Meet Michigan State’s MBA Class Of 2022

Eli Broad MBA students

NOT ANY FACE IN A CROWD AT BROAD

Outside being a case captain, Hill holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has traveled to over 20 countries. Abraham Rusch is a classical concert performer who has performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Speaking of entertainers, Pankaj Sanodiya is a magician who doubles as a sketch artist. As an undergrad, Andrew Whitaker served as a student manager on the Michigan State football team that won the Rose Bowl.

For Whitaker, the biggest surprise about the Broad MBA is just how intimate it is. “I am not just another faceless number in the crowd here,” he writes. “Despite being virtual, every single professor I have had in my MBA career thus far knows me by face/name. Most of them know what my goals are and have already offered various ways with which they can help me achieve them. These professors are some of the most well-connected people in their respective industries and to be able to foster a strong connection with them as a student is such a powerful resource for Broad to provide to me.”

Faculty engagement wasn’t the only surprise awaiting the Class of 2022 adds Abraham Rusch. “I’ve been incredibly impressed with the quality of recruiting opportunities and the strong relationships that Broad has with top firms. Given the challenges of this fall’s no-travel recruiting environment, I was amazed at how many companies came to campus virtually. With all the disruption that has occurred in business and supply chain, firms are realizing that they need top talent; Broad is the place to find it.”

A HELPFUL AND INCLUSIVE GROUP

When it comes to their classmates, you’ll find the Class of 2022 using terms not normally associated with rough-and-tumble Spartans: Empathetic, collaborative, and helpful. “My classmates’ friendly and accommodating nature has been refreshing,” adds Satwik Beernelly. “I expected the transition from India to the U.S. to be tough, especially with COVID-19 and virtual learning, but I have never felt left out. The sense of community that is anchored in the ongoing collaboration and teamwork within our program has allowed me to build strong connections with my classmates, even virtually.”

By the numbers, the Class of 2022 features 64 full-time MBAs, which include 34% women. International students account for 20% of the class, hailing from nations like China, India, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, and Taiwan. There are also 13 American states represented in the class, including California, Florida, North Carolina, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. The class also boasts a 674 average GMAT and a 3.3 average undergraduate GPA. 42% of the class earned undergraduate degrees in STEM-related majors, with the Humanities and Business graduates accounting for 39% and 19% respectively.

The Broad School has consistently been ranked as the top MBA program in Logistics according to U.S. News surveys conducted with business school deans and MBA directors. Despite its acclaim in supply chain management, Broad is hardly a one-dimensional program catering to future operations executives.  That was the takeaway for Bolor-Erdene Erdenechuluun, a Fulbright Scholar and P&Q MBA To Watch who graduated last spring.

Class picture

A MYTH DISPELLED AND A TRUTH REINFORCED

“The University puts great effort into other programs as well. For instance, last semester I had Security Analysis and Portfolio Management where we were working analysts for Students Investment Fund by analyzing and evaluating stocks. When your studies are tied to real money, you learn a lot and put in much effort. At the end of the semester, the Financial Advisory Board, which has members working as wealth managers and investment bankers at reputable financial institutions such as JP Morgan, would come to listen to our pitches and give us advice. It was a great opportunity to merge what we have learned in theory with practice in real life and keep up with updated industry trends.”

The “Supply Chain U” moniker may be a myth, but the program’s reputation for being a “team-building” program holds up to scrutiny says Claire Battafarano, a 2019 alum who joined Boeing’s human resources team after graduation. “From the start, one of our professors breaks our class up into 5-person teams, which we retain for the entire first year. All group cases, projects, and papers from our core curriculum are completed with this team, which builds and reinforces a collaborative and team-oriented skillset that can be applied in the workforce.”

Another Spartan differentiator is its test optional admissions policy. Applicants can waive the GMAT if they meet criteria like four or more years of work experience and a strong recommendation from a supervisor, though admits are required to complete non-credit online courses after acceptance. What are some other unique wrinkles to the Broad MBA? In January, P&Q reached out to Dr. Wayne Hutchison, managing director of the Full-Time MBA Program at the Broad College of Business. From new initiatives to career services, here are Hutchison’s thoughts on the state of the school.

A Q&A WITH WAYNE HUTCHISON

P&Q: What are the most exciting new developments at your program?

Hutchison: “The FTMBA program is working across our three key areas (Academic, Professional, and Community) to continually add value to the student experience.  On the academic front, we are adding courses in Data Visualization, Analytics (in Accounting, Finance and Marketing), and Project Management (with live employers and clients) to give students opportunities to learn in environments that will directly impact their internship experience.

On the professional front, we are balancing corporate education sessions with a renewed focus on business leaders and speakers that will provide students increased insight into coping with challenging situations (finding post-MBA during COVID, navigating a recession, etc.).  Additionally, we are making popular engagements happen in virtual settings (our renowned “Tech Trek” to Silicon Valley will be hosted virtually in 2021).  Through a strong partnership with our career management community, MBAs will be educated and supported in the most optimal ways to showcase their skillsets to make a difference in the career development process.  Finally, our student community remains strong and a constant source of support.  Our expansion of student resource groups in consulting and in DEI focus areas provide our students the opportunity to learn in a cutting-edge environment that provides support, education and empathy for all students in our program.”

P&Q: What is the two most unique or differentiating features of your full-time program? How do they enrich the MBA experience?

Dr. Wayne Hutchison

Hutchison: “Extreme Green (known as Innovative Action Projects) provides a 3-day incubator for students to learn creativity, innovation, and rapid problem solving in a real-world environment.  These micro courses mesh multiple disciplines into a project-based course where 5-person student teams can create a product, idea or business solution, pitch it to clients or employers, and gain valuable feedback from the experience.

Here are three examples of Extreme Green projects:

Fresh Ideas For Meijer

Three Days Of Creative Problem-Solving

A Sweet Way To Promote Charity

“Another differentiating feature of our program centers on how robust our student engagement offerings are. Given that MBA’s spend roughly 60+ hours a week in class, doing group academic work, individual academic work, or career development, they need opportunities to support each other, have some fun, and learn outside of the classroom environment.  Our student resource groups, led by second year MBA students, support and educate our students in professional, DEI, and social groups that have many different areas of focus.

P&Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your business school?

Hutchison: “We have used technology to do all we can to preserve the academic and community environment within the program, but remote learning has created an engagement gap in our cohorts that would normally not be present.  Our team structure (5-person) remains strong, and technology has made the process of group assignments more efficient and collaborative within those groups.  However, in a traditional semester,  we have nearly 20+ events per month, designed to enrich the student experience.  We have made many of these engagements virtual and look forward to the day when we can safely resume in-residence operations.

We owe the faculty tremendous thanks for doing all they can to maximize the learning experience despite the challenges we face. They have truly shone brightly in these difficult times.”

* Page 3: Class of 2022 Student Profiles

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