Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2020

Zuber Memon

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Resilient, thoughtful, compassionate; constantly exploring unknown paths; ardent follower of European football.”

Hometown: Kolhapur, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: The music that I listen to most is film soundtracks, my favorite ones being those composed by Hans Zimmer

Undergraduate School and Major: Manipal Institute of Technology, ’12; Penn State University, ’17;

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: GE India – Healthcare Product Specialist

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While my primary role was the engineering and marketing of affordable healthcare solutions for emerging markets – from critical care devices to radiology imaging systems – I think my best contributions came when I worked alongside our Director of Innovation to help build a culture of entrepreneurship and open innovation inside the walls of GE’s largest corporate R&D center outside the US (Jack Welch Technology Center).

In particular, there were two big initiatives I led: establishing the concept of crowdsourcing in hardware prototyping and engineering (it was only prominent in software back then) and creating an open innovation platform for startups, clinicians, and individual innovators to come together and co-create solutions for some of our most interesting challenges.

I continued these community-building efforts beyond my job through the non-profit CAMTech (based out of Mass General Hospital, Boston) as I supported their innovation programs and hackathons focused on strengthening the healthcare innovation ecosystem in India.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at Stanford GSB so far: I and my team (Squad #62) were among the winners of the Stanford GSB Executive Challenge during the Fall quarter last year.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Intellectual curiosity. Every classmate I have met so far has exhibited openness in listening to diverse ideas and perspectives and the willingness to learn from others’ experiences with a beginner’s mindset.

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 was seeking two things through my MBA experience: an atmosphere to openly explore new ideas and a focus on entrepreneurial learning. Stanford GSB offered both given what I had learned from speaking with several GSB alumni. So far, it has delivered perfectly on both fronts!

What club or activity have you enjoyed the most at Stanford GSB so far? The GSB Venture Studio! I have been exploring a new wellness concept about how people use their personal free time and how we could help them use it to drive their own wellness through habit-loop designs. The resources provided by the Venture Studio – mentors from the startup world, networking opportunities, alumni connect and much more – have been extraordinary.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Given I was the first in my family to step out of my small-town to pursue a proper college education, I wasn’t aware of the breadth of opportunities an MBA could provide me. When I was completing my undergraduate degree, my view of an MBA was something that would lead to the typical banking, finance, and consulting paths a majority of students pursue. It was only a couple of years back when I was working on building the innovation ecosystem for GE/CAMTech that I met several entrepreneurs and impact investors who had chosen unconventional paths through their MBA education. With their mentorship, my perspective changed and I eventually decided to pursue an MBA as a pathway to my long-term goal of entrepreneurship.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? MIT Sloan MBA program & the MS/MBA program at HBS

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Firstly, I wanted to continue my focus on what I had always pursued – Technology for Impact. Secondly, I was looking for schools that had dedicated resources and culture for entrepreneurship. In addition to these two factors, I did my research for the right locations with the best opportunities in my areas of interest: Silicon Valley and Boston stood out. An additional factor I considered was financial aid. I became eligible for GSB’s fellowship for Indian students while applying and had planned to apply to the Legatum Center at MIT if I ended up joining Sloan.

To have a structured approach for my school evaluation, I made use of a tool called ‘Applicant-Lab’ which is a DIY application guidance system.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? During my undergraduate years, I developed a keen interest in healthcare innovation projects and was hopeful of getting opportunities to pursue this interest further upon graduation rather than taking up a job in the conventional industries where most mechanical engineers would end up working (in India, it’s very hard to get opportunities in areas different from your major).

I did get an opportunity towards graduation, but it came with a tough decision to make. I chose a temporary internship (at GE Healthcare) over a couple of stable and lucrative full-time offers in other industries despite the need to begin financially supporting my parents. I knew I was following my true interests, but everyone questioned my choice at that point. In hindsight, without that decision I believe I would have stayed in my comfort zone had I not opted for the internship. That choice was my defining moment.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I am currently exploring two emerging areas while at the GSB – Wellness and Preventive Care and Automation – and I hope to be able to set up my own firm/consultancy focused on solving problems in these broad areas in the near future.

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