2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Gautham Chandrasekar, UC San Diego (Rady)

Gautham Chandrasekar

Rady School of Management at UC San Diego

“I am a strong believer of ‘Perseverance never fails’ and am always driven on creating an environment around myself where I can constantly learn and grow (I consider it be a positive aftermath of my 5’3’’ Napoleon complex).”

Hometown: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Fun fact about yourself: While I cannot speak all of them clearly, I can understand six languages very well (English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & French)

Undergraduate School and Degree: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked as a Business Analyst (promoted from Junior Business Analyst) for the functional team at a company called Sagitec Solutions LLC. I was on the road most of the time between Baltimore and Minnesota and moved to India in 2019 to be the functional team lead for the Sagitec Pune Team.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? I worked for a venture capital firm called Anzu Partners as a Senior Summer Analyst within the life sciences investment team.

Where will you be working after graduation? I am currently working part time for Anzu Partners and will possibly be working full time as an Associate at Anzu Partners. I will be working as part of the life sciences investments, where I will be evaluating deals in the biomanufacturing and telehealth space and forwarding any beneficial opportunities to the Investment Committee to review as potential investments in Fund 3.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am the current President of the Rady Student Association Board (for MBAs, MFINs and MSBAs) and the VP of Finance for the Rady Life Sciences Club. I am also a Rady MBA Ambassador wherein I work with the Graduate Student Affairs to assist prospective students answer any queries related to the program.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I would say my proudest achievement (both academic and extracurricular) was obtaining the internship at a venture capital firm as an international student pivoting into the field of venture capital with no prior experience. Although I had a basic understanding on the venture capital industry through my MBA electives, I rate this feat highly because of the effort I put into networking and research. I was able to gain the attention of the firm only because I reached out to a person connected to a principal member within the firm and prior to my interview. I thoroughly researched the company and role of senior analyst to prepare. That led me to get an offer within a month and gave me a great opportunity to grasp as much of the venture capital industry from industry experts.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? A situation that comes to mind is the correspondence task assigned to the Sagitec Pune team in the months of November 2019 to March 2020. The technical team was to tasked to work on rectifying all the official reports and certificates that the system would generate and print as part of various unemployment insurance processes. It was a project that management was having tough time moving forward with, so I was asked to investigate as a third party. Understanding the background and importance of the task in ensuring the stage of the project was achieved in its life cycle, I volunteered to lead the team. The main challenge I had to face was to ensure the newly initiated team developers had a strong understanding of the task at hand and there was strong communication between developers and testers when working on assignments. To resolve this, I divided the team into focus groups, each tackling specific sectors of the problem and each group having a developer and tester working together. This way, there was a smoother transfer of information between the various members of the team which enhanced the knowledge of the new members and the rest of the team. I also checked in on the team on a more personal note so that they felt motivated to achieve their assignments in a timely manner. Eventually, we were able to achieve our goals ahead of the timeline.

Why did you choose this business school? Rady has a supportive culture, not just from the faculty, but the students and alumni networks as well. The school establishes an inclusive community even prior to the start of the program. which is very important for someone who is an international student. It creates opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to gain professional skills that can benefit them whether they wish to grow further into their field or if they wish to pivot into something they are completely new to (this was my personal experience). I found that really compelling after speaking with students before I arrived. The Rady community is one that I want to be a part of for the long term.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Without a doubt, Professor Shin is my favorite. He creates a learning environment that benefits all students regardless of their previous experience. He also takes the time to ensure students understand key concepts so that they remember all the essentials that will benefit them throughout their professional careers.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course is Rady’s famous ‘Negotiations’ course with Professor Uri Gneezy. Here, students are brought together from different cohorts, stay over a weekend at a hotel, and given case studies and simulations to negotiate various terms. I found that to be a great experience to understand where my respective strengths and weaknesses lie when it comes to discussing terms and agreements. It helped me identify new methods to improve communications as well as decision-making. It was also a great networking event to meet other cohort students outside of an academic environment.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Outside of the ‘Negotiations’ course weekend, I find the inter-cohort informal social events to be fun because it gave me an opportunity to meet new people and step outside my regular MBA bubble. But if I were to pick a Rady event, it would have to be the Rady Social fair on the courtyard where we interact with students and faculty on a more informal basis. I got to revisit some class memories with some of my professors in a fun and casual manner and it is one I hope to experience again as a member of the alumni community.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Looking back, academically, I wish I had taken more electives in much broader fields (for example: classes involving the healthcare system) or undertajeb an individual research study with a professor to experience a real-world simulation task. However, I still believe I had a great learning experience with what I have done so far and I have no regrets!

What is the biggest myth about your school? A big myth is that there are limited resources. There are always opportunities to explore more, and the best way to facilitate that is to genuinely reach out to students, staff and faculty and ask. I believe that you have to make an effort to step outside your bubble to find what you are looking for (a philosophy I strongly hold to my heart and know it’s effective)

What surprised you the most about business school? It was the valuable experience that my fellow classmates bring to the table. It is definitely an eye opener to see various professionals from around the globe bring so much knowledge to the table with absolutely no form of ego or fear of sharing information and ideas. Additionally, the willingness to help one another always stands out more than the competitiveness.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Networking, Networking, Networking – and I mean right out from the start is very key! I had reached out to my schools at a very early stage prior to applying to better understand what gives an applicant an edge over the others and I ensured to constantly stayed in touch with them through every stage of my process.

Additionally, while the STAR format is quite repeatedly brought up among application advisors, it is important to also identify the right examples to use because reviewers/interviewers are looking for what kind of impact you will have in the MBA class and it is important to highlight what makes you stand out.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? While all my classmates have positively impacted me in some form or the other, one friend that really stands out in showing consideration for others and who created a very positive impression on everyone around her is Natalie Yahnke. She is the current president of the Women of Rady club and is also the cohort representative of our MBA class (Full Time MBA 2023). She is hands-down one of the most hard-working and motivated individuals. She is very conscientious, involved and is a strong leader. I always will be proud of what she has achieved and will be achieving as a future leader.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Overall, the MBA has taught me the value behind having an open-minded approach towards learning, irrespective of where I am in my career timeline.

Long-term, given the vast opportunities available especially in the venture capital field, I wish to establish myself as an expert in multiple growing industry sectors such as clean energy or fintech, so that I can hopefully play an influential role in making a significant impact as a general partner for a reputed venture capital firm as well as a board member of a prominent startup.

If I were to look at the short term, I want to attend as many investment conferences as possible on a global scale to be able to meet entrepreneurs who can help me better understand what’s next for industries.

What made Gautham such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Gautham is like structural columns in a beautiful building. From outside the building, they are hard to recognize, but they are essential to sustain the building. After spending two quarters with Gautham in two different courses, I realized that his leadership through listening others, inclusion and understanding of diversity are remarkable. He made extra efforts to learning from others, starting from the assumption that diversity brings additional values and trying to be as much inclusive as possible in discussions. I believe that his empathy and prior experience in leading and working with teams in different cultures helped him to be more proactively embracing others with diversity. It also motivated him to go outside of his comfort zone and continuously push to learn more, which has been demonstrated in his summer internship in a completely new business domain. In addition, Gautham has been essential in his leadership roles within Rady student organization as well as a broader Rady community including prospective students and international Rady community. At the end of every class with him, I always felt that something worked well and it was quite rewarding. Now, I know who has been behind the curtain, the structural columns of the class of 2023.”

Hyoduk Shin
Jimmy Anklesaria Presidential Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship


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