2021 MBAs To Watch: Adhi Murali, Yale School of Management

Adhi Murali

Yale School of Management

I’m a firm believer that the universe can make anything possible for you if you put your 100% effort and positivity behind it, and that no challenge is unsurmountable as long as you face it with humility and a smile!”

Hometown: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Fun fact about yourself: Built an Excel model to optimize for price, size, clarity, and color to identify the best engagement ring for my partner…but ended up getting her ring size wrong!

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • Georgia Tech, Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Minor in Economics
  • Georgia Tech, Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Minor in Management

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? VMware, Technology Consultant Team Lead

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Citigroup, Investment Banking Summer Associate

Where will you be working after graduation? Citigroup, Investment Banking Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President, Finance Club
  • Clubs & Finance Chair, Student Government
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Research Assistant, Yale Program on Financial Stability
  • Venture Project Specialist, Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale
  • Admissions Ambassador
  • Admissions Guide

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was running for Student Government within the first month of coming to SOM. The election process involves a week-long campaign followed by a speech to the entire student body. For someone like me who has always doubted my public speaking skills, this felt like a nightmare at the onset. But it dawned on me that business school is my final chance to try and put myself more out there, and just starting the program I could define how I wanted to be known by my class. So I decided to give it my all right from distributing campaign flyers, holding events to meet my classmates, and working with several of my friends and faculty on the speech.

I ended up getting elected. More than anything else, this taught me to never tell myself that I can’t do something until I try and find out for myself.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At VMware, we had an annual conference for the entire consulting services organization. At my last conference prior to leaving for business school, I was one of 4 nominees for the MVP (Most Valuable Person) award in my 150-member organization based on feedback and voting from both internal teams and clients, financial metrics, and client satisfaction. This Oscar-themed event came at the tail end of my time at VMware after building relationships and working with some of VMware’s largest clients over 5 years. This was especially sweet as it came in a year when I was also working on my business school applications—and being in that distinguished group felt like a fitting end to my time there!

Why did you choose this business school? While I was initially drawn to the global reach of the Yale brand as an international student, over time the biggest impact on my decision was made by the alumni and current students I interacted with during the application process. The alumni I reached out to were quick to respond and make time for me, some even going out of their way to check in with me periodically on the progress I was making with the application. There was also a personality match like no other. Unlike the competitive and type-A personalities that I imagined business school students to be, the alumni I interacted with were incredibly accomplished but humble. These alumni were genuine about the pros and cons of SOM, while also respecting and speaking well about other schools I was considering.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? It was Lorenzo Caliendo, who teaches the Global Macroeconomy course in the core curriculum. Professor Lorenzo’s classes are some of the most exciting at SOM—he stresses understanding every underlying concept instead of accepting and memorizing things the way they are. He cold calls in his class, but you can tell that it is not to embarrass you or catch you off guard, but simply to do a pulse check of how the class is keeping up. He will accordingly slow down or modify the curriculum so everyone understands the basics rather than rush through the entire portion of the course. He is incredibly funny and entertaining and can make any topic (including ISLM curves) a fun experience!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Due to the early and structured timeline of Investment Banking (IB) recruiting, it is good to start doing some interview preparation over the summer leading up to the start of the MBA, leveraging all the SOM resources at your disposal such as career services and the Finance Club. Although I was set on pursuing IB like many around me, I took the summer prior to SOM to travel and gear up for the MBA. Doing some early technical interview preparation would have made the grueling Fall process more manageable, especially since I came from a non-finance background.

On a lighter note, I would have loved to take Hindi at Yale College. I’m forever the brunt of jokes from friends and family for my broken Hindi, and it would have been great to surprise them in fluent Hindi after a few semesters at Yale!

What is the biggest myth about your school? SOM has always been known for its strength in the nonprofit sector. Despite this, Consulting and Finance have risen to become the top two industries where SOM MBAs enter after business school. Being someone that wanted to do Investment Banking while picking the schools to apply to, I almost did not consider SOM! However, after I did, I came to find out the hidden jewel that the Finance Club is at getting 80%+ students into Investment Banking out of a 40-person IB class every year.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I have been practicing yoga and meditation every day for more than five years, and this has helped me handle anxiety and brought an overwhelming sense of purpose in wanting to do more with my life. Meditation enabled me to handle the stressful application process and compartmentalize different programs so I could give my best to each of them. Additionally, in my SOM essay, I wrote about the change I noticed in myself before and after my journey with spirituality, and I personally felt this may have helped show more character and humility that resonates with a lot of the personalities we see at SOM.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It was my classmate Manas Punhani. Manas is always the first to be my cheerleader, and it’s time for me to return the favor! He did an amazing job both in school and in landing his Investment Banking job. He also received multiple scholarships, and in his spare time works with PE firms to identify and evaluate investment opportunities. Through all this, he makes you feel like you are the smartest person in the room. I’m glad to have met him at SOM!

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? At my pre-SOM role at VMware, we switched to a hybrid format with the majority of my organization working virtually for a year leading up to my MBA. Since they were part of a company selling virtual desktop products that enabled thousands of customers to work from home themselves, our senior management knew this change would not be a problem. Since I had gone through that, the hybrid format at SOM was surprisingly straightforward. It gave me more time to take on other activities, such as club meetings, which could be organized seamlessly over Zoom. That being said, I look forward to being in-person again, and hope we can do a good job translating our experiences from the in-person environment to incoming classes last year and this year.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My fiancée, Pallavi Mohoni. She is one of the most driven and ambitious people I know and motivates me to be a better person every single day. When I first met Pallavi, she asked me questions I had no answer to—such as where I see myself in five years and what motivates me personally and professionally. This started making me think long-term about my career goals and how I wanted to get there using an MBA as a bridge.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Starting off as a new hire this summer, my primary goal is to learn the way the Investment Banking (IB) industry works and become an indispensable part of my team. Additionally, I want to continue being involved in IB recruiting for SOM to ensure we can move SOM up the ranks as a strong finance school over the years to come!

What made Adhi such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Adhi embodies the underlying meaning of our mission—to educate leaders for business and society—and how we expect our students, regardless of their industry or function, to enact change on their teams, in their organizations, and in their broader communities.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Adhi before he even enrolled at Yale SOM as a reader of his application and his admissions contact once he was admitted. Our paths continued to cross when Adhi signed up to be a first-year Admissions Guide. “Paying it forward” is a concept I hear our students talk about a lot during their two years as an MBA. They volunteer to assist prospective students and their fellow classmates with the same attention they were given through their application process, and later on during their recruitment process. Adhi has given so much to our community and our prospective students. More than anything, I wonder how he had the time to do it all!

In his second year, he served as a Student Ambassador, continuing to field questions for our prospective students. He has also volunteered to be a part of nearly every virtual admissions event. One of the most recent ways I have seen him create change in our community was as President of our Finance Club. At Yale SOM, we have a program called Silver Scholars, which is for college seniors to apply to our MBA program and then matriculate immediately post-graduation (rather than defer, as is traditional for many programs that allow college seniors to apply). Because Silver Scholars join the MBA without full-time work experience, they encounter a different recruiting process than our traditional MBA candidates. Adhi spearheaded an effort to create a detailed guide and pathway for Silver Scholars looking to enter iBanking. It outlined what they should expect at every point in their program and what kinds of roles they should be targeting for their internship that will allow them to be marketable for a post-MBA role once they graduate. Not only did Adhi help to create this with the approval of our Career Development Office, but he also emailed it to me so that I could distribute to our newly admitted Silver Scholars so they had a head start on their first year.

I really like this example, because I think it highlights that Adhi is always thinking of ways that he can add more value for others. And let me say as I write this, I have already sent the guide to an admitted student who was questioning the very same things the guide so adeptly outlines. I’m so glad to have known and worked with Adhi, and I’m so thrilled to continue to do so once he is an alum.”

Kate Botelho
Associate Director Of Admissions at Yale School of Management


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.