Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Roshni Walia, Yale SOM

Roshni Walia

Yale School of Management

“Kenyan giddy about a world come alive to its potential.”

Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m insanely curious and devour books to feed this thirst. I’ve read 125 this year (and counting)!

Undergraduate School and Major: Sewanee: The University of the South, Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Maisha Meds, Chief of Staff

The Yale School of Management is regarded as a purpose-driven program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill that mission? I want to help leaders unblock, unlock, and accelerate their potential and capacity for success. This is especially true for (but not limited to) women and African leaders. From my experience-to-date as a management consultant at a healthcare tech startup and as an executive coach, I’ve discovered that people often know what they need to do. However, where they struggle is how to do it, how to inspire others around them, and how to make change last.

In an increasingly VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world, we need more leaders who can traverse multidisciplinary issues; who can show up as their whole and vulnerable selves; who can change priorities as and when needed; and who can truly understand what it means to be values-driven. I want to be this kind of leader, and I want to help others to be this kind of leader. I love Yale’s approach of helping students understand the perspective of multiple stakeholders in its academic curriculum—a key skill needed for wholehearted leadership and for achieving potential, I believe.

What word best describes the Yale SOM MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Inspiring. I started my journey of looking into schools back in 2017. The community of people I would be surrounded by was incredibly important to me, and right from the start (thanks Lisa, Christine, Jay, and Marcel!), the students and alumni I spoke to left me feeling inspired and energized about the future. This has certainly been the case with my fellow classmates too, and I feel incredibly grateful to be part of such an amazing class.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Yale SOM’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? It seems like the world is often biased toward building up and rewarding good business leaders. Good business leaders do not exist in isolation, however, and that Yale SOM truly values building up leaders for society was crucial. We need more leaders in our societies who truly embody modern leadership.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Yale SOM? This is a tough one, but on track with multidisciplinary leadership, I’m excited to get more involved in Voices, a platform where students can share their stories across a variety of different areas ranging from professional to personal. The stories shared during Voices at the end of my orientation week deeply resonated with me, and I can see the power of storytelling in advancing future leadership.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Becoming a trained and accredited executive coach before turning 30.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? It’s funny to think about how many people and places took health and wellbeing for granted, not as something to prioritize. COVID-19 and its impact on the world has been an interesting wake up call for me (and others, I hope). Figure out what’s most important to you, and then stay true to that.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Having been in the work force for about six years, this was an optimal time to step back and reflect on my career, where I’m headed, and learn more to develop into the kind of leader I want to be. Post-graduation, I will be returning to consulting and hope to specialize in leadership-development focused work.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford and HBS

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Yale SOM’s MBA program? Make sure you’ve spent the time and energy to think about why Yale is right for you! Not only will doing this help you articulate your answer through the admissions process, but it’ll also help you understand how to approach your individual SOM journey.


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