Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Saumya Upadhyay, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Saumya Upadhyay

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

“Ex-Nuclear Scientist who strives for a happy world!”

Hometown: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I am a foodie. Food can uplift my mood and hunger makes me angry!

Undergraduate School and Major: Madan Mohan Malaviya University of Technology, BTech in Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nuclear Fuel Complex-Department of Atomic Energy, Scientific Officer

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was drawn to the unique experience of the study group concept. Here, each student is part of an eight-member team, which discusses and debates hundreds of cases over a year from diverse angles to finally arrive at a consensus. This study group concept makes us gain more out of the case-based pedagogy that is followed at IIMA.

Before discussing the cases in the classroom, we brainstorm in our Syndicate groups, think through all possible angles, agree, disagree, and finally arrive at a solution. The solution we get is one of many possible solutions that we discuss further in class. This concept of study group prepares us for each case, and we develop a line of thought before even discussing the case in class. This makes the whole classroom discussion much more enriching, and everyone adds value to the discussion. Over one year, solving hundreds of cases pertaining to almost all business functions and industries organically develops our problem-solving aptitude and the concept of the Syndicate group makes us better team players. This conjoin of cased-based pedagogy and the concept of study group pushes me to think and learn from individuals from diverse industries and functions who have substantial experiences in their domains. This whole system helps me grow every day, and therefore it is so important to me!

What has been your favourite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Ahmedabad? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it? IIMA has offered me the platter with all sorts of knowledge required for understanding business.  I am not able to zero at one course or activity as a favourite; I loved several concepts and was astonished by the impact of these simple concepts. None of these concepts was taught in the traditional way, but with practical application of the concepts. How game theory could be used to make decisions? How does spending have a multiplier effect on the economy? How can data analysis solve shopkeepers’ inventory decisions? How leaking in the distribution channel can be addressed? There were hundreds of other questions that were answered in class and all are my favourites. The biggest takeaway of all these learning was that “There is no formula for decision-making, but there are tools which if used properly can show you direction”.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest achievement milestone to date is my selection in the BARC OCES (Orientation Course for Engineering Graduates and Science Postgraduates) program to serve the Department of Atomic Energy as a scientist. This milestone paved the way for immense learning and subsequent achievements. In this one-year program, I was trained by the best scientists in India and got an opportunity of field visits to many innovative, advanced, and classified nuclear establishments in India. This has been the best learning experience in my life to-date. Subsequently, during the 7+ years of my career at Nuclear Fuel Complex, I worked on several strategic projects aimed at making India self-reliant. To summarize, the milestone of getting selected in BARC brought me numerous challenges, opportunities, learning, achievements, and diverse experiences. On the road ahead, I will always cherish it.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: In my MBA journey, pushing myself out of my comfort zone has become the new normal. My thought process has evolved. I perceive things differently; I analyze things from different angles and make better decisions as the protagonist of cases. I can put my ideas in a better way and business for me is more than just profit and loss. I believe this self-growth and understanding developed over these three months is my biggest accomplishment in this journey.

What is your class’s favourite hangout away from school? Why do you gather there? Most of us love to walk on the old campus’s tree-covered roads. These roads illuminated in yellow streetlights are an experience in themselves and can revive the mood at any time.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Having spent a fulfilling journey at NFC with numerous achievements and managing strategic initiatives which directly impacted projects of national importance, I wanted to make a transition to experience diverse industries & take up new challenges, while creating new growth avenues. I realized that formal business education is necessary to emerge successfully, especially in these new frontiers.  As I needed to develop a holistic understanding of the concepts of management, I decided to pursue an MBA.

After my MBA I want to be part of a think tank and would love to make decisions having long-term impacts. I hope to get such a role where I can be myself. Rest, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Ahmedabad? The most important part of admission to the IIMA PGPX program is the story that you bring through essays. Before moving ahead introspect and try to bring out the story of your life and think about your motivation to do an MBA. A true and impactful story will win you admission.


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