Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Saswati Devi, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Saswati Devi

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business

“Despite being risk-averse, I have moved to a new city as a stranger for a new job and now moving to a new country for an MBA at Tepper.”

Hometown: Odisha – the East Coast of India

Fun Fact About Yourself:  Not really something to brag about, but I had already changed 8 schools by my undergrad owing to my father’s transferable job. This makes me value the quality of friendship over quantity.

Undergraduate School and Major: College of Engineering & Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha (Electrical Engineer)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: NVIDIA Graphics, Senior Embedded Software Engineer

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Carnegie Mellon’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?  It’s almost cliche to reiterate at this point, but the dreaded quant-heavy curriculum is what drew me to CMU in the first place and open-for-all access to programs across the university. Tepper is an incredible amalgamation of quantitative analysis and soft-skills development — the best of both worlds.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Carnegie Mellon? I intend to take up some courses which are outside of my wheelhouse to expand my worldview to help me make business decisions from various angles. One such course is Investment Analysis. I believe this would enable me to make futuristic business predictions. Apart from the necessary professional clubs, I am looking forward to being a part of the Tepper Outdoor Adventure Club and Pro-Bono Consulting Club.

The Tepper MBA is known for intensive one-on-one coaching and personal development. What area do you hope to strengthen during your two years in business school and why? I am very excited to partake in the accelerated leadership development coaching and relevant soft skills courses. I feel, as an introverted engineer cooped up in the small engineering inner circle, that I can develop prerequisite toolkits — data-driven decision making, conflict resolution, ethical leadership, mental resilience — to thrive as a business leader.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I would say starting up a new business segment on an automotive safety project that I continued to own until my last day at the office. On the face-value, it seemed as though I was just designing and implementing the software, but it had a huge impact in the real world in making autonomous driving reliable and robust.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 made me more introspective and self-aware. I noticed the setbacks in my personality and professional approach and actively tried to improve upon them. However, I do miss the in-person communications and hangouts because I tend to fare better in that rather than connecting virtually.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? As I mentioned earlier as well, COVID-19 does put things into perspective. I hope to work on my weak areas and come out with a growth mindset.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? IESE Spain, Foster, Cornell, McCombs

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program?  Never lose your eye on the prize. It’s a long, arduous journey from GMAT preparation, school research, interactions, applications and interviews, but it’s all worth it in the end.


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