Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Arpit Upadhyay, IIM Lucknow

Arpit Upadhyay

IIM Lucknow

“I call myself an explorer who enjoys exploring places, people and experiences.”

Hometown: Kasganj (Uttar Pradesh)

Undergraduate School and Major: Harcourt Butler Technological Institute – Biochemical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Teach For India – Manager, Partnerships, and Government Relations

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Lucknow’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Before my MBA, I wanted to pursue a career in Consulting, I believe IIM Lucknow is one of the top business schools in the country for the consulting domain. Thus, the career perspective and IIM-Lucknow’s satellite campus in the country’s capital make many things accessible by giving a lot of exposure in the course. There are multiple aspects of IIML that made me to choose it over others:

  1. The Best In-House Marketing and Strategy Faculty: We have had a chance to learn from best Marketing gurus in Prof. Rajeev Kumra and one of the best strategic gurus in Prof Anadi Pande. Apart from these two, most of the profs here have very rich industry interface, that makes the connections of industry come alive in the classrooms.
  2. Rich International Immersion: The program that I enrolled here in IIML has very unique international immersion in which we get a taste of 3 countries and 4 cities of Europe. This is something very unique here at IIML. So during our international immersion, we got chance to learn Fintech in Swiss Banks, Negotiation with 23 countries at European Union, and Artificial Intelligence and Culture in France (Europe’s cultural capital).
  3. Goals: Most of the courses that IIML offered are well aligned with my own requirements for my short- and long-term goals.

What has been your favorite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Lucknow? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it? My favorite courses and lessons learnt:

  1. Macroeconomics: It’s so fascinating to think and observe the core aspects of economics. Our prof made the Indian connection visible in the classes and most learning happened in the discussion and assignments.
  2. Organization Behavior: I believe one of the most philosophical subjects with one of the coolest profs I have ever seen. All the classes were full of energy and learning about philosophy, org cultures, structures, and more.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career so far is to lead a team of 65+ fellows and 25+ government school owners during COVID by designing and implementing key strategic initiatives along with key officials of the government of Gujarat. I was also awarded as Transformational Impact Journey Fellow in 2018 for the exceptional work.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: As I am quite introvert personality, getting to know new people and talking to new people was something that’s not my cup of tea. I always have my intrinsic circle in which I interact. But MBA is all about networking and getting well-connected. Initially I was quiet. Because of the life at IIML – projects, discussions, late night parties – I was able to jell with many people, which cured my inhibitions quite well. I am still on the path, but I have achieved a significant success when it comes to networking and socializing with others. I believe IIML gives sufficient exposure to interact with multiple people through case studies, group discussions, international immersions and chill times.

What is your class’s favorite hangout away from school? Why do you gather there? Our favorite hangout place is Chai ki Tapri near our school. There is no gathering agenda , we just chill, vent, and yes it’s also a place of Gossip  One of the aspect of studying at IIML is also to know your classmates really well. We get sufficient time to chill and do lot of deep conversations over tea and coffee.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?  I have been in the impact sector for the past six years. I have worked on ground zero in the education sector as well as supported the state government on the World bank’s project. I have led multiple teams and worked on very complex problems of ed-inequity. After these six years, I realized that, in order to enhance my skills and move a level up, I need to upgrade myself with certain theoretical and practical knowledge. This ranges from Finance to Economics to Organizational Behavior to Communication. Thus, an MBA is a right decision to upgrade myself at this juncture. Post-MBA, my long-term goal is to work in Impact Consulting to support policymakers to design and implement right policies.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Lucknow? My advice will be very straight. As you are entering into the b-school , you are committing a year of your life and lots of capital investment. Before joining, please be crystal clear on your why and stick to your why throughout. That way, you will be able to make connections in all the courses that will be taught. Even if you are unclear of your reason, try to find your reason for MBA and then stick to it. believe me it will be a fun ride, a ride you will remember throughout your life.

Specific to IIML, my advice is to talk to the alumni of IIML. The MBA here makes you the perfect manager and executive. From the start, increase your rigour, know the institute better, know the campus and profs better, and know your courses really better. Also think about what you can give to the diverse batch. The batch in which average work experience is of 8.1 years: what role you can play to add on to the diversity.


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