Meet The MBA Class Of 2022: Archana Sohmshetty, Stanford GSB

Archana Sohmshetty

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Curious about everything and everyone. Enthralled by our inner world, physical world, and digital worlds.”

Hometown: Canton, Michigan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was on a dance team in undergrad! I love to dance and share my passion for it – everyone can do it, and my mantra is that dancing is 90% being confident and 10% being able to follow a beat.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan, Industrial and Operations Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Roblox, BizOps & Strategy Associate

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Stanford GSB’s emphasis on value-based leadership. I’m a firm believer that our digital and physical identities are merging as immersive technology becomes a larger portion of our lives (driven by trends in AR/VR, gaming, social media, computing power, telecom infrastructure, etc.)  I think the leaders and decision-makers in these industries have the huge responsibility to ensure that the technologies they build and people they influence are positively benefiting society. As I aim to develop my own leadership skills, core classes like Ethics in Management and programs like Arbuckle Fellows or Knight-Hennessey Scholars signaled to me that shaping students into thoughtful, compassionate, and ethical leaders was a central focus at Stanford. Beyond resources at the GSB, the proximity to Silicon Valley and access to state-of-the-art courses and research in other Stanford departments was appealing to me.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? How quickly and eagerly my classmates mobilize. Whether it’s a startup idea, a cause that students care about, or even a social activity, it amazes me how quickly my classmates can execute and deliver. For example, in the summer before we matriculated, a handful of students put together a COVID-19 response lab to organize our classmates and tackle various issues related to the pandemic. I think this is driven by the power of having a supportive community – having resources, faculty help, and encouraging classmates make it easier to try out new ideas.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Humility. All of my classmates are wildly talented and come to the GSB with a laundry list of achievements, yet are incredibly down-to-earth. My classmates have won Olympic medals, started non-profits that have changed lives, and built large organizations from scratch. Still, they approach every conversation here with a sense of modesty and intellectual curiosity that is inspiring. This attitude stems from the ‘growth mindset’ that a lot of my classmates possess: they believe there’s always room for personal and professional development, and can learn a lot from each other.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Moving from financial services into gaming! While covering the media and communications industry during my time in investment banking, I had the hunch that immersive experiences will begin to play a significantly larger role in society. Pivoting into the gaming industry was my way of taking a leap of faith behind this thesis, and as Roblox has grown it’s rewarding to see the thesis being validated. But ultimately, winning the professional lottery to me was finding a team I loved working with that made Mondays as exciting as Fridays.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? In the traditional sense, my biggest accomplishment is getting to be a part of the View From The Top leadership team for the 2021-2022 school year. So far we have been working hard to set a vision for next year’s slate of speakers who can bring a wide range of perspectives on effective leadership for our classmates. However, the truth is, the biggest accomplishments as an MBA student I’ve had so far are the friendships and relationships I’ve built here. One of the primary goals I had coming into the GSB was to meet exceptional people from all walks of life, hear their stories, and deepen my understanding of different viewpoints. The GSB is a special environment where I have gotten the privilege of building strong relationships with people unlike me, and it’s been incredibly rewarding and eye opening.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS 2+2

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? The importance of effectively giving and receiving feedback, and how hard it truly is to get right! Something you can overhear (maybe far too often) at the GSB is that “feedback is a gift”. No one teaches this in life as explicitly as I’ve seen it taught at Stanford GSB, yet it is perhaps the single most important tool for building high quality relationships, both personal and professional. I still have difficulty accepting or delivering constructive feedback, but it is a skill I aim to further develop and practice after realizing how core of a component it is to being a good leader and mentor to others.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2023? Use the application process as an opportunity to reflect on your own path: figure out what motivates you and sets you apart from others. Even though our classmates may have overlapping interests, everyone has a unique and differentiated perspective. Finding yours through the application process will be rewarding, at the GSB and beyond. It is easy to get lost in the number of exciting opportunities that demand your time and attention (especially at the GSB). Figuring out what genuinely drives you will greatly help you distinguish signal from the noise.

DON’T MISS: MEET STANFORD’S MBA CLASS OF 2022

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