Meet the MBA Class of 2020: Dr. Ruchi Senthil, IMD Business School

Dr. Ruchi Senthil

IMD Business School

“Driven, pragmatic, hard-working, and down to earth team player at work and dedicated mother at home.”

Hometown: Chandigarh, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am an avid sports fan and I can have an engaging conversation about most sports in significant detail.

Undergraduate School and Major: Doctor of Medicine (MD), Microbiology

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, India

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Consultant Microbiologist, National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT), India

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Resilience. This year has brought us more ups and downs than a regular one year MBA would, with the COVID-19 situation.  As a class, we have handled this challenge beautifully, not allowing it to take away from our learning process – be it classroom learning through Zoom or peer learning through group work. We have demonstrated a keen desire to derive the maximum from this program, despite these hardships, and have taken all our classmates along.

Aside from classmates, what part of the school’s MBA programming led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Focus on Leadership Development and holistic growth through the Personal Development Elective (PDE). Both are extremely important skills to be effective leaders and something that no other MBA program offers as explicitly as IMD does. The PDE sessions helped me become aware of my strengths, my weaknesses, and my triggers, helping me understand areas I need to focus on and develop to become a better person and leader, both in a personal and professional capacity. The softer aspects of being a good leader are covered in extreme detail throughout our leadership stream and they are so important in today’s age when we work in cross-functional, multi-cultural and diverse teams.

IMD has a reputation for being intense, with heavy reading and assignments. Did the school live up to its reputation? What did you do to get through the workload? Yes, the first four months were very rigorous. I planned my time well, sleeping on time and waking up early morning to finish readings for classes. I stayed on top of things by working hard over the weekends to ease the pressure during the week. I got support from experienced classmates to understand subjects like finance and returned the favor in subjects like strategy.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As consultant microbiologist at NIRT, I convinced my department head and the director of the institute to go for laboratory accreditation from the national authority, standardizing our procedures and allowing our patient reports to be valid across the country-saving costs in repeated testing. I underwent training in internal quality controls for the same. After working grueling hours for almost a year, revamping systems and protocols, and training our staff, we finally got accredited in December 2019 – the first government tuberculosis laboratory in India to get this accolade.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at IMD so far: When I started working for my startup, it was a one-woman show with a prototype product that would be revolutionary for the treatment of osteoporosis if it could be launched. But she had no idea how to go about it. My team and I helped her through the whole process, providing her a detailed business plan and a roadmap for possible go-to-market strategies. Now, she has her own dedicated website, some key opinion leaders from the world of osteoporosis who are interested in what her product has to offer, and funding for further research that she won in startup competitions around Switzerland that we coached her on.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After working as a clinician and as a project leader for a healthcare program, I realized that my interest in healthcare transcends clinical practice. I decided I could make a much bigger impact to society through a better understanding of the business aspect of healthcare. To understand more about business and how it works, I decided to pursue an MBA.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? INSEAD; LBS; NUS, Singapore and ISB, Hyderabad

What did you do during the application process that enabled you to get accepted into IMD? I stayed true to myself, my accomplishments and my failures, never embellishing or glorifying facts. I spoke to IMD participants and alumni to understand what the school valued in MBA candidates, and tried to find a good fit between those traits and my own capabilities. I worked hard to prepare for the IMD assessment day, working through my answers for the standard interview questions and keeping myself up-to-date with occurrences in the business world, but most of all, I allowed myself to enjoy the process irrespective of what the outcome would be- and that is what made the difference and got me the admit.

What is the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started at IMD? Before I came to IMD, I had had limited exposure to people from other cultures except in the course of my work. So, I assumed that a different upbringing across different geographies may lead to a difference in opinion about global problems and how to tackle them. But now that I have spent six months with people from different cultures and nationalities, I have realized that irrespective of where we come from, most of us have similar outlooks towards the bigger problems the world is facing. That is both refreshing and heartening because being on the same page will enable us to work collectively as future global leaders to tackle these issues.