Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Aishwarya Bedekar, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Aishwarya Bedekar

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

“An introverted extrovert, empathy and connectedness drive me.”

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I sang the national anthems of 13 countries (in 13 different languages) with my choir in front of international delegates. We practiced for 6 months to not ENTIRELY goof this up!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Delhi (Finance)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Atlan (Formerly SocialCops), Senior Manager, Strategy & Sales

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The main differentiating factor for me was the culture. A Kellogg alum advised me in early days of my application process that the business school you choose will define the leader that you will go on to be. I picked the business school that prioritizes its community and has a strong relationship-based collaborative culture, which are the two pillars that I hope to carry forward beyond business school.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Empathy. Even before school started, Kellogg students and management were incredibly empathetic about the unique circumstances in which the current environment presents. In the few weeks that I’ve spent in Evanston after moving halfway across the world, I’ve had numerous classmates reach out to make sure I was settling in well and offering help for literally everything – from moving furniture to preparing for the Chicago winter!

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am excited to be a part of the Impact Consulting Club, in which Kellogg students are matched with non-profit organizations in Chicago to deliver 9-week-long projects aligned with a key strategic area. Having worked on education-related initiatives all my life, I’m thrilled to be working with a K-8 charter school that is building multicultural competence and Spanish proficiency in the Chicago Northwest community.

Kellogg is often described as “team-driven.” In your experience, what is the most important quality of a team member? How do you intend to bring that into Kellogg? The most important quality of a team member is to be open to different perspectives and willing to learn from others on the team. No two people have the same set of experiences or expertise and high-impact teams have members who are motivated to constantly reflect and build upon each other’s strengths. At Kellogg, I am making concerted efforts to (a) make sure people get to know each other at a deeper level, and (b) actively share and receive feedback regularly.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led a project with one of India’s leading anti-bacterial hand-wash brands – we built a disease-prediction model to power a marketing campaign that prevented an estimated 178,000 disease infections, while growing sales by 19% in one year. This campaign was recognized at Cannes 2019!

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? As I began to take on bigger leadership roles in my previous company, I got exposed to very diverse stakeholder groups across Non-Profits, Philanthropic Foundations, Government and Multi-National Corporations. Through these experiences, I realized that I needed to augment my leadership toolbox – to learn how to drive cohesive action and manage change amidst a multitude of complexities. Business school seemed like an ideal playground for me to build the skillset, while sharing experiences with my talented and accomplished classmates!

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to five programs that I knew had strong student communities while also having a reputation for excellence in career outcomes and global opportunities.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I was asked how I would achieve my long-term goals if I didn’t get through the business school of my dreams. While I was somewhat taken about by the question, it ended up being a valuable opportunity to zoom out and reflect on what I hope to achieve from business school and how to make the best use of the opportunity.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? As an international student, I knew that visiting schools was not a feasible option. The next best option to determine fit was to have as many conversations as possible with students and alums to learn more about how they experienced the culture and the community of the school. It was these conversations that helped me tangibly feel the fit. Part of that feeling came from realizing that even alums that had graduated more than a decade ago still fondly looked back at their time at Kellogg as being instrumental to who they are today – both professionally and personally.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Hubspot. It is not only the top platform for marketing and sales in the US, but also has one of the most notable and nurturing company cultures. The lesson that business students can learn from Hubspot is to truly put people first. As we think about shaping organizational cultures and building successful companies, we should remember that if every single employee of an organization is fulfilled and empowered to do the best work of their lives – the company and its mission will succeed.


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