2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Richa Goyat, University of Chicago (Booth)

Richa Goyat

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“I am a natural leader and die-hard optimist who loves improving things.”

Hometown: Faridabad, Haryana (India)

Fun fact about yourself: I love dogs and one of my oldest memory is that of playing with the stray ones near my house in India. I have been bitten more times than I can remember – and had the anti-rabies shots – but I still love taking care of them whenever I am back home in India. Once bitten twice shy doesn’t apply my case somehow.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • School: Birla Institute of Technology & Science (India)
    • Degree: Master in Science (Technology) Information Systems
  • School: Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (India)
    • Degree: Post Graduate Diploma in Management

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? AT Kearney as an Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Amazon.com (Seattle, USA)

Where will you be working after graduation? Amazon.com (Seattle, USA)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Advocate for STEM at Booth
  • President of Rockefeller Cohort: Elected by 60 classmates to represent them on the Graduate Business Council for our two years at Booth.
  • Active member of Graduate Business Council (GBC): Responsible for discussing and deciding topics important for student body as they come up in the school year such as grade non-disclosure policy, recruiting support, student social interactions, etc.
  • Active member of Booth Technology Club: Mentored (on-going) a group of seven first-years to help them prepare for interviews and applications for tech roles.
  • Active member of Class Gift Committee: Responsible for deciding class gift and implementation details for Booth Class of 2020, as well as raising money from our classmates.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of advocating for STEM at Booth and working with my school’s management to make it happen. When I joined Booth, there was no talk of STEM and I was the lone student passionate about it. I started working with Dean Kole, our Deputy Dean for MBA Programs, in October 2018 on getting some of Booth’s concentrations STEM certified. It took us almost a year to gather information, explore alternatives, and make the case to the University. Finally, in September 2019, we got STEM-certification for two of our concentrations: Business Analytics and Analytic Finance. On April 1 this year, our entire MBA degree was announced to be STEM eligible.

I am most proud of this achievement because of the impact it has on my international classmates (30% of the class) and on all the Booth classes to come. Being STEM eligible means that international students can apply for a two-year extension of their OPT (i.e. they can stay and work in the US for two more years). These two years gives them two extra chances on the coveted H1B lottery and additional time to build their experience as well as pay off costly student loans. The two additional years provide professional and personal stability to international students who have left their home countries to build a new life in the US. I am really happy that, as a student, I was able to single-handedly advocate for this big change at Booth.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As a management consultant at AT Kearney, I was part of the team that helped build a government organization from the ground up.

I am most proud of this achievement because, outside of the professional impact, I saw the personal impact I had on my client team. I trained my client staff, comprising mostly of women, in their daily responsibilities which required them to communicate and gather information across different departments of the organization. There were deep cultural barriers in junior ranking women questioning and reviewing senior officials. I trained them professionally and personally on communicating effectively and confidently to fulfill their responsibilities and am really proud of their remarkable progress.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor at Booth is Joao Granja, who taught me Financial Accounting. Before Booth, I hated accounting and was almost scared of having a mandatory course on it. But Professor Granja’s sincerity and amazing teaching style made me fall in love with accounting. I looked forward to his class every week and even started appreciating the nuances of the subject. He is my favorite professor because he turned something I dreaded into an interesting intellectual pursuit, and in the process taught me that I can learn any subject if I approach it with the right mindset.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? During the COVID-19 crisis, Booth students have developed a new tradition of organizing virtual events out of game nights, which has become my new favorite. I think it shows the resilience and camaraderie of the Booth community. Instead of focusing on their own concerns, people are reaching out to even classmates they don’t know that well and inviting them for games to ensure no one feels left out. I think it is a great example of focusing on the positive and giving something back.

Why did you choose this business school? Booth, to me, symbolizes “intellectual curiosity.” It is most evident in the distinguished professors and their stimulating treatment of even the most basic subjects. I saw this in my accounting class and the flexible curriculum, which allows students like me to create their own academic experience from the very first semester. I chose Booth so that this intellectual curiosity becomes a part of my DNA and I keep questioning my surroundings and finding ways to improve my communities.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I’d recommend being very clear about why you want to do an MBA and how Booth can help you, especially in these uncertain times. This is the most important question in the application.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think Booth is supposed to be a very ‘nerdy’ school, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a great mix of classmates from veterans to entrepreneurs to sommeliers. We are data-driven, but I don’t think that qualifies as being nerdy.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have participated in more student clubs. There are still plenty of amazing classmates I can learn from, but I haven’t been able to meet or spend time with them because of our bigger class size and flexible class schedule.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I think my friend Dana Sun is amazing because she is a rare combination of being one of the warmest and the most motivated person I know. At the beginning of our MBA – when we hardly knew each other – she encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and stand for the cohort election. I also found her to be an excellent teammate in one of our courses. She has been gracefully managing the full-time MBA coursework, two part-time internships, planning her own wedding, and multiple other social and professional engagements – all while maintaining a positive attitude. Even during this pandemic, she has been working with our classmates to find ways of helping small businesses get government funding. I admire her resilience and her ability to contribute in so many ways to her communities.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I don’t think this question is applicable as I did engineering, not business, in college. After working for a few years, I got interested in business and that’s why chose to switch.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I am switching to product management after Booth, which is a new field for me. That’s why my top two items are:

  • Work with amazing Product Managers so that I can learn from them
  • Build a really interesting product that will help people

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Richa saw that things could be better and did something about it.

Hobbies? I love reading, both fiction and non-fiction, and playing sports, particularly basketball.

What made Richa such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“While Chicago Booth is full of students with constructive ideas to better our community, few in my more than 15 years at the school have been as effective as Richa Goyat at delivering on her ideas. Richa came forward with an opportunity, benchmarking data that matched our understanding of our peer schools, and the offer to help. Richa never expected to benefit from her work, knowing that institutions move slowly: she hoped to help the next generation and felt that would be enough. Richa’s polite persistence and effective collaboration with her peers is impressive and I have no doubt that she will add luster to the Booth brand in the future.”

Stacey R. Kole
Deputy Dean for MBA Programs and Clinical Professor of Economics


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