2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Guneet Malik, Cambridge Judge

Guneet Malik

Cambridge Judge Business School

“Analytics and public policy professional, passionate about positively impacting business and society.”

Hometown: Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

Fun fact about yourself: My dad was in the Indian Army, so the first motor vehicle I learned how to drive was a main battle tank.

Undergraduate School and Degree: SRM University Chennai, India – Computer Science Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Invest India, Assistant Manager. Invest India is India’s National Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) running the flagship Startup India and Make in India initiatives. I was responsible for data analytics, policy, and regulations for Startup India.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Prior to the MBA, I was working full time at Invest India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. I did a pre-MBA internship at a leading social impact consulting firm, Sattva, in Gurgaon, India.

Where will you be working after graduation? I am considering evidence-based policy roles at Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), international development agencies, and multi-laterals.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am Co-President of the Cambridge Business School Club and part of the student council of the Cambridge Judge Business School. I am also co-chairing the Government and Public Policy SIG group (Special Interest Group for MBAs/MFin students).

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I would like to highlight three instances. First, my curiosity for wanting to know my classmates better made me personally meet and learn the names and nationalities of my entire cohort of 202 students, within one month of the course commencing. Second, I organized ‘Brexit Explained’ talks by distinguished Cambridge economists at the start of the term, to demystify the contentious issue for my MBA class which has 90% international students. In the run up to Brexit and the UK general election, this gave a better understanding of the economic and social implications of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. Third, I am now leading the effort to institute a flagship event for Cambridge Judge Business School that would leverage the technological and entrepreneurial strengths of the Cambridge cluster and be the legacy of our Cambridge MBA Class of 2019/20.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I conceptualized and piloted the startup policy for the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The business environment in J&K isn’t ideal due to an ongoing insurgency, lack of private enterprise, and mistrust towards outsiders. To bridge this trust deficit, I endeared myself to the state bureaucracy and the local startup community. Working closely with stakeholders helped incorporate multiple state-specific interventions in the policy around 24×7 co-working spaces, industry partnerships, and corporate grand challenges. As the first action point, I helped mobilize a state-wide entrepreneurship development programme, the Startup J&K Yatra, in non-metro & rural areas by providing mentorship, incubation, and funding. This impacted 2,500 students and 65 incubation offers, worth US $15K, were rolled out. The policy opened a viable alternate pathway for the educated youth and the larger community.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Formal Hall is a quintessential Cambridge experience of having a multi-course meal in the traditional dining hall of a Cambridge University College. The focus on having meals together helps to bounce off ideas and deepen friendships with scholars across disciplines, all the while in exquisite settings that go as far back as the 13th century.

Why did you choose this business school? Cambridge Judge Business School is a top business school in one of the best universities in the world. Its small class size leads to more intimate relationships and collaborative experiences. Its integrated position in the university, where MBAs constitute just 1% of all students, offers exposure to wider disciplines and enables cross-pollination of ideas. Nothing exemplifies this better than the Silicon Fen, a cluster of high-tech businesses around the greater Cambridge area that grew due to collaboration between academia and industry into Europe’s largest technology cluster. This is an interesting case study for me as a policymaker. My mission of making a positive impact on business and society closely aligns with that of the business school, which provides the means for a rigorous and transformative education. The choice is also personal as my great grandfather, Mukhbain Singh Malik, studied law at Cambridge University from 1907-11. Being here is an opportunity for me to continue the family legacy.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? There’s history in every corner in Cambridge, making it a truly inspirational place. It is an ideal place to come up with the next game-changing idea. Students here are eager to collaborate with classmates in a close-knit environment across the business school and at home in the collegiate system. A flavour of this life can be captured by attending the 24-hour immersive interview day experience, which I highly recommend.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? An MBA in the University of Cambridge has been busy, more so than I had anticipated. There is no lack of intellectual stimulation or evenings out with fellow collaborators. To make the most of the situation, one needs to prioritize and follow a timetable. After one term of running around, sometimes like a headless chicken, I used the clichéd opportunity of the new year’s resolution to finally come up with a personal timetable embedded into my professional one, which has made life much easier.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Daniel Duma, aka ‘Dr. Dan’, was in my study group and Cambridge Venture Project team of five. Even though he was the most experienced, his self-deprecating humor and self-reflective style put the team at ease. He showcased ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking for our consulting project by taking additional lectures outside the business school, at the Engineering Department, and going beyond the project brief by including concepts of organizational behavior in our client presentation. Colleagues like Dan are the X factor that makes teams tick through thick-and-thin. On a personal level, he has a high emotional quotient and an ability to connect at a deeper level. He has counseled me through the ups-and-downs of international student life and has literally been an elder brother I never had.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? The single-most important reason why I am studying at one of the top business schools in the world is my mother. Right from childhood, she made me capable of having an independent line of thought, one that made me look at things differently and challenge the status quo. She also motivated me to apply to the one-year programme at Cambridge Judge, which I feel, is more suited to professionals with a diverse background and higher work experience.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Understand how a developed economy functions and run for public office in India.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone who brought people together, not only to have a good time but also to discuss the most contentious of issues.

Hobbies? Partaking in Pub Quizzes, a very British institution. This is a weekly pilgrimage for some of us on the Cambridge MBA.

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

“Guneet exemplifies many of the values that the Cambridge MBA holds dear. Guneet has become a central point across the class, not only as Class President (co-president) and often spokesperson but he has every single of 202 students on his whatsapp group. He is a natural networker and makes sure he learns something new about the rest of his classmates each day.”

Conrad Chua
MBA Executive Director

“Guneet is a positive and upbeat member of the Cambridge MBA class, and always a delight to speak to. Highly committed to our MBA programme, he continuously initiates new things and has a lot of new ideas to implement. In class, Guneet always develops original and counter-intuitive thoughts, expressing them with a great sense of humour. A great pleasure to have Guneet as a student!”

Lionel Paolella
University Lecturer in Strategy and Organisation (CJBS)


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