2020 MBAs To Watch: Hridoy Kr Das, University of Wisconsin

Hridoy Kr Das

The Wisconsin School of Business

Skilled problem-solver with a strong analytics background, determined to make an impact in business operations.”

Hometown: Guwahati, Assam, India

Fun fact about yourself: Though I am 31 years old, I still look like a school kid

Undergraduate School and Degree: Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur – Electronics and Communication Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

John Deere India Pvt. Ltd., Pune, India

Role: Associate Tech Lead (Analytics Solutions Delivery: Digital Transformation)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Johnson Controls – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Where will you be working after graduation?

Amazon, Seattle, Washington

Role: Pathways Operations Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • International Representative of the master’s program – 2019
  • Kelley Ketchum Memorial Alumni Scholarship Award – 2019
  • Featured in the Fall 2019 Alumni Magazine
  • WSB Alumni Fellowship Award – 2018

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As a part of Grainger Centre for supply chain management industry collaboration, we worked for a non-profit organization, Porchlight Kitchen, to streamline their supply chain and to determine their financial health. Porchlight Kitchen produces non-perishable food items using locally sourced ingredients by employing homeless people. The main purpose of Porchlight Kitchen is to provide stable employment and economic self-sufficiency to the needy ones.

My colleague (Cher Huang, MBA’20) and I got the opportunity to participate in this project. By digitizing Porchlight’s data, we created a model that would enable Porchlight to maximize its resource utilization, thus enabling them to save money. We were able to forecast sales and supplies and consolidate their vendor list, thus enabling us to phase out their less profitable products while focusing on their core strengths. The reason that this project was so important to me was that by utilizing the knowledge that I had gained from my school; I was able to help the porchlight which in turn was able to amplify their impact to society.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In 2015, my team was assigned to work on an ambitious project in which we were analyzing machine telematics data to create a platform that would help customers in monitoring the health of their machines. Our team invested six months into this project, and we were able to deliver a portion of the solution yet. Still, we lost the project to a third-party vendor. However, three months down the line, our manager decided to take another ambitious challenge to develop a predictive machine learning algorithm for predicting machine failure using telematics data. We leveraged the lessons that we learned from our previous experience and developed the algorithms that could predict machine failure and probable parts needed. By looking at the novelty of the algorithm, the organization decided to file its first analytics patent in its 180 years history. It is my proudest moment as it taught me the most valuable lesson of my life: failure is just a building block of success. We were successful because we focused on the learnings not on the failure.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? One of the main reasons for pursuing an MBA was to develop firm strategic thinking. Before coming to the business school, I had difficulty in getting my hands around this concept. Fortunately, in the second semester, we had the opportunity to take Professor Hart Posen’s Strategy class, which equipped me with the tools and processes needed to develop a strategic mindset. Posen’s pedagogy was outstanding, as it enabled me to think holistically about the problems and the associated symptoms which often confuses many people. Further, the cases were deftly-chosen to enable us to evaluate pitfalls that people often fail to notice but have long-lasting implications.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA event is Weikel Leadership Speaker Series, a fall semester activity that provides a vivid learning experience for WSB’s Master students. In this event, we get to hear from successful Wisconsin alumni and other business leaders about their experiences and their valuable suggestions. It was really inspiring to hear from people who had achieved success. This series not only gives us an opportunity to learn from the experiences of the industry leaders but also is one of the few occasions that brings together the students from WSB’s three MBA programs: full-time, evening, and executive. This unique event was is one of the highlights of the Wisconsin School of Business, and I would highly recommend that it can be included in the Business School of other Universities as well.

Why did you choose this business school? After my graduation, I worked in the data and analytics domain for an agricultural equipment manufacturing company. My job was to analyze vast amounts of data and generate insights by utilizing that data. Over time, I realized that I was lacking a broader perspective around business decision-making, which was a key ingredient for reaping the benefits of data-driven decision-making. This is where I came to know about Wisconsin’s Supply Chain Management program, which was designed to provide students with business foundational knowledge and domain-specific knowledge. The program heavily focuses on applied learning (i.e. learning from industry experts about the practical nuances of the theoretical leanings). This is exactly what I was looking for, an avenue where I could fill in the gaps in my knowledge by working on the actual business problems and presenting my solutions to the C-suite. Having almost completed my MBA journey, I can confidently say that coming to the Wisconsin School of Business was the best decision of my life.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Never give up! Yes, you may fail, but that’s okay. Learn from your mistakes and pursue your dreams.

What is the biggest myth about your school? People often think that the WSB is only known for Brand Management and Market Research. Contrary to this belief, Grainger Centre of Supply Chain Management was ranked among the top 10 graduate supply chain degree programs in North America by Gartner in 2018. In spite of being a small center, we have access to all the resources and industry connections that one would like to have in a business program. Our alumni currently hold strategic positions at various top tier manufacturing and distribution companies and are always eager to guide the young badgers.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?As a part of the WSB’s MBA program, I got the opportunity to work along with many young and talented classmates. My peers bring to the table extensive and valuable experience from multiple domains, which helped to see the business problems through multiple lenses. If I could do one thing differently, then I would certainly spend much more time with my peers and learn more from their professional and personal experiences.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? My favorite classmate is Christopher Paul Zaczyk, an active duty US Army soldier who brings years of leadership experience from his multiple combat tours. I am fortunate to become a classmate to this guy, as the amount of energy, positivity, and perspective he brings to our class is simply fabulous. His unique experiences and arguments, which are purely based on logic and real-life evidence, have been very insightful and added value to our classroom discussion. Chris has been very involved throughout the MBA program, having also served as the President of GBA, the largest student organization of the MBA program. Chris is respected by everyone in the program and has a charming personality. His amicable nature makes it easy for everyone to approach him and I can count on him whenever I need advice. With complete respect from my heart, I salute Chris for being a role model of Wisconsin’s MBA program.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I am fortunate to have my first manager, Mr. Harish Kingre, as a mentor and a friend and it was Harish who motivated me to understand business. While I was the technical guy who was great at playing with numbers, Harish, equipped with his strong business knowledge, was the one to understand what those numbers represented. While working as a Data Analyst with him, I wondered how I could learn those skills and cultivate the skills required to play a decisive leadership role in an organization. I looked up to Harish for his guidance, and it was he who recommended an MBA to gain those foundation skills. Though initially, I had doubts about my capabilities, Harish taught me the valuable lesson of being confident and chasing your dreams relentlessly. It was definitely a hard journey, but Harish’s motivation and a strong mindset gave me the strength to overcome the obstacles.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Become a professor
  2. Work for full-time for an NGO that focuses on underprivileged children education

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A smiling face from an Indian village who refuses to accept defeat.

Hobbies? Play badminton, cooking, Netflix, reading business journals

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

From the moment Hridoy joined the Full-Time MBA program, he has brought an infectious enthusiasm to everything he has done. Coming from humble beginnings in India, Hridoy has never once taken for granted the opportunities he has been afforded in the Wisconsin School of Business, and treasures each and every interaction with his fellow students. He is truly the epitome of the “American Dream” – coming to the United States in hopes of making his dreams come true for all those back home who supported his unbelievable journey of success. Through his amazing life, Hridoy has never been the person to say “I can’t”….he is the person to say “Let’s make it happen”.

When his fellow students need support, Hridoy is the first one to raise his hand to help. Whether it is conducting mock interviews, supporting students as a teaching assistant, or just being a shoulder to lean on, Hridoy will give his time, energy, and selfless heart to help those in need. No task is too big or too small, and he never takes a single opportunity for granted. He goes above and beyond in all areas of his life, with a smile on his face and a constant reminder to never take anything for granted.

Each time I bring up Hridoy Das to his fellow classmates or colleagues, every single person heaps great words of praise for the contributions he has brought to the community. With the levels of success he has achieved, most people would lose a sense of humbleness, but not Hridoy. He always remembers where he came from, and I am thrilled to see what he accomplishes in his professional life at Amazon, and his personal life in helping his community.”

Sandra Kubat
Assistant Director of Career Management
Full-Time MBA and Specialty MS Programs


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