2020 First Generation MBAs: Ankush Batra, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Ankush Batra

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

Class: 2020

Hometown: Jaipur, Rajasthan (India)

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am practically addicted to chocolates.

Undergraduate School and Major:

School: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (Assam, India)

Major: Chemical Science and Technology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Employer: Capital One

Title: Business Manager (Strategy & Analytics)

What did your parents do for a living? My dad owns a small business in India. My mom is a homemaker.

What was the highest level of education achieved by your mother and your father? High School (both parents)

Which family member or mentor is your biggest inspiration or role model? Why? I look up to both of my parents – my dad for his boldness and rational decision-making and my mom for her compassionate and simplistic personality.

What was the moment that led you to decide to pursue higher education? I made this decision when in early 2000s. My dad had moved his small business from a small town in Northwest India to the state capital so my sister and I would (a) have access to better schools and (b) get better exposure.

What was your biggest worry before going for your undergraduate degree? My biggest worry was not knowing what to expect. As a result, I was unaware of what success would look like.

What was the most challenging part of getting your undergraduate degree? I did not have personal access to a mentor who had been on a similar journey, and who could guide me on what I was getting exposed to. That meant I often took longer to make my decisions.

What didn’t your family understand about the higher education that you wish they would understand better? I wish, at the time, they understood that it may not be a super smooth ride once I get into a good college for my undergraduate degree. Thankfully for me, my family has always been extremely supportive. So they were by my side to celebrate all of my successes and to guide me when I made a mistake.

What led you to pursue an MBA degree? In my pre-MBA job, I was impressed by the problem-solving capabilities of several of my co-workers who could translate complex problem statements into smaller actionable chunks. All of them had something in common – they had studied at renowned business schools across the world. This pushed me to explore the possibility of pursuing MBA.

How did you choose your MBA program? I knew I wanted to study in the US for my MBA based on my prior work trips here. I was looking for an MBA program that would help me build on my analytical background. I felt most comfortable with a medium size cohort. Also, a city that had the ingredients of a large city without being overwhelming appealed to me. Tepper MBA & Pittsburgh ticked all these boxes for me.

What was your biggest worry before starting your MBA? I worried that going back to school after being in the workforce for six years would be challenging. Thankfully, I got into the groove quite early.

How were you able to finance your MBA as a first generation student? I financed my MBA through a mix of my own savings, some money that I borrowed from some friends and family, and a student loan from a bank in India.

What advice would you have for other first-generation college students? My advice would be to find role models and mentors who are personally accessible to you and utilize them to shape yourselves into well-rounded personalities.

What do you plan to pursue after graduation? I am a big advocate of data driven decision making. I am glad to have found the perfect fit for me at Capital One where I work as a Business Manager (Strategy & Analytics).


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