Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Ridhi Jain, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Ridhi Jain

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

“Economist at heart and a Business Strategist in the making.”

Hometown: Gurgaon, Haryana

Fun Fact About Yourself: Driving and taking road trips are my favorite hobbies. The most recent road trip was driving down 900+ Km from Delhi to Ahmedabad to reach the IIM Ahmedabad campus. I also like to go for hiking trips. The most exhilarating and memorable one till now has been a 21-Km long-hike in The Tongariro National Park, New Zealand.

Undergraduate School and Major: MSc. Economics, University College London

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Economist, Economist Intelligence Unit, The Economist Group

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? One of the key reasons for me to join IIMA was the course structure and the choice of electives that the PGPX program offers. I am a sustainability enthusiast and IIMA offers an eclectic buffet of structured courses around green operations and energy, and electives such as Carbon Markets. I believe that IIMA will help me pursue and nurture my interests within the sustainability domain and build the necessary business skills to enable me to fulfill my career ambitions.

While the brand speaks for itself, for me, an imperative element of the MBA degree from IIMA was the exposure to various models. I’ll be learning from the esteemed faculty, and taking structured courses in business management and sustainability that would help me transition from an economist to a business strategist within a managerial role. IIMA’s emphasis on practical learning and an opportunity to learn from competent business professionals from various industries further convinced me to choose PGPX.

What has been your favorite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Ahmedabad? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it?  I vote for Firms and Markets (aka Microeconomics) as my favorite course of the program. Even though I have specialized in Economics, I would have never imagined that the course would be so transformational. For me, the differentiating factors were the course structure, which the course instructor meticulously designed, and the delivery method — both of which generated curiosity in me to learn more. The focus of the course on application of the economic concepts for business decision-making not only ensured a steep learning curve, but also allowed me to look at economics from a completely novel and fresh perspective.

Fun fact – Our professor made us take a collective oath that we will always include opportunity costs and ignore sunk costs in our decision-making. No amount of reading or studying economics could have ingrained this thought as well as Professor Pingali (Firms and Markets Instructor at IIMA) did.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My most significant accomplishment was conceptualizing and writing a research paper titled, “Mini grids and enterprise development: A study of aspirational change and business outcomes among rural enterprise owners in India”, which was published in Journal of Energy for Sustainable Development. I collaborated with a team and leveraged my project understanding to present findings and key learnings from the Smart Power project (funded by Rockefeller Foundation).

I value this accomplishment the most because I see a tangible output of my work, which has been accepted and acknowledged by the subject-matter experts. I find fulfilment in producing a substantial output that can guide public policy and business decisions. In addition, the accomplishment is particularly important to me because of the invaluable lessons it has taught me. Re-iterating on the content and analysis of the paper has taught me to always take the feedback constructively, to be determined and patiently strive to produce better.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far has been an enhanced sense of confidence to solve business problems. The confidence has been instilled because of the case-based learning followed at IIMA, where the professors adeptly facilitate classroom discussions and help students develop the skill of “how to think”. Two months into the program, I feel confident to break the problem down into smaller parts, think of different approaches to evaluate and analyze, and synthesize information to find best-possible solutions.

Along with content knowledge, solving cases has helped me develop my analytical, communication, and collaborative skills. I now look forward to the intense group discussions to examine a case and resolve questions that may not have a single answer.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? The desire to apply my academic training in Economics and my passion for social impact led me to pursue opportunities within the research and consulting teams at various firms. Working as an Economist, I have developed necessary technical skills and leveraged my quantitative and econometric modeling skills to guide decision-making.

After working for five years, I felt it was the right time to take a leap and plan my MBA journey. Through an MBA, I wish to acquire a complete business view necessary to transition from an economist to a business strategist within a managerial role. I have an ambition to move into strategy consulting and expand my impact by using data-driven frameworks to a broader range of problems. Post MBA, I aim to work with sustainability and business strategy practices of a top consulting firm. I trust that this will lay a strong foundation for my long-term goal – to work my way up to become a leader, one with empathy, consciousness, and vision.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Ahmedabad? While there are standard requirements that one needs to fulfil before getting into IIMA, the one thing which helped me throughout the process was the will and the desire to be at IIMA. In my opinion, the entire process — from preparing for GMAT to drafting applications and then finally to the interview — is a true reflection of what MBA entails and demands. One may get rattled with juggling with application process and managing job and family responsibilities. Therefore, I would advise all the aspirants to start early, give themselves enough time to prepare, and put out a power-packed application. Most importantly, convince yourself that you deserve to be at one of the best management institutes in India and be willing to work hard to make it come true.

Further, time management and setting priorities are necessary skills to perform consistently well during the preparation phase of the MBA journey. The entire application process tests candidates on many facets such as quantitative skills, writing ability, communication, and general awareness (to name a few). Therefore, it is utmost important to spend time in identifying and understanding one’s strengths and work on areas of development.

Lastly, build an attitude to enjoy the process and not just be outcome-oriented. The MBA is a long journey that starts with preparing for the applications; it picks up where you finished in college along with the learning that continued throughout your professional life. The entire journey will yield maximum results only if one enjoys the process. The only way to not feel bogged down by seemingly endless preparation of interviews and case readings is to perceive every step as an opportunity to learn.

The wisest words I heard after getting into IIMA,” Let IIMA not be the greatest achievement of your life. Strive for and achieve more.”


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