Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Ragini Bhattacharya, MIT (Sloan)

Ragini Bhattacharya

MIT, Sloan School of Management

Engineer by training, strategist by profession, and innovator by curiosity, exploring healthtech and social impact.”

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I still love to read the weekly print Sunday comics.

Undergraduate School and Major: UCLA – Bioengineering (Technical Breadth: Technology Management)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nike – Investment Research Manager

What word best describes the MIT Sloan MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Humble – I know it’s been said before along with smart and passionate. Regardless of impressive professional accomplishments and personal hobbies, every student and alumni I’ve met still seems to want to learn and explore more. That curiosity, grounded in humility, leads to a group of open-minded individuals so clearly passionate about the world and its diverse people, places, and perspectives.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of MIT Sloan’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The philosophy behind the Enterprise Management (EM) Track really stood out to me. Working within technology and digital innovation groups in Biotechnology and Retail, I’ve seen creativity and ideation thrive when drawing connections across domains. Entering a digital health and wellness landscape focused on prevention, access, and AI, with nontraditional players from tech to retail, I see the multi-disciplinary perspectives the EM Track offers as essential.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at MIT Sloan? Sustainability Certificate – My corporate and nonprofit experiences showed me gaps in how large organizations design and innovate for underserved groups. I saw the importance of building diversity and equity into new digital business models and became passionate about the intersection between social impact and corporate innovation. The Sustainability Certificate’s courses and programs reflect the interconnected impact large organizations have today and offer practical opportunities for me to apply social purpose, as a vehicle for innovation and differentiation, to strategic decision-making.

Action Learning Labs are one of MIT Sloan’s biggest attractions. Which lab interests you most? How does it fit with your interests? Global Entrepreneurship Lab (G-Lab) – Large organizations are continuously confronted with expanding to and designing for new global markets. G-Lab nurtures the test-and-learn mindset these new strategies require and provides important exposure to different political, socioeconomic, and cultural environments. From these entrepreneurial and global experiences, I hope to foster a robust innovation ecosystem within a large global organization.

When you think of MIT, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Sloan program thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? Innovation. Besides the cutting edge inventions from biology to electrical engineering, it’s the whole approach to innovation that really excites me. I’ve been following MIT Solve’s global social impact challenges for years and enjoyed the recent launch of the Inclusive Innovation Economy series. I see the Sloan program helping to shift cultural dialogue and spearhead new ways of collaboration around equity in design and implementation of emerging technologies, particularly important to me as I explore the intersection of healthtech and social impact.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My time at Nike’s digital business incubator showed me both how incredibly complex, personal, and changing health and wellness is for individuals and how traditional product and service offerings don’t serve everyone. In my role, I identified new investment opportunities that broadened Nike’s digital offerings to increase access to mental and physical wellness for underserved groups, including BIPOC, transgender, larger body, older, and pregnant individuals. Creating new business models for these communities, I learned to lead with inclusion from the beginning and engaged a diverse set of perspectives to craft investment proposals and early opportunity analysis. Through outside traditional healthcare, I found a strong sense of purpose shaping the innovation team’s portfolio through these lenses and impacting Nike’s evolving digital wellness and partnership strategy.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? Recent times changed my meaning of innovation from my view growing up in Silicon Valley. It showed we cannot separate socioeconomic, racial, and healthcare inequalities and resurfaced rising ethical dilemmas from rapid technology adoption. I’m motivated to better understand these converging structures to guide my impact both professionally and personally.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? My corporate and nonprofit roles have shown the power of innovation in emerging technologies and in new business models to democratize health and wellness. I’ve been fortunate to see this radically changing space through multiple lenses, from a biotechnology company undergoing operational digital transformation to digital health projects focused on accessibility to new players (like Nike) expanding into digital offerings and mental wellness. Near-term, I hope to continue to be involved with corporate entrepreneurship and help new entrants rethink their business model and offerings to develop consumer-facing healthtech initiatives and partnerships grounded in social purpose.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Yale SOM, LBS.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into MIT Sloan’s MBA program? It’s OK if your path is not linear; it’s about the development and evolvement of your passions that really speaks volumes. What could you read about for hours or debate about in any conversation? Show that story. And if you’re unsure, allow yourself to explore and be a beginner – something we often forget to do as an adult.

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