Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Shriya Kumar, Wharton School

Shriya Kumar

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“Over the past 5 years, I have worked in 4 countries in 3 asset classes in JP Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Banking Division. I have also run half-marathons in each country I have worked.”

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Fun Fact About Yourself:  

  1. In collaborative efforts with Rotibank, the food rescue organization I co-founded, I hold a Guinness book of world record for ‘Most Diabetic eyescreening in 8 hours.’ We served 20,000 diabetic friendly meals to patients to raise awareness.
  2. I am a long-distance runner and have completed several half marathons, full marathons and the longest run I have completed is 50km.

Undergraduate School and Major: Computer Engineering, University of Mumbai

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Associate, India Equities, JP Morgan

What has been your first impression of the Wharton MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Wharton story so far.

Ambitious yet collaborative. As an international student, moving to a country where I do not have any immediate family members pushed me into fight for survival mode. For the first week, I was trying to do it all myself. I felt anxious, overwhelmed, and alone. Endless trips to target, IKEA, and Walmart without a car can be exhausting. One evening, on a casual stroll with a classmate, I casually told her how I felt. The very next day I see her and two of her friends, also at Wharton, at my door. They had rented out a car so that they could help me settle in. Community building is second nature at Wharton. I never thought people who I was competing with for the same jobs would become my Wharton family.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the Wharton School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The analytical rigor of Wharton’s MBA program, combined with the cross-disciplinary resources of the Social Impact Initiative, was one of the many reasons why I applied to Wharton. Also, it was the only schools that has a finance-centric ESG major – an area of expertise that ties to my career goals.

Beyond career progress, Wharton has a lot to offer for personal development too. I’m seeking to hone myself as a leader and become a self-aware and resilient investor. Courses like Executive Coaching and Feedback Program will help me recognize my strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I believe a Wharton MBA will help me grow as an investor and authentic leader.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at the Wharton School?

Food and Beverage Club: I am a huge foodie! However, given the popularity of F&B club, I see this as an opportunity to extend my contribution to widen the Wharton community by creating awareness on food security. Collaborating with F&B and PhilAbundance, I’ll start an on-campus initiative that regularly and consistently diverts excess food to those in need.

Investment Club and Social Impact Club: The opportunity to brainstorm with like-minded and hear guest speakers will build my network, expose me to new investing styles and receive feedback on mine.

When you think of the Wharton School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Excellence: The sheer exposure to mammoth diversity in terms of organizations, races, cultures, and thought processes in the classroom pushes you out of your comfort zone, forces innovation and drives inclusivity. This is a short shot formulation to success and becoming an authentic leader.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Despite being the most junior and the only woman on my team, I was asked to co-lead the expansion of Indian Equities Business in South & Southeast Asia, managing multi-billion INR equity portfolios for retail and institutional funds. I was responsible for creating AI-based stock evaluation metrics to incorporate sustainability metrics into investment theses. This innovation helped our desk outperform benchmark by 28% and earning a 5-star rating on ESG.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? My work experience across four geographies sensitized me towards the growing interest in companies that meet these environmental, social and governance (ESG) values. I noticed that the overall progress in this area is constrained by the regulatory uncertainties and the limited knowledge of this field. However, the major issue that perturbed me was that social and impact investing was only reserved to institutions and high net worth individuals, leaving retail investors with few accessible options. This is the gap I want to address, creating retail-ESG products that cater to a range of financial goals and sustainability preferences, benefiting investors, communities, and businesses. My vision is to launch my own fund, making sustainable public-market investments in emerging economies. I want to make ESG investing accessible to all.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I was particularly inspired by the chapter on self-confidence and self-compassion in “Option B,” a book by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. For the longest time, Wharton felt like a dream, and I felt I didn’t have the background or qualifications to secure an admission. The book helped me reinstate my confidence and appreciate my nontraditional background and apply.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? MIT, Columbia and Wharton

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Wharton School’s MBA program? Do not try to project an image of someone they are not. Anticipating what a college wants you to be and trying to conform to that expectation is not the road to a good match. Be vulnerable and write what matters to you in simple, non-flowery language. Wharton doesn’t want you to be someone else, it wants you to be you. It is one school that appreciates you being you and celebrates diversity.


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