roles that distinguish her from others.

Summi is a consummate team player who has the rare blend of intellect, drive, patience, and kindness. Even within the highly stressful landscape of competitive MBA programs, she is someone who remains even-keeled and has a calming presence for all who come into contact with her. When a staff or faculty member needs a thoughtful opinion or additional support for projects or challenges they are facing, she always is the first name mentioned and I have never known her to decline a request for help. She gives tirelessly for the betterment of the school and her fellow students’ experiences. Summi steps in where teammates falter and offer in her quiet, unassuming way to help. She is a student that has tapped into the pulse of the student experience, not just from the front within the leadership ranks, but one who has earned the trust of those whose steps have been more faltering.

Summi’s ability to take stressful situations and pivot them into learning moments and opportunities for growth is unmatched by other students, as is her ability to offer solutions to complex problems. Few students in my almost 22 years in higher education have moved and humbled me as Summi has. She is a selfless leader that does not offer excuses; she gets things done, despite any personal, academic or professional challenges. She has extraordinarily high expectations of herself and is seemingly unaware that she inspires others to reach high as well. Her humbleness and gentle nature, however, should never be misinterpreted. Summi is a force that will leave the world a better place and Georgetown McDonough is incredibly fortunate to have her as part of our community.”

Kerry Pace
Associate Dean for the MBA Program

Are you a friend of Sumi? Leave a comment to congratulate her.