Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Siva Prasad Kalimuthu, Emory University (Goizueta)

Siva Prasad Kalimuthu

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“A successful product of failure.”

Hometown: Dindigul, Tamil Nadu (India)

Fun Fact About Yourself: After schooling, I decided to pursue a degree in Physics because I believed that I would one day invent the time machine.

Undergraduate School and Major: Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; BS (Research) Physics & MS Physics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Water Sanitation and Hygiene Institute (WASH) Institute, Deputy Team Lead (Research & Development)

What makes Atlanta such a great place to earn an MBA? Atlanta is a vibrant city. The concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the city opens a lot of opportunities for MBA grads. Forbes ranked Atlanta as one of the top 5 cities poised to be a Tech Mecca. The networking prospect during the MBA itself would help students integrate early into the tightly knit tech-business community. Personally, I am attracted to the idea of attending the Startup Chowdown at the Atlanta Tech Village. It is a weekly gathering of innovators, entrepreneurs, and the likes.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Emory Goizueta’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? IMPACT360. In this rapidly transforming world, the demands of the industry are ever-changing. Even though schools are doing their best to simulate the real-world business environment in a classroom, the pedagogy still leaves some scope for academia-industry disconnect. IMPACT360 is a semester-long consulting project for the Goizueta MBA students to work with a company on a specific business problem. By engaging the students early on directly in real-world business problems of companies, Goizueta provides MBAs a hard kick of practical reality right during the program itself. The fact that this is an actual problem for an actual company with actual consequences and real impact – the stakes are high. So naturally, I felt this experience must be an indispensable part of my MBA journey.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Emory Goizueta? I am very excited about the Leader’s Reaction Course at Fort Benning. This is a one-day experiential learning module for the MBA students at Fort Benning. The course leverages the programs and facilities meant for US army officer candidates. We often hear people say, “This is a matter of life and death”. In the army, it’s an actual matter of life and actual death. Leadership and decision-making in such high-risk environments requires conviction, accountability, and fortitude. I feel this a unique approach to leadership development, and this experience is not what a typical MBA candidate expects in their program.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest achievement has been my role in the development of the Mobile Septage Treatment Unit (MTU) at WASH Institute. MTU is an innovative technology that can treat septage on-site and has the potential to disrupt the urban septic tank emptying market. The low pricing of MTU services will create a huge social impact by making desludging services accessible to poorer sections of the society. This will go a long way in fulfilling our commitments towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6 — “Ensure access to water and sanitation for all”. MTU was recognised and awarded  by the Government of India.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?!” “Can such a small incident have such a drastic impact?!” This is the usual reaction I get when I lecture about the Butterfly Effect. Can’t say for the butterfly, but something far tinier than a butterfly did indeed bring the world to a near standstill. COVID-19 has exposed the myth of stability and certainty — the fact that anything can happen at any time, to anyone. Be it career or life, the lesson has been to be resilient, to never settle for a routine, and to always be prepared to do things that I have never done before.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? From my experience in the field of research, I have witnessed a fair share of the burgeoning lab-to- market disconnect, there are so many innovations that are dying in the research labs. Technologies that can revolutionize the world are not seeing the light of the day. At WASH institute, I came to terms with the intricacies of taking innovative, patented products to the market. I want certain business skills and hence felt that an MBA would be the right way forward. After graduation, I hope to get into a product management role before launching a venture of my own in the innovative sustainable technologies sector. I believe a career in product management will give me the exposure to various facets of owning a product and entrepreneurship.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Tepper, Kelley, CEIBS, Fuqua, Darden, Tuck

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Emory Goizueta’s MBA program? The most important thing is to have a set of clear goals. At the same time, I would advise you not to be too rigid about them. The key is to understand the core values of Goizueta and see if you can resonate with them. For me, the most helpful part of the application and the interview process was the guidance I received from many of the seniors. So, it is advisable to reach out to the alumni and seniors and try to get an insight into the MBA life at Goizueta. There are no typical Goizueta MBA profiles, so don’t try to force your essays or interview answers to reflect things that you really aren’t comfortable with. I feel it is important to be yourself.


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