Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Rupen Dajee, MIT (Sloan)

Rupen Dajee

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“Just trying to do a little good in the world.”

Hometown: Orange County, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: As an avid scuba diver, I named my company after the beautiful giant kelp forests off the coast of California. There’s so much we can learn from the underwater community!

Undergraduate School and Major: UCLA, Political Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Twisted Kelp, CEO

What has been your first impression of the Sloan MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Sloan story so far. My first impression of Sloan MBA students was formed at the AdMIT event in April. What struck me the most was the sheer number of current Sloanies who came to the event to welcome potential new students to their home, even amidst their own exams and rigorous course loads. The amount of pride and warm fellowship that the current Sloanies effused, and the level of detail that they undertook to ensure the best experience for us AdMITs was a huge reason that I chose to matriculate to Sloan.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of MIT Sloan’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? While Sloan’s MBA programming is incredible, it is the larger relationship and integration with the Institute that I find most important. The intersection of technology and science with business, and its application to the future of human organization, is my raison d’être for pursuing an MBA.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at MIT Sloan?
I am particularly excited about the opportunity that the Enterprise Management track will bring to my toolkit. My career thus far has been largely entrepreneurial, from growing a boutique consulting firm, to starting my own technology company, so the opportunity for a formal track that will expose me to more large scale enterprise management to scale impact is very compelling.

Action Learning Labs are one of MIT Sloan’s biggest attractions. Which lab interests you most? How does it fit with your interests?  As someone who prioritizes efficiency, the Operations Lab is very interesting because I believe it will help formalize learning and developing frameworks for achieving efficiency and scalability of organizations.

When you think of MIT, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Sloan program thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? When I used to think of MIT, I thought of a cold research institute that pumped out incredible world-changing advances through talent and sheer force of will. While the latter is certainly true, I was happy to find the former to be utterly wrong. My experience with the Sloan program thus far, and bump-ins with students from the larger Institute, have shown me the incredible diversity, dedication, and camaraderie that MIT carries throughout its population. Truly, an integrated team built with trust and a willingness to meld minds can achieve more together than its members could have alone!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a firefighter paramedic, I understand first-hand the importance of communications in the hazardous wildfire environment. I founded my company, Twisted Kelp, to create transformative communications solutions and solve connectivity problems that I experienced during disasters and emergencies. This year, during one of the largest wildfires in the country, I had the opportunity to establish connectivity in an area of the fire that had been impossible to cover through traditional means, and inaccessible by ground vehicles. The over 140 firefighters who were based in the area had no reliable nor timely method to communicate with their families, reliably reach their command system, nor download the latest intelligence to keep them safe. These were all non-issues after we were done with our work. The magnitude of the accomplishment only hit me when one of the crew supervisors, entirely covered in soot, sweat, and dirt, turned to me and said, “Thank you – this is the first time I’ve been able to talk to my family in weeks”.”

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? International wire news is something that I try to pay attention to, and would highly recommend to anyone. Especially in the age of social media (and algorithmic programming), it is so easy to get deeply ingrained into a curated silo of information that can put blinders on one’s ability to see things within the bigger picture. While it is important to take interest in and care deeply for the communities we live in, I think it is also important to have a pulse on the larger context of the ebbs and flows of the world. The perspective that is gained through the constant reminder that we are part of a larger global community, with its own uniqueness, successes, tragedies, innovations, and stories, is so applicable to every aspect of life – from diverse thought to direct problem solving.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wharton, Yale SOM

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into MIT Sloan’s MBA program? A common thread I’ve found through meeting Sloanies is that each one is someone that I genuinely want to get to know more. The humble intelligence and deep, honest curiosity is something that seems permeate throughout Sloan. Sometimes, the MBA process can be so cold and purely numeric. I would say – try to allow your personality and uniqueness to show through the quantifiable constraints of the process. Show off your inner poet underneath the quant.


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