Meet the MBA Class of 2021: The Go-Getters

Rohit Dayal

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“Always juggling a soccer ball, taking breaks for delicious meals and making new friends.”

Hometown: Old Bridge, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: Before the MBA began, I went on a three-week-long trip of Europe that included watching the United States win the World Cup final (at the stadium), embarking on a three-city, 24-hour food tour of Northern Italy, and ending up guest bartending in a speakeasy in Paris.

Undergraduate School and Major: Johns Hopkins University

Dual Major: Biomedical Engineering and Applied Math & Statistics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Ignyte Group (boutique consulting firm), Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Coming from Deloitte to a small consulting firm of three people was a jarring experience. Very quickly, I learned about understanding client needs, bringing products to market quickly, leading teams, and business development. My most recent challenge was growing Ignyte’s new account at the House of Representatives from a team of one (just me) to a multi-project portfolio. This challenge forced me to utilize every skill I developed over my years as a consultant, which made me realize how much I had learned. There were tangible results; I was able to find opportunities analyzing new constituent management systems to help Congress better serve citizens and train incoming Congressional staff. We were able to build our presence to five new individuals which accounted for seven percent of the company’s revenue that year.

This challenge also made me realize that there is still room for growth including leading teams and building client relationships – which I’d like to develop at Tepper.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Inspiring.

My classmates and I have made every effort to meet after class and discuss the day’s events on campus, reflecting on something new we learned in a class, or applying that lesson to our previous job roles. The favorite question my group of friends has asked each other every day is, “Who is the most interesting new person you’ve met today?” The Tepper program has people from so many countries, jobs, value systems, and walks of life. This question forces us to step out of our comfort zone and meet these people, learn from them, and understand what makes them tick. With such an intimate class size, it is almost a disservice if you don’t.

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? The Accelerate Leadership Center. Coming into the MBA, I’ve noted down many leadership capabilities I’ve wanted to develop. The Accelerate Leadership Center provides professional leadership coaches (who are full-time Tepper staff) to train MBAs on how to be better leaders through in-person coaching sessions, real-time feedback, and leadership assessments. It is the only MBA program I have found with such a program. The Accelerate Leadership coaches are extremely charismatic and meeting them over Welcome Weekend solidified my decision to attend Tepper.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to the Soccer Club the most. I have an intense passion for the beautiful game and have played it since I was four-years-old. It has taught me great lessons about work ethic, teamwork, and leadership. In DC, where I was before school, I played in three different leagues in any given season (including the winter!). Soccer is my way to escape the pressures that will invariably come from business school. Soccer has always been a great centering force for me. In addition, I’m looking forward to competing in the nationwide MBA soccer tournaments in LA, Austin, and Durham!

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What do you plan on giving back to the school while you are in the MBA?

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Many of the roles I sought in industry post-consulting required an MBA. Additionally, my most recent job allowed me to be in close proximity to CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, COOs, and other executives at large public- and private-sector organizations. This taught me that to excel in an executive-level position – where I hope to be in 10 years time – it is imperative to have a holistic view of your organization, the external marketplace, and make key business decisions based on multiple factors. I felt that the MBA was the fastest way to develop this strategic perspective of approaching business.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard, MIT Sloan, Michigan Ross, Berkeley Haas, London Business School

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Building skills. I pursued an MBA because it would allow me to gain new skillsets that I would carry with me for the rest of my professional career. In your 20s and 30s, I firmly believe that building skillsets, being able to clearly articulate them to employers, and execute these in businesses will set you up for success in the rest of your career.

I looked for schools that would best help me build these skills – both the ones I had that I wanted to improve as well as the ones I knew I lacked. I took notes on the skills I wanted to gain and then made a point to visit each school I applied to and speak to multiple alumni and faculty to learn more about the program.

Tepper’s focus on the business side (marketing, finance, operations, logistics) coupled with how it intersected with technology was the perfect avenue for me to build core skills that dovetailed perfectly with where I believe the marketplace is headed in the future.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My transition from Deloitte to Ignyte was the most defining experience in my career. At a large consulting firm, there is an incredible support system already built-in. At Ignyte, I was brought in as the third employee. I no longer had a large team to lean on to provide excellent results for our clients. Instead, I was forced to no longer just take on one role, but rather several. There was one particular project where I led a team of six consultants, and we had failed to deliver. It made me realize that being a leader meant owning every aspect of a project – not just the success but also the failures. As a leader, you’re not only accountable to yourself, but also senior management and your team. From that moment on, I took nothing for granted and understood the true value and responsibilities of what it meant to be a leader.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In 10 years, I want to be an executive at a large organization focusing on setting their marketing strategy and vision while working with a highly motivated team, that I built, to help execute that strategy.

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