2020 MBAs To Watch: Dharmarraj Sunthar, University of Miami (Herbert)

Dharmarraj Sunthar

University of Miami, Herbert Business School

“Medic-turned-Entrepreneur. I am easily intrigued and inquisitive beyond imagination.”

Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Fun fact about yourself: I love traveling and admiring airport architecture and designs. I have personally photographed more than 50 airports I have traveled to over the last 15 years and have curated them into a photo album.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Undergrad:

University of St Andrews, UK – BSc (Hons) (Medicine) 2012

University of Manchester, UK – MBChB (Medicine) 2015

Graduate:

University of Miami, US – MBA 2020

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

Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust – Medical Doctor

Vichy International, London – Part-time Portfolio Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019?  Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates – Miami, FL

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  1. Led a team of budding consultants to introduce and promote the use of AR technology for Boston Scientific’s end-users in LATAM.
  2. Formed a team that was selected to represent the Business School in the Keybank MBA Case Competition 2019.
  3. Selected as a prestigious Swire Scholar and chosen to represent the Business School at the Real Estate Impact Conference 2020.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Leading a team of professionals in the Boston Scientific consulting project is the achievement I am most proud of in business school. In my capacity as a doctor and a team chief, I understood the problems Boston Scientific was facing early on. We researched five different AR hardware types, visited AR software startups, communicated with industry giants such as Microsoft and Magic Leap, and traveled the US and to Colombia to meet our end-users. We came up with a hardware-software integration for Boston Scientific that is not only cost-effective but also seamless, user-friendly and closely serves its strategic purpose.

Boston Scientific accepted the proposal I presented. To date, they have implemented almost all the solutions we proposed and continuously engage with us. I am both proud and humbled that the product of our work is helping healthcare centers in LATAM increase quality and speed of medical and surgical care while significantly reducing costs and fatal medical errors.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Closing a $52M deal is the achievement I am most proud of. This is seriously a big achievement for someone not having much CRE industry experience. However, I felt my transferable skills from Medicine certainly had a role to play. I was involved in the entire process of the sale of the property from researching and underwriting to drafting the Offering Memorandum and communicating with investors.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Ville Rantala is my favorite. I liked his teaching style a lot owing to his calm and composed personality. He was always open to questions, no matter how basic the question was. Tutor approachability is important to students with no background in business like me as this improves self-confidence, thus he increased student participation both inside and outside the classroom.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Southern Glazer’s Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series is my favorite MBA event at the business school. The event never fails to feature high-profile individuals and leaders in business. What is more is the opportunity for Q&As and networking which I find very exciting and useful at the same time. I have attended most of the lectures and have taken away so much. The most recent talk by Bacardi CEO, Mahesh Madhavan, was certainly educational as he shared his strategy for building a strong management team around him.

Why did you choose this business school? The University of Miami Herbert Business School was on my radar for an MBA for a long time as I contemplated transitioning from medicine to finance and real estate in early 2017. I researched the business school thoroughly and fell in love with the courses it had to offer. I found the courses to be specific to an industry without unnecessary breadth. I was also thankful for the flexibility offered for choosing our electives in Year 2, which many schools did not have.

From my interaction with the alumni, I understood the school has close ties with industry leaders and professionals in Finance and Real Estate, particularly in the Southeast. I loved the campus, the weather, and the location in South Florida. It is the only business school that I felt provided me with the best education and the most opportunity for growth in my field of choice.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? My advice will be to spend a good amount of time deciding what the applicant wants to achieve with an MBA. Even a general idea will suffice. Once this hurdle is overcome, the University of Miami Herbert Business School has everything to offer to steer the applicant in the right direction. The applicant simply has to choose the courses most relevant to them, attend associated events, and network with other like-minded individuals.

Knowing what they want to do in the future is important because only then will they enjoy the courses they take. Otherwise, it would seem laborious to some.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth in my opinion was that it is low in the rankings of MBA programs in the country. First, I do not value rankings as they do not do any justice to the students participating in non-Ivy League programs who are equally good and successful in their own right. Second, the University of Miami Herbert Business School is well-known throughout Florida for its team of high-caliber professors who do a wonderful job.

Third, after having completed almost two-thirds of the program here, I feel I could not have done any better in any other ‘higher’ ranking schools out there. I have put in a lot and I got out a lot more in this school and I am grateful for that.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?I have been engrossed in course work and professional activities that I did not actively participate in organizations and club events that the university has to offer. If given a chance, I would perhaps allocate more time to these.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jack Shelgren III is probably the classmate I admire the most. He is the only other person I could relate to in terms of work ethic, persistence, and determination to succeed. He participates in class, works well in a team, is a natural leader and a good friend.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My wife influenced me the most to pursue business in college. Early 2017, as I contemplated the switch, I thought I had everything to become a real estate investor/entrepreneur straight out of my profession. I was successful in my earlier ventures and was confident I could scale but did not know-how. She constantly reminded me of the risk I was taking and the knowledge I lacked to be successful in this field. I soon realized a business degree was absolutely vital as it would fill in gaps in my knowledge and would be a stepping stone to success.

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

  1. To start very own real estate investment firm/PE firm
  2. To launch pain centers across the US and in emerging markets

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? The only medic in business school who did not pursue the success that most of his peers did but paved his path into finance and real estate guided only by his passion and love for this field.

Hobbies? Property research, stock and currency trading, running, road biking, and simple walks by the beach.

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