2020 MBAs To Watch: Sharmili Parthasarathy, U.C. San Diego (Rady)

Sharmili Parthasarathy

Rady School of Management, University of California San Diego

An avid learner who is driven by curiosity and emotional intelligence.”

Hometown: Chennai, India

Fun fact about yourself: I can spend 15 hours a day watching only movies!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor’s degree in Geoinformatics Engineering from College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University, India                                     

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked as an SAP Consultant at Olam Information Services Pvt. Ltd (Chennai, India)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I interned at WD-40 Company in San Diego, California as their Sourcing Intern. WD-40 Company is a California based manufacturer of household and multi-use products.

Where will you be working after graduation? I am interviewing with a few companies and in the process of deciding.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • I am the President of Rady Operations and Supply Chain Club. I am responsible for organizing club events, managing club budgets, and operations.
  • I serve on the board of Rady Technology Club. I take part in helping the club organize events and manage industry relations.
  • Rady awards merit fellowships to support students based on their prior academic and professional achievements, and I am proud to be one of the recipients.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As the President of Operations and Supply Chain Club, I organized a Supply Chain Risk Management Workshop for the first time at Rady. The event was hosted by Resilinc, in which both students and Supply Chain professionals from various companies participated, collaborated, and learned from one another. It was a successful event that benefited the student community and industry professionals. The entire process of reaching out to companies, planning the logistics, and conducting the event was exciting and helped me strengthen my collaboration and leadership skills.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my internship at WD-40 Company, I was tasked with an assignment to present a Sourcing project for leadership buy-in. As an intern, I got an opportunity to work on an idea from its inception to implementation. I was involved in evaluating the current process, conducting market research, communicating with multiple vendors, evaluating RFPs, performing a cost-benefit analysis, and charting out the project plan. I am glad we got the leadership approval to proceed with the project. This experience is memorable to me because it helped me push myself beyond limits, and I learned from my mentors how an idea could be transformed into implementation through compelling storytelling.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Hyoduk Shin, who taught us Operations Management. He is an exemplary teacher who plans every lecture meticulously and helps students gain expertise in Supply Chain Management through various enterprise projects. He is the faculty guide for Rady Operations and Supply Chain Club and has set up many opportunities for us to collaborate with companies and professionals in San Diego for our club events.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Rady Oktoberfest is hosted every year in which our Rady community comes together to celebrate life and have fun with authentic food and beverages, live music, and entertainment. The event night is exciting, with a lot of games and different dance performances. It was the first event I attended at Rady and will always be a memorable one as I got the opportunity to bond with my cohort and other student communities.

Why did you choose this business school?

  1. Faculty – Rady is home to world-class faculty who have a broad range of industry and research experience in Finance, Consulting, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management.
  2. Electives, Immersion Programs, and Lab to Market – We have a wide range of electives that give students an opportunity to venture into any dimension of business management after graduation. We also have top-notch international immersion programs (Israel Immersion is one of my favorites!) and enterprise consulting projects that help students gain global business exposure.
  3. Location – San Diego is one of the best places to live in California and houses a variety of innovative companies in the Finance, Healthcare, Technology, and Consumer Goods sector.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Rady is a school that celebrates your authenticity and nurtures, and supports your dreams. All you need to do is to showcase your passion for your ambitions, have the curiosity to explore new options, and be open-minded to build a network.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One myth about Rady as a business school is that Rady’s curriculum works best only if you have entrepreneurial interests. However, our school has diverse electives in Technology, Finance, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management and consulting projects. This will help you gain corporate exposure in the Technology, Consumer Goods, Healthcare, Biotech, and Investment Banking sectors.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? UC San Diego is in the heart of an innovation hub and is known for its renowned research projects that benefit society. One thing I’d do differently in my MBA experience is to leverage the knowledge from some of the innovative projects at UC San Diego and collaborate for projects with students from other departments.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kartik Sanghi is from Jaipur, India. He is a passionate and motivated individual who is an expert at prioritizing and handling multiple responsibilities with ease. I am convinced that he has more hours in his days! He is a team player and has always set a positive and comfortable working environment. He is a trustworthy friend whom I look up to.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I have always been inspired by women leaders who have made the impossible seem possible. One of the leaders who influenced me to pursue business is Indra Nooyi – former CEO of PepsiCo. She has motivated women to fight to fulfill their dreams and has managed to carve an exceptional career path despite all social, cultural, and gender challenges.

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

  • I want to continue building my professional network to advance in my career.
  • I wish to get an opportunity in an industry that I have never worked for.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as a kind-hearted, genuine, and open-minded individual.

Hobbies? I watch movies, read books, and write stories.

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

“Sharmili Parthasarathy is a second-year MBA student who is currently taking my Strategic Sourcing class and is also working with me on an Independent Study Project for the Chief Procurement Office, University of California San Diego.

Sharmili is a dynamic and enthusiastic individual who brings a variety of innovative and thought-provoking ideas to the table. In addition to excelling at her coursework, she is an active member of the Rady Student Association, where she leads the Rady Operations and Supply Chain club. In this capacity, she has organized and hosted valuable workshops and panel discussions that have benefitted our students across the school. Sharmili is a delightful person to work with and is always eager to take up new and challenging roles and responsibilities. My different professional roles have allowed me to interact with young people and students from across the country, and I believe that Sharmili is one of the best. I enthusiastically recommend Sharmili for this honor and award on behalf of the Rady School of Management.”

Christopher Gopal, PhD
Member, Defense Business Board (DBB)
Faculty, University of California, San Diego
Faculty, University of Southern California
Strategic Solutions Advisor, OCX Cognition


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