2020 MBAs To Watch: Shobhit Gupta, University of Washington (Foster)

Shobhit Gupta

Foster School of Business, University of Washington

Entrepreneur, Traveler, Futurist who is curious to find the new in the world every day.”

Hometown: Lucknow, India

Fun fact about yourself: I believe in filling my soul with activities such as meditation, sports, cooking, mentorship, performing arts, and fitness. It keeps me energized, optimistic and grounded in core truths of life which are love, happiness, and sharing.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Thapar University, India – Bachelors of Engineering –Electrical Electronics and Computer Science

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Founder and CEO, Poletalks (Now part of Hubilo).

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Amazon Web Services

Where will you be working after graduation? Senior Product Manager (Tech), Amazon Web Services

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: President, Foster Tech Club | Board Fellow, Business Impact North West | Executive Vice President, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club | Board Member, Consulting Society | Co-Lead, Foster Business Development Forum mentoring 10+ UW startups

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  As a President to the Tech Club and EVP of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club, I am proud of my contributions to building a strong foundation for the tech community to use Foster School of Business as a center for business and technology in Pacific Northwest. We organized speaking engagements, workshops, company visits, and mentor sessions with leading experts in tech across a suite of topics: Artificial Intelligence, Software as a Service Businesses, Online Marketplaces, Renewable Energy, Healthcare, etc. The professionals enjoyed interacting with students while the students developed a perspective on leading technology trends in the market. In total, we organized more than 20 events, reaching 500+ students and 50+ professionals as a club. I felt my purpose of empowering the PNW to succeed in innovation and collaboration came to life at business school. The community built meaningful relationships which led to mentorship, internships, live projects, and networking.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud of building my startup – Poletalks (now part of Hubilo) – which enabled me to build a team from scratch across six nationalities, 15 members, 20 business customers using a frugal $100K in seed funding based out of India. It helped event attendees engage with each other with IOT and mobile applications.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Lance Young who taught us Entrepreneurial Finance. He has impacted my understanding of entrepreneurship from the capital markets perspective. We created a visual canvas on the whiteboard to understand how all parts of the value chain – assets, cashflows, people, financing etc. – interconnected to each other to create economic value. The professor moved the needle in terms of critical thinking and classroom discussion. With former venture capitalists, lawyers, PhDs, technology experts, managers, financial experts in the room, each HBS case came to life. I remembered the wise words of Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria: “Every time you think you have an opinion to change the perspective of the classroom, wait and listen to other voices in the classroom as someone smarter than you is ready to change your perspective.”

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I enjoyed the Foster MBA tradition of active mentorship and support among MBA students. For example, all the second-year MBA students blocked out time slots on their calendar to help first-year MBA students in their critical Fall and Winter quarter job preparation and academic assistance. Foster School of Business has a small class of 125 students. We know each other personally and have each other’s backs; it can be job interview preparation, assignments, live projects, or networking. We live this feeling of “collective action” each day and help us just a Slack message away.

Why did you choose this business school? I wanted an MBA experience that combined location, tech network, and entrepreneurial ecosystem in a highly customizable MBA program. Foster was the best bet, especially when coupled with its small class which helped me develop personal relationships with professors, peers, and alumni (more than 40% are located in Seattle). I took courses such as Angel Investing where I worked with a VC firm in AI (Flying Fish) over my second-year MBA while being mentored by executives from top tech companies and startups. On top of that, Seattle is one of the fastest-growing tech startup ecosystems in the US. Top companies such as Facebook, Google, Uber, Amazon, Microsoft have their AI/ML headquarters here for the access to talent and thought leaders in tech. Foster is right in the middle of all this action with alumni and professors connected deeply to the business ecosystem.

I am also an avid trekker, mountaineer, and adventure enthusiast. The Pacific Northwest felt like home to me with its countless hikes and ecologically sensitive residents.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Each student is unique in their background and stage in life to pursue an MBA and career aspiration. Find your jam to be a part of the Foster community and make it super personal in front the admission committee. The class size is small and the opportunities in the MBA program are boundless. How do you plan to make the best of this platform?

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Foster is that it is a small school and does not have alumni coverage. I am amazed to find that we have alumni networks in every possible career path post MBA: Financial Services, Consulting, Corporate Strategy, Venture Capital, Non-Profit, Entrepreneurship etc. in Seattle and Bay Area. The best part of the alumni engagement is that given the small size of class, the alumni are very responsive over LinkedIn and email and carve out time in their busy schedules to help us navigate the MBA experience. If one alumni member is not able to solve our problem, they are proactive to reach out to their network to help us succeed. For example, Sam Ead – Google PM – helped me connect to entrepreneurs in the Bay Area to find relevant live projects during my MBA.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I believe that MBA experience is all about using the first year to go horizontal and try a lot of new experiences to open your mind to new possibilities and career directions while the second year is about picking one direction and diving deep into it in terms of mentors, network, and practical experience. I over-indexed on gaining lateral experience throughout my two years across disparate tech trends such as blockchain, machine learning, medical equipment, cloud, and community outreach, which catapults the Foster brand. I have personally learned immensely from her ability to weave engaging user centric stories and calm demeanor. I will watch her career with pride and curiosity as she achieves new heights.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My elder brother who moved to US in 2005 and joined Pure Storage as an early employee and took it through the journey of IPO. I have learned immensely from him and he showed me the potential of technology and business innovation in US and why MBA will bring the right voices in my head to build the next big startup!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Build my next company in healthcare/deep human impact, I deeply feel for the industry coming from a family of doctors and public leaders.

Raise an innovation fund to increase financial security and inclusion in emerging economies.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Shobhit worked hard, dreamed big, and empowered the Foster community.

Hobbies?Culture and History Travel, Adventure Sports, and Writing Short Stories

What made Shobit Guptasuch an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Shobhit has been an incredible resource for his fellow students.

He had multiple interview opportunities and eventually accepted an offer from Amazon, then, in true Foster fashion, turned his focus to helping his classmates, intent on building bridges between the companies he interacted with and the Foster community.

Always available to help students and staff in supporting events like interview training or treks, he conducted more than 70 mock interviews for his peers and spearheaded four case workshops with 50+ students attending each.

We have all benefitted from Shobit’s energy and support.”

Naomi Sanchez, EdD
Assistant Dean
MBA Career Management and Corporate Recruiting