2022 MBA To Watch: Anurag Anand, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Anurag Anand

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“I am curious, a problem solver, and love to find ways to help everyone around me.”

Hometown: New Delhi, Delhi (India)

Fun fact about yourself: To this day, I have not been able to learn how to swim and am also partly scared of heights. Still, I love adventure sports and like to push the boundaries of my comfort and completed both scuba diving and skydiving in a span of 24 hours of each other.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Undergrad School: School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi

Degree: Bachelor of Planning

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

Company: Whizzrd Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (a start-up firm involved in the aggregation and home delivery of secondary healthcare services)

Role: Director and Co-Founder

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021?

Company: IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame (a start-up incubator)

Location: South Bend, Indiana

Where will you be working after graduation?

Company: EY (EY Infrastructure Advisors, LLC)

Role: Senior (Infrastructure Consultant) – [Project Finance and P3]

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership Role: CFO, MBA Association

Leadership Role: CFO, Net Impact and Energy Club

Community Work: Volunteer work with Cultivate Food Rescue, South Bend

Community Work: Led the curricular work with PASO Colombia and provided strategy and financial consultation to support reestablishment of ex-FARC fighters in their local communities

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Working with the ex-FARC members in the remote locations in Colombia was my best experience while in business school. This project provided me the opportunity to get to know the people closely, understand their projects and the perspectives they operate it with (which, interestingly, is not only to make profits but also to distribute the cash flows among several related projects and provide the community members with jobs in order to keep them from depending on a life of violence). It produced some of the most inspired work (financial and strategic recommendations) that was relevant to their businesses and immensely applicable in streamlining their operations and finances leading to greater job creation.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my professional career, I am most proud of being able to take the jump into entrepreneurship. This jump came at a point in my career when I was in a stable job, but realized the importance of the service that most people struggled with and needed to ease their lives. The inception of Whizzrd Technologies came from a personal experience of needing similar services for my grandfather, but not being able to find one or at most finding a very fragmented market. It was then that I decided to step-in to aggregate these services under one roof providing customers and patients the ease of access they desired. During this time, not only did I achieve my primary goal, but also was able to raise and train the local (economically challenged) workforce and provide them with steady jobs.

Why did you choose this business school? I primarily chose Notre Dame for its focus on growing the good in business. Leaning into my past experiences, I had realized the importance of creating social impact with a business apart from just generating value for its shareholders. Notre Dame allowed me to explore those opportunities through its curricular work, extracurricular projects, the IDEA Center role (where I could guide start-ups to a better future), and a huge network of alumni (who taught me to always stand behind and support my peers not only professionally but also in their personal and academic journeys).

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Walter Clements, who taught me Working Capital Management, has hands-down been the best professor I have had the honor to learn from. Not only were his teachings incredibly applicable and useful in my understanding of finance – and eventually my job search – but he also delivered them in a way that drew great interest from all the students. Having an extensive background in the energy industry, he would tell us many stories from his past of himself or his peers dealing with working capital issues which he would then effortlessly tie back into his lesson plan. In effect, he gave us a more practical understanding of the topics we were learning.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite tradition at the business school was the game day football tailgates that we, the MBA Association, would host as part of our extracurricular activities. These events gave all the students an opportunity to get to know each other, and the larger cohort, outside of classrooms. We would even mingle with alumni who had graduated as far as 40 years ago. What these events did was to reaffirm the importance of building relationships in a business school and in life and how those relationships can really create opportunities and open doors for us.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? A lot of people talk about missing out on the complete MBA experience due to remote or hybrid formats during these two years, but I wouldn’t do anything differently within the school experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and Notre Dame made great efforts to give us as normal an experience as possible. The only thing I would probably do differently is to undertake more opportunities for case competitions in person. I had undertaken two such opportunities during my first year in the MBA school when most schools were working in a remote format and hence the experience was a little restricted. I believe more such in-person experiences would have exposed me to diverse MBA cultures across schools and provided me with an opportunity to find deeper relationships beyond my own school.

What is the biggest myth about your school? When people evaluate Notre Dame’s business school, they assume that finance is its core competence and will allow them to find careers in corporate finance or FLDP roles. However, I was able to witness the drive and focus in peers and those in the cohorts before and after me and I realized that Notre Dame would provide everyone with an opportunity to do exactly what they wanted to do. While it was not as common historically, I saw many people around me find careers in IB, Consulting, or Marketing, and the prestige of Notre Dame allowed them to pursue those opportunities.

What surprised you the most about business school? Coming from a much different context and culture in India, I expected business school to be a very cutthroat environment with each person looking out for their best interests and stealing opportunities from each other. However, I could not have been more wrong. Here, I found some of the best and most helpful people who were always willing to support me, even if we were going for the same classes and job opportunities.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I believe that being truthful and transparent is something that really helped me find a spot at Notre Dame. This school is very welcoming to people who show their willingness to grow. In my application, I was upfront about leaving my core industry of expertise to start a new business I felt I needed to pursue at the time, and I even showcased the kind of early success and the eventual failure I experienced in that business. Notre Dame appreciated that honesty and understood my aspirations and drive will bound to put me back on the road to success.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I wholeheartedly admire Leo Anderson. He used to sit in front of me in some of the earliest core classes and was one of my first friends. Even though I had a different background, culture, and accent, he was very welcoming and showed me the ropes of navigating life in this country. Apart from that, he is always the person who brings people together; supports them in everything they do, and builds them up. On top of that, as a former marine, he is immensely well traveled and cultured so there is always a lot to learn from him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My uncle and mentor, Vivek Prasad, who was the other co-founder of Whizzrd Technologies Pvt. Ltd., really pushed me to learn more about business and find success in this field. He supported me through my journey of establishing and running a start-up, even when things weren’t going perfectly and pushed me to learn through both education and trial and error. Even though both of us were equal partners in this business and I ran and understood most of the operations, he understood my decision step back from the business in search of personal growth and encouraged me to pursue higher education.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I would like to see an infrastructure project I have worked on come to fruition and experience the impact it makes on people lives (including my own). These projects can usually be very cost and time intensive. Having spent only 3 years in my previous infrastructure advisory role, I was never able to utilize an infrastructure I planned for and developed on paper. Secondly, I look forward to reaching a position in my professional career where I can make change happen. Be it from the perspective of signing off on a project to disbursing the funds required to maybe even laying the foundation stone for it.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? This one is a little difficult to answer. The pandemic rolled in just around the time I stopped working and I have spent the last 2 years in school. Going forward, it looks like I’ll be re-entering my professional life at a time when all the lockdowns and restrictions have been lifted by July/August of this year. However, having learned from the experiences of my friends, family, and professional networks, it has become apparent that productivity can be found even in the toughest of situations and it is hard to make an argument for completely going back in person. Personally, I would prefer at least a hybrid mode which would allow me to learn from watching my peers and asking more questions.

What made Anurag such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Anurag in several different capacities during his time in the MBA program. As an instructor, the best students to teach are the ones that seek understanding, not just information. This most certainly describes Anurag.

During the Frontline Engagements course this past fall, Anurag spearheaded the development of financial and budgeting tools to share with the cooperatives introduced to us by our partners, PASO Colombia. These rural agribusinesses pair former combatants with local campesinos as a means of rebuilding a peaceful society. Pairing information gained from conversations through translation from strangers in a strange land with modern analytics and an MBA perspective requires patience, empathy and aptitude. Anurag was able to navigate with ease in the field, which also reflects his approach to his studies and his classmates at large. Even after the course ended, he still sought out understanding to continue to grow for the future.

In addition to time in the classroom and time in the field, I’ve been able to work with Anurag in his capacity as CFO for the MBA Association. Although he didn’t come into the program with a background in Finance as is typical for the role, he was able to earn the respect of his classmates in just a few short months to be elected. His excellent stewardship of program resources helped to navigate through the continuing challenges of the pandemic, while leaving future classes with a solid foundation.

Humility is an important trait in a servant leader and one of the best examples of this in Anurag was his surprise at being put forward for this feature. Even through leadership roles in the program and close engagement with many of his classmates, there was no expectation of recognition for the many hours of service to others.”

Joseph Sweeney
Academic Director of the Notre Dame MBA Programs
Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame


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