2020 MBAs To Watch: Kruti Kanojia, Boston University (Questrom)

Kruti Kanojia

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

Between kids, school, and starting a company, I’m a fierce multitasker. Extra spicy, extra guac.”

Hometown: Victoria, TX

Fun fact about yourself: Out of the nine times I’ve been pulled over, I’ve only gotten one ticket.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Texas at Austin, BS. Communication Studies; BS. Public Relations

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Director of Digital Strategy at Media Cause, a digital marketing agency for nonprofits and social enterprises

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? I won a spot in the BUild Lab’s Summer Accelerator, where I launched Healthy Gamer, a mental health platform for gamers.

Where will you be working after graduation? Healthy Gamer, CEO

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: New Venture Competition Finalist; Entrepreneurship Learning Community; TechConnect 2020 Panelist “The Future of Gaming”; “Most Supportive” Summer Accelerator Member

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The Female Founders Fellowship through The Capital Network in Boston. I was exposed to TCN through the BUild Lab. This cohort of founders are visionaries in healthcare and consumer technology, and I’m honored to join them. It’s great to be connected in the professional Boston venture community and see so many of the decisions I’ve made as a student entrepreneur and first-time founder validated.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Catapulting Healthy Gamer into one of the fastest-growing brands in the gaming industry with 100,000 followers on Twitch in just four months. The launch of our beta for the Healthy Gamer Recovery Coach service will be my proudest moment as it is one step closer to redefining mental health services for this decade. The Healthy Gamer team is the single most passionate, highest functioning team I’ve ever worked with.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Ian Mashiter, who runs the Build Lab and is a Strategy & Innovation Senior Lecturer. I’ve taken two entrepreneurship classes with Professor Mashiter, through which I’ve met several influential people in the Boston venture/angel community, developed a full business plan, and honed strategic entrepreneurship thinking. He’s encouraged Healthy Gamer from the very beginning and instantly “got it” when many in the tech and health sectors didn’t. He’s got a dry British humor, which makes him a pleasure to pitch to even when you get shot down.

Why did you choose this business school? The BUild Lab at Boston University and the HSM (Health Sector Management) program at Questrom are why I decided to attend BU. It is a place where I could think critically about redefining mental health to be more accessible and more affordable. My goal was to give Healthy Gamer the best possible shot at success. Being at Questrom has given me the revelation that while others are working on mental health delivery, the real issue is labor – the way it is regulated, priced, and utilized. If I were in only an incubator program or in a regular MBA, I’m not sure I would have seen this quite so clearly.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Talk to students and alumni to get a feel for the community. Take the time to find the faculty who will be your champion (you will find many!). Come in with an open mind.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Boston University is that it is hockey crazy. I come from a football-crazy school (The University of Texas at Austin), and let me tell you – these guys are way more balanced. Unless you mention the Red Sox. Please don’t mention the Red Sox.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would be more humble coming in. As an older MBA candidate, it was easy to dismiss the younger students as being inexperienced or naive. I’ve learned either directly or indirectly from each of the ~150 other students. It’s made me a better CEO, a better teammate, and a better person.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Rob Harris. He’s a former teacher who dedicated his MBA career to making Questrom a better place. He is relentless about collecting feedback and a natural leader. He is the most gracious finance whiz I’ve ever met.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad. He is a NASA engineer-turned-entrepreneur. He encouraged me to take the risky job out of school (a startup that ended up being acquired and rocket fuel for my own career) instead of the traditional career path. He insisted on my completing an MBA, arguing that my ideas were already being adopted, so all I needed were the network and the formal education to be confident in launching something on my own. He helped me see that the scale at which I could operate as an MBA would be significantly larger.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?  My goal with Healthy Gamer and a Health Sector Management MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship is to redefine the way mental health care is conceptualized. The top two items to achieve this are: gaining adoption of the Healthy Gamer Recovery Coaching model by the Department of Public Health and growing the platform to 10,000 coaching clients.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who loved a good discussion, who could change your mind while also willing to change my own.

Hobbies? Dancing with my two girls (2 and 4 years old). Singing ALL the toddler songs at top volume. Teaching them how to paint and scooter. Helping them articulate themselves – they’re brilliant.

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

“Kruti has been an active part of our Innovation Community since she began her MBA studies here at Boston University. Her identification of a large and growing societal problem around gaming addition especially in teenage boys resonated with all of us. She formed her company Healthy Gamer to specifically address these problems and provide solutions for those directly affected and their families.  She started diligently testing solutions with both kids and their parents. Leveraging her digital marketing background, she has also been testing different channels looking for the optimal way to reach her customers. This “test and measure” approach to building your startup reflects the teachings of entrepreneurial thought leaders such Eric Reiss and Steve Blank and it has been great to see Kruti following these best practices.

During her time here, she has taken advantage of the many programs and resources that the BU Innovation Lab offers including competitions and accelerators. Kruti is also generous with her time in helping other entrepreneurs in the innovation lab. She also “pays it forward” by presenting and being a panelist for a number of entrepreneurial themed events. Kruti has also engaged with the Boston entrepreneurial community and was selected by The Capital Network a local no-profit for a female founder fellowship.

Healthy Gamer is tacking an emerging social problem that is detrimentally impacting many peoples’ lives and through Kruti’s leadership and drive they are poised to make sure that the young people affected can recover and lead happy and successful lives. I have seen her present her company several times to leading investors in Boston and the reaction has always been very positive. They understood that it is was a big problem and the team had the right expertise to tackle it. Her sense of mission has been an inspiration to her classmates and to many aspiring entrepreneurs within our BU community. I have no doubt that Kruti and Health Gamer will be successful.”

Ian Mashiter
Managing Director of the BUild Lab
Senior Lecturer Questrom School of Business
Boston University



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