2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Dr. Rohit Singh Malan, IIM Ahmedabad

Dr. Rohit Singh Malan

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

“A doctor turned civil servant; and a thinker who wants to create social impact at scale.”

Hometown: Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh

Fun fact about yourself: I am an amateur street magician.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? As an officer appointed by the Honorable President of India, I worked in the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. My primary job was to advise and audit Indian Army and Indian Air Force on their infrastructure projects. Also, I defended the Government of India in the court of law including in the Supreme Court of India. In my last assignment, I received my second ‘Award for Excellence’ by the Honorable Minister of Defence, Government of India. This was for being the first in the country to satisfactorily finish a flagship project (Land Survey of Defence Land) of the government.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Not applicable

Where will you be working after graduation? I am going back to the Government as Assistant Director General of Defence Estates of India. My job would be to supervise the officers in the field offices (spread all over India) and to address the queries and requirements of the Members of Parliament (Upper and Lower House) and Members of Legislative Assemblies.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership Roles: I worked as the Secretary of Healthcare Club. I was also the spokesperson for my Syndicate Group. I represented my program in cultural and sports festivals held in IIM Ahmedabad. I represented IIM Ahmedabad in Inter-IIM sports competition.

Community Work: I mentored MBA aspirants coming from government and military backgrounds. As I had offer from Kellogg School of Management as well, I mentored aspirants of both US and Indian B Schools. 3 of my mentees made it to B-schools of their choice.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I cherish serving as the first ever Secretary of the Healthcare Club at the institute. After three years, the Healthcare SIG (Special Interest Group) transformed into a full-fledged ‘Club’. I began by arranging the knowledge sharing sessions between members of the Club. Thereafter, I brought prominent personalities to come and share their journey and vision in the field of healthcare. We covered issues related to digital healthcare, med-tech, hospital administration, and medical insurance. The membership of the club increased by 50% in just a few months. I convinced Ministry of Health, Government of India for a long-term engagement with students of IIM Ahmedabad. As a result, the Ministry offered research projects to the students. The projects focused on current problems related to healthcare landscape in India. I took up one of those projects that was regarding evaluating the role of ‘Clinical Decision Support Systems’ (CDSS) in improving healthcare outcomes in India.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was a practicing neuro-physician before switching to civil services. However, I never lost touch with healthcare even after joining the Government of India as a civil servant. Between 2017-2019, as the CEO of an autonomous body (in a remote place in India), I turned around a defunct government hospital. I recruited specialists, arranged medical equipment and fastened sustainable pharmaceutical supplies. The OPD and IPD increased so significantly, that the then ‘Minister of Defence, Government of India’ awarded me ‘Award for Excellence’ in December 2017. I was the youngest recipient of the award that year. In early 2020, I was one of the first responders to COVID-19 when it came to Kerala state of India. I had the district hospital in my territorial jurisdiction. It was specially challenging to prevent COVID spread among thousands of Army troops that also lived in my jurisdiction. My region recorded zero mortality and very low incidence of COVID-19. Seeing my academic and professional experience in healthcare, I was inducted as a full-time member of ‘Healthcare Committee’ in Ministry of Defence with the mandate to improve healthcare services on national level.

Why did you choose this business school? I had admits from four business schools including Kellogg School of Management’s two-year MBA. However, after a deep introspection I realised that IIM Ahmedabad is most aligned with my goals. I want to live and work in India. I wanted to have the best education that would give me opportunities in the sphere of public policy and Government of India. I am glad I made the right call.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Viswanath Pingali is my favorite. He has an aura that is captivating. I always looked forward to what he would teach in the upcoming class. During challenging times, he was always there to guide me like a mentor. I was able to overcome a difficult phase in my MBA journey thanks to the motivation and guidance he gave me at the right time.

I worked on a research project related to ‘Clinical Decision Support Systems’ under Professor Pingali. He helped me understand the proper and correct way of conducting quality research and write a credit worthy research paper. This experience will go a long way in helping me contribute in formulation of health policies for the government.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course was Operations Management taught by Professor Chetan Soman. The way he taught the course was exemplary. I had a natural affinity towards the course given that both clinical practice and government machinery are dependent on operational efficiency and optimum utilisation of resources. As a civil servant, I will use the learnings to mitigate the challenge of limited resources (financial, human etc) faced by the Government, in order to give better citizen centric services.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? IIM Ahmedabad offers sports coaching to its students. I wish I had opted to learn Lawn Tennis. It is a sport I have always been passionate about.

On the academic front, I wish I took the advice given by seniors to put extra effort in ‘Accounting’ courses. The accounting principles are after all fundamental to good decision making.

What is the biggest myth about your school? IIM Ahmedabad has the image of a business school where there is no fun and only academics. The truth is that there are umpteen number of extracurricular activities to take part in. They take the form of cultural festival, T-nite, sports fests, and more Students do all of this without compromising on the academic rigor that the institute is known for. I participated in almost all extracurricular events (cultural/ sports/ literary) that allowed me to know very interesting people and explore new things.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? People of Ahmedabad are very straightforward, who largely mind their own business. Having said that, they are very forthcoming if and when you need any help. I have great memories of night drives with my wife in which we would explore the city at wee hours. My wife and I fell in love with the local cuisine (Govardhan Thal is our favorite restaurant) so much that it came as a shock to our friends.

What surprised you the most about business school? The humility that is evident in the school is unparalleled. Everyone – faculty and students alike – have been achievers throughout their lives. However, there is no sign of hubris. Everybody understands that the other person has something to give. Everybody wants to learn from each other. The biggest takeaway for me has been the peer learning. In the past year, I have learned so much from the knowledge and experience of those around me.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I was working in a remote location (near Indo-Pakistan border) when I was applying to business schools. I did not have access to resources to write a very good application. I simply chose to be honest and objective in my essays. Also, I tried to be succinct. I knew that I had a unique profile (doctor and civil servant). Therefore, I tried to write my story exactly the way I saw it. I know it made a difference because I was given an Entry scholarship.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Anagh Chakrabarti is one of the finest people you can ever meet. Even after accomplishing so many laurels in professional life (PricewaterhouseCoopers), he has this calm and collected demeanor that makes me respect him even more. He is very patient while handling large teams.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? By 2025, I am looking to work as Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Health, Government of India. My interest lies in Telemedicine and Digital Health Policy.

Over long term, I wish to start affordable ‘state of the art’ hospitals for Tier 3 cities of India.

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

“I have not seen any student who breathes and lives healthcare as Rohit. In the initial days, coming from a bureaucratic background, he was confused about the question of, ‘What next?’ Over the next few months, I noticed a remarkable transformation where a significant clarity seemed to emerge from the confusion. I am proud to say he chose creating impact as his primary motivation over other ambitions.  Given that I witnessed Rohit up close this year, I have no doubt he would have a solid and impactful career in his life ahead.”

Professor Viswanath Pingali
Chairperson of MBA (PGPX) programme


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