2022 MBA To Watch: Rahul Manay, Wisconsin School of Business

Rahul Manay

University of Wisconsin – Madison (Wisconsin School of Business)

A dedicated, charismatic leader who continuously strives for growth by working and learning from others.”

Hometown: Bangalore, India

Fun fact about yourself: I have lived, studied, and worked in 5 different countries (UAE, Honk Kong, Singapore, India, and the United States).

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Rochester, BS in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Schneider Electric, Services Sales Support Engineer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Porsche Consulting, Atlanta, GA

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte, Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-chair of the 12th Annual Graduate Marketing Network Case Competition
  • Mentor as part of the Multicultural Mentoring Program
  • MBA Student Ambassador
  • WSB Master’s Consulting Projects Student Support
  • Member of the MBA Consulting Club
  • Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics
  • Site captain and volunteer with Business Badgers Giving Back 2021

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I had an incredible opportunity to co-lead the largest student-run case competition in the Wisconsin School of Business. The 12th Annual Graduate Marketing Network Case Competition consisted of 47 MBA and masters’ students, 7 corporate sponsors, and 12 industry judges. I am very proud of the success of the event as my co-chair, Ngoc Krystal, and I had to overcome unique challenges over the 8-month preparation journey.

Ngoc and I participated in the previous year’s GMN Case Competition; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic our experience was completely virtual. We were aware of the tradition and impact of the GMN Case Competition, but we were unsure of the direction of an in-person case competition. It was our goal to bring back the competition to be in-person and to add new elements to the competition. Not only did we manage to successfully host an in-person event, but we were also able to adapt the competition to a hybrid model. We were able to set up the competition in a way that enabled some judges to participate virtually from various parts of the country. Similarly, some students who were unable to participate in person, due to health concerns, were encouraged to join their teams virtually during their presentation. It was a pleasure to watch the participants compete, learn, and grow their network. Uncertainty and ambiguity challenges leaders and I believe the challenges we faced in organizing the GMN case competition allowed us to truly exercise our leadership abilities.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?  My role before joining the MBA program involved working on services projects all over the United States. However, at times, there would be projects located outside of the United States. One of my most memorable and challenging projects was located in Antarctica. When I first started working on the project, I remember feeling overwhelmed as it had only been a year since I started my role. Over time, I was able to prove to myself that any challenge can be overcome if you take the time to break it down into manageable pieces. I was able to successfully complete the project and even gained a reputation as the ‘go-to’ for future Antarctica-related projects.

Why did you choose this business school? During my time at Schneider Electric, I recognized that I had a passion for process improvement. As I started to explore my new-found passion, I quickly learned that I wanted to get a deeper understanding of operations management in an organization. I knew that an MBA would surely help me achieve that. Once I started doing my research for MBA programs, Wisconsin’s business core plus specialization model caught my eye. I was certain that this model would allow me to develop my business acumen along with a specialized focus in operations and technology management.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? All the professors of the Wisconsin MBA program have their own style of teaching and challenging a student. I was very fond of Professor Jan B. Heide’s style of teaching. He had his own way of drawing each student’s attention with his great storytelling abilities, which would be amplified by his use of hand gestures and body language. His passion for marketing was infectious and energizing. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from him.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite tradition was the OTM Holiday Party hosted by the second-year OTM students for all first-year OTM students. It includes a gift exchange game and a tradition known only as a “haircut”. It is one of my most fond memories, along with many others during my time in Wisconsin. I am excited for future OTMers to experience this tradition.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? One of the biggest strengths of the Wisconsin MBA is its flexible curriculum. If I could do one thing differently from my MBA experience, I would have opted to take advantage of the free electives to explore more subjects outside of the business school.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Many assume that, as the University of Wisconsin – Madison is a large public institution, the Wisconsin MBA program probably has a very large class size and crowded lectures. However, I am proud to share that this is not true and that the small class size is a feature of pride that enables us to build close relationships with our classmates and build a closely-knit community.

What surprised you the most about business school? I came into the MBA program with a misconception that all my classmates would be hyper-competitive and individualistic. I believe this idea came from the competitive application pool of very highly qualified candidates. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was absolutely incorrect. Every one of my classmates shared a passion to help each other to succeed. It was great to see the collaborative nature of my class and I think it is truly the reason why we are such a close community.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? While applying to the Wisconsin School of Business, I made sure to connect with several MBA Student Ambassadors and alumni to learn more about their experience in the program. The connections I made allowed me to get a more detailed understanding of the curriculum and the ‘Wisconsin Experience’. I believe this effort made it possible for me to be successful in my essays and interviews for admission.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? My classmates are a big component of my learning experience at the Wisconsin School of Business, and I admire them all. If I had to select the most admirable to me, it would be Kwesi Kwapong. I have never met anyone who can grasp a subject matter or concept as quickly as Kwesi. He has a unique lens to problem-solving and a very creative style of storytelling that is honestly inspiring. Throughout our time in the program, he has been a great teacher and a reliable friend to discuss ideas with. We share very different leadership styles, and this truly allows us to learn from each other. I am certain of Kwesi’s success in the future, and I am grateful for learning with him and from him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I would say the person who most influenced my decision to pursue business school was my father. He has always inspired me to stay competitive and to put the work in to stand out. After graduating from my undergraduate education, the two of us were discussing my career direction and he shared the value of a graduate business education. He sparked my curiosity and made me think about how I can improve myself. He continues to challenge me to grow. I must say that I would not have been able to grow if not for his encouragement, love, and support.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Mentor a startup – I would like to use my experience to mentor a startup from an initial idea to a stage that they view as a success, which could be either a buyout or an IPO.
  1. Write a book – I don’t know about what yet, but I would like to share it with the world in print. There is something very timeless and immortal about a book.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? I believe the graduating MBA class of 2022 has had a unique experience. We all started our academic semester in 2020, the start of the pandemic. Most of us completed our internships virtually, without ever going into an office. We now graduate two years later into a workforce that has completely adapted to a hybrid model or a fully virtual model. Several companies have adjusted their need for in-person office attendance, and I believe this opens up several opportunities. Previously, a professional’s career opportunities were dependent on their geographical location and willingness to relocate. The pandemic has now enabled a degree of flexibility in work that redefines how a professional would pursue future career opportunities.

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

“Rahul Manay has been an outstanding member of the Wisconsin FT MBA, Class of 2022. From the time he arrived to campus, as part of our new admit student weekend, Rahul demonstrated an innate curiosity and enthusiasm to embrace his MBA studies and contributions to the MBA program. Rahul has been a student in the Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management where he has maintained a 3.936 cumulative GPA while also being extremely involved in leadership development opportunities. He takes pride in being a member of the Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management and has a passion for creating a caring community within the Erdman Center.

Rahul believes friendships and bonds developed during the MBA program’s two years can develop into long lasting relationships. As such, he diligently strives to create opportunities for both first- and second-year Erdman Center students to come together to nature relationships and create a supportive network. He understands the difficulties of being a first year MBA student, and strives to support first year students through mock interviews, case training, and resume revisions. Rahul understands that support can also be in the form of just being present for a student who is looking to express themselves. He also enjoys coordinating many of the OTM traditions that are passed on to first year students so that they can give back in their second year. In his opinion, supporting each other and learning from each other has helped each other develop as student and as a professional.

Rahul has been passionate for pivoting his career into the management consulting. During his time at the Wisconsin School of Business he has been available as a resource to students who want to learn about the consulting industry and the tenuous hiring process that comes with it. He enjoys working with our faculty and our career team to help build the Wisconsin School of Business pipeline for talented future consultants. He has volunteered as an MBA Student Ambassador to prospective students looking to learn about the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin School of Business MBA. Rahul served as the co-chair for the 12th annual Graduate Marketing Network Case Competition. Rahul’s internship during the summer of 2021 was at Porsche Consulting and he has accepted a full-time role with Deloitte Consulting in their supply chain practice. His willingness to go above and beyond outside of the classroom is what defines Rahul and why his classmates respect and appreciate his contributions.”

Steven Boeder
Director, Erdman Center


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