Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Aniroodh Shankar, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Aniroodh Shankar

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“I am a duty-driven and good-humored individual, committed to lifelong learning and impact in healthcare.”

Hometown: Chennai, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I earned the nickname ‘Violet’ while working in the hospital emergency department because I was always called to deal with a ‘code violet’ (violent or belligerent patient in the emergency room) owing to my imposing presence and stature.

Undergraduate School and Major: The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – MB BCh BAO, Medicine, Surgery, and Obstetrics.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Bain & Company – Associate Consultant

What excites you most about studying in Washington, DC? It is being immersed in a city that sits at the center of global business and politics. With D.C.’s unique position in the U.S., there is a melting pot of cultures coupled with a growing blend of technology in every aspect of business, from healthcare to social impact and beyond. I am excited to explore D.C. for all its history whilst having a foot planted firmly in the future.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Georgetown McDonough’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? In keeping with Georgetown’s central tenet of cura personalis, which means “care of the whole person,” I was drawn to the program’s holistic approach to business education – educating the whole person. The McDonough MBA is a general program that truly has a commitment to educating the person as a whole – this is how I see it.

Without the added onus or diversion of seeking a concrete MBA concentration (as a stamp that I believe stays with you), individuals like myself can enter this world with the help of many distinguished members of faculty. I am a physician by training and have worked in healthcare consulting, but I was drawn to the idea of a general MBA and attending an institution that truly wants to “care for the whole person.”

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Georgetown McDonough?
I am seeking opportunities at the intersection of healthcare and technology; therefore, I look forward to joining the Healthcare Business Alliance because an organization like this located within a university like Georgetown can provide so many opportunities for collaboration across schools and disciplines around the central theme of healthcare. I also look forward to being a part of the tech club and, on a social front, the KEGS socials every Thursday at McDonough – I can’t think of a better way to wrap up a tough week of classes!

Georgetown McDonough programming focuses heavily on instilling a global mindset. Why is exposure to global diversity so critical to business success?
I have lived across six countries throughout my life, emigrating from India at the age of four and then studying and working as a doctor in Ireland and the United  Kingdom before moving back to India where I went on to pursue a career in healthcare consulting. Having seen and worked in a collaborative environment with many diverse groups, I have seen first-hand that global diversity leads to a variety of opinions and viewpoints. These viewpoints are vital when it comes to approaching and solving problems, whether a medical diagnosis or a hospital expansion strategy. Therefore, I think that instilling this global mindset, widening the exposure of the individual student, and nurturing a breeding ground for diversity can push us to become better problem solvers and future leaders of business.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It came amid the first COVID-19 wave in India – the hospital in which I was working was an understaffed, overworked, and resource-scarce 1,650 bedded hospital in a major urban center. Circumstances considered, this time proved to be a test of my resolve and leadership capabilities. I was often one of the leads in a COVID-19 ward and it was through teamwork and planned allocation for the use of resources like oxygen concentrators that we were able to pull through one of the toughest weeks in the first wave, where I clocked over 100 hours. I was thrust into a leadership role and forced to make life-or-death decisions and had to learn on the job. This week in question was the biggest accomplishment in my career because under the leadership of myself and one of my co-residents, our COVID-19 ward was able to impact the care of over 120 individuals who, with our support, were ultimately able to overcome moderate to severe COVID-19 infection while posting a 48-hour period without any COVID-19 deaths (the longest period for our hospital since the start of that wave in India).

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Working as a physician during the COVID-19 era, I saw things that many doctors of previous generations wouldn’t have seen in a lifetime of practice. There was only so much that my colleagues and I could do as individuals working in a team. This was the inciting catalyst to my pursuit of an MBA, I felt shackled in my position, only able to have an impact within a limited circle of patients and colleagues. This is what lead me to pursue more community-driven positions like vaccinations camps and teleconsultations for the elderly in India. Adding to this, I seized an opportunity to work in healthcare consulting, contributing my first-hand experience to the firm whether we worked with private hospital chains, NGOs, or even the public sector in India. However, I wanted to do more and thought that an MBA would be the best way to equip myself in a world where business is becoming an increasingly vital aspect to addressing and solving a problem. After my MBA, I hope to enter the healthcare industry in a program or product development role at an organization in the overlapping area between healthcare and technology, as I feel this is where I can have the biggest impact.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? When immersed in the world of MBA applications, I think it is very easy to be tunnel-visioned into a world of your own, to become completely absorbed into it and see business schools for their rankings and academics. At times, a prospective candidate may forget about the culture they are going to enter. Something I would recommend for those at risk of this tunnel vision is a symphony my wife introduced me to, which is Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, the “Symphony of a Thousand”. It is this grand piece that, in my opinion, captures the spirit of collaboration. This spirit is what every single prospective MBA offers to an institution and to their cohort as they begin and progress through their MBA journey because it isn’t just finance or accounting that make up the MBA experience.

In Mahler’s piece, instead of having a single large choir, which was the convention of the time, there is a large choir surrounded by smaller supporting choruses (e.g., a children’s chorus and men’s chorus, backed by over 170 instruments). Mahler’s piece was revolutionary and shows how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, how collaboration can form something magnificent, and therefore I would recommend it to prospective MBAs. As an MBA, you are about to enter an extremely collaborative environment and this collaboration is seen in so many facets of life that can be highlighted. Taking a few minutes to appreciate that can give them a new appreciation for the program they are about to enter.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Georgetown McDonough’s MBA program? Another phrase that I read repeatedly when I was doing research into Georgetown McDonough was “Best in the world and best for the world”. Georgetown McDonough places a lot of emphasis on this ideal — they want to create business leaders that are best for the world, whether that be through diversity and inclusion, sustainability in business, or giving back to the community. This message of thoughtful leadership and serving a common good resonates with me. In addition to my COVID-19 experience, I worked with several NGOs during my time as a consultant and I even volunteered as a physician with an Indian prison and several government initiatives. To this end, the advice that I would give potential applicants is to demonstrate how they resonate with this mission that the McDonough School of Business has outlined. How and why do you feel you can be the best for the world? How and why do you feel McDonough can help you achieve this goal? The ability to articulate this kind of goal or mission during the admissions process is certainly a point that I think will serve any applicant well in the journey to McDonough.


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