Why An Already-Successful Indian Entrepreneur Chose Babson For His MBA

Rakshit Reddy has begun his second year in the Babson Olin MBA program. He was already a highly successful entrepreneur before starting the program in 2021. Courtesy photo

Rakshit Nadiga Hanumantha Reddy is, by any measure, a wildly successful entrepreneur.

Reddy is a founding team member of Waycool Foods, one of India’s largest agri-tech startups, which has received more than $80 million in funding since 2015. The social impact company works with thousands of Indian farmers to help them sell produce at a fair price. Waycool has more than 4,000 employees and boasts about $50 million in annual revenue, and has recently expanded operations to Dubai.

So why would Reddy — who serves as chief growth officer for a company that has done nothing but grow — want to go back to school to get an MBA? And why choose a school, Babson College’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, that is best known for its entrepreneurship programs?


Rakshit Reddy: “In each and every stage of our life, we have challenges, and we come up with new things to overcome them.”

“I was always fascinated by Babson,” Reddy says. “One of my co-founders did his undergrad at Babson. He was always talking about how the faculty are very helpful, how the entire community is supportive when somebody’s starting something. I don’t know about other colleges, I can’t comment on that, but when it comes to Babson, they’re very helpful. If you reach out to any alum, they try to do what they can do.

“Also, it gives me access to a lot of family business entrepreneurship in the budding stages, because Babson is known for it.”

Reddy had a diverse academic and professional background before Waycool. He earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering in 2011, then a master’s in engineering management two years later. His CV ranges from automotive consulting to manufacturing to agri-tech.

But once Waycool took off and he and co-founders Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari began working there full-time, Reddy realized that he needed more: He needed to “brush up on my leadership skills.”


Waycool had begun as a typical B2C company, a retail firm that bought produce from Indian farmers — staples like fresh produce and dairy — and sold it from brick-and-mortar storefronts. By 2017, when he joined the company full-time, Reddy and his co-founders knew they needed to change their business model.

“The biggest challenge, we realized, is if you buy only good produce from farmers, obviously, this is not a manufactured product. It comes with different shape, sizes, and all that stuff,” Reddy tells Poets&Quants. “So we thought, ‘Why don’t we help them liquidate their entire produce?’ Because if you only buy good produce, obviously, you’ll struggle to liquidate the balance produce because it’ll go for a lesser cost. In a country like India, we have huge supply of produce, and at the same time we have a huge population, too.

“We thought, ‘Instead of doing a B2C as a bigger market, we’ll try doing B2B initially, and then see how the market goes.'” It went very well. Waycool started supplying hotels and restaurants, then moved on to catering institutes. “We saw it grow, and then we realized, ‘Why don’t we supply to the modern trade now?’ Modern trade is like the Whole Foods or the Amazons of the world. They need packed produce and we have very good margins.”

Business exploded. WayCool was on its way to becoming India’s largest and fastest-growing agri-commerce company, operating a full stack, broadline product range across multiple channels and categories, serving over 100,000 clients in the general trade, modern trade, and food services space; among its clients are Madhuram, KitchenJi, L’exotique, and Freshey’s.

The office of Waycool Foods in Bangalore, India. Courtesy photo


But with success came challenges — not least for Reddy as Waycool’s chief growth officer, charged with driving multiple channels and products across markets while also driving the company’s digital transformation. Though he had “a leading hand,” as he puts it, in “shaping the value chain and all aspects of the business,” Reddy knew he was missing key skills that the firm needed him to have.

“My idea for getting into business school came when I was working with multiple banks and I was going through multiple business models, because we were building a lending channel and I was leading the entire thing since I was a core team member and I was in the leadership team,” he says. “I had to wear multiple different hats because I was driving the growth opportunity for the company.

“It was when I was building a business model of the digital lending business while dealing with banks that it became very tough for me, because all my life I worked in marketing and operations, and I’ve never been part of finance. I used to learn from mistakes, but my mistakes were costing the company money.

“I thought, ‘Why don’t I brush up my leadership skills and financial skills? You should have a hold on it.’ So that’s why I decided to join Babson.”

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