2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Rajat Srivastava, Michigan State (Broad)

Rajat Srivastava

Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University

“Analytical, first-generation graduate with passion for numbers, teaching & talent for humor.”

Hometown: Kanpur, India

Fun fact about yourself: If you are left alone with me in a room – high chances you would be on the floor, laughing at my awesome jokes and witty one-liners.

Undergraduate School and Degree: MNNIT Allahabad, India – Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? As an Assistant Executive Engineer, I worked on infrastructure projects at Mumbai Port Authority, a public sector undertaking.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? I interned with GEP Worldwide in Clark, NJ.

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • VP Corporate Relations, MBA Association (Raised $11,000 in corporate sponsorship for networking events in 2022)
  • MBA Math Tutor (100+ hours of Finance, Accounting & Statistics tutoring to guide first year MBA students)
  • VP Academic Engagement, MBA Finance Association
  • VP Corporate Relations, Broad Net Impact
  • VP, Indian Student Organization (Organized on-campus events to celebrate Indian festivals such as Diwali and Holi for 500+ attendees in each)
  • Coached 2 teams on making presentations as well as presenting them.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am incredibly proud of all my achievements during business school. The two highlights are the following:

Winner – Big 10 MBA Case Competition,
3rd position – Broad vs Broad MBA Case Competition (2022)
Finalists – several other Case Competitions

Apart from the Broad vs Broad competition, I engaged in external case competitions that offered various competitive opportunities. My enthusiasm for hands-on learning motivated me to take part in tackling actual business problems spanning from sustainability to third-party cookies.

In my first year, I developed a new-found fascination with finance, and my proficient quantitative abilities propelled me to become an MBA tutor in my second year. As a tutor, I provided Finance lessons and Exam review sessions, which garnered an impressive turnout. I relished the experience of tutoring and established valuable connections with the first-year students. I found it highly gratifying to contribute to the community by assisting students who lacked a financial background in comprehending the fundamentals of finance.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my time at Mumbai Port Authority, I did a study of two competing lighting technologies (LED and LEP) to be installed extensively across the Port. Any technology that would be accepted at Mumbai Port would become the nationwide standard. I carried out extensive analysis of ROI, applicable national and international standards, technology performance, and light impact on humans as and the marine ecosystem. The analysis was carried out under immense internal and external pressure. The end results of analysis? First, there was a 70% cost saving for Mumbai Port as an immediate impact. Second, the technical specifications for each technology and techno-commercial bid evaluation was standardized nationwide across the ports and several other industries in India.

Why did you choose this business school? When I started exploring business schools in the US, I was focusing on supply chain focused schools. Curious to know more about MSU, I reached to the then current students. The review by students: “You will learn the theory in most application driven, practical manner with some of the most awesome professors.” Professors like Judith Whipple, Steven Melnyk, Stanley Griffis and Jason Miller bring in wealth of knowledge, industry expertise and passion of teaching. As someone wanting more hands-on learning, the case based pedagogy with strategic view of supply chain, even before supply chain became the dinner table topic, made MSU a great fit for me. I was drawn to the close-knit community of students and faculty members who offered growth opportunities beyond classroom through industry collaborations and sharing of diverse cultural, professional backgrounds, and perspectives. So, MSU was a natural choice.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? An extremely difficult question to answer. In our program, we have access to so many great professors. However, Professor Morad Zekhnini was my favorite. Among many great things he did, one thing which stood out for me was the first slide he presented each lecture. It had current news stories related to the concept of the day which helped me understand the practical implications of the concepts being taught in the class.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Corporate Strategy by Prof Gerry McNamara was hands down my favorite course. The professor brought contagious energy and a wealth of knowledge to the course. The course helped me hone my diagnostic reasoning skills. We leveraged tools and knowledge to analyze a company’s competitive environment, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategies to drive business success. Throughout the course, we actively participated in discussing plenty of case studies on successful and failed acquisitions and alliances. A remarkably interesting part of the discussions was when the professor challenged us to discuss the deal we had analyzed in class – five years in the future to assess the accuracy of our hypothesis.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The formal charity event hosted by the MBA Association at the end of each semester is my favorite tradition. Both classes come together to connect and celebrate their triumph of successfully navigating through the semester. More importantly, we join hands to raise funds for a local non-profit organization. The event includes activity auction, artwork auction, raffle, donation, and ticket sales. We used the proceeds from the event as our contribution towards the non-profit organizations. Small Talk, Ele’s Place and New Hope Pet Rescue are some of the recent organizations we partnered with. I appreciate this tradition as it promotes empathy among us and helps us connect with local community.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would expand my horizon beyond Broad College of Business and explore the resources at Michigan State University at large and leverage those to a greater extent. The university is huge and has so much to offer. There is still a part of campus that I have not explored. I am still learning about untapped resources. I would want to be more involved in the sports, cultural, arts, recreational aspects of MSU.

I would also challenge myself through additional qualitative or reflective courses. Although I took some qualitative electives to gain a well-rounded perspective, I focused on data-heavy electives that were aligned with my career goals. As someone passionate about numbers, I was always nervous of not excelling in case reflections and long papers. Having said that, I did learn a ton about myself in Professor Hollenbeck’s class!

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about MSU Broad is that it is only a Supply Chain Management focused school. I also had this misinformation in my mind when I enrolled in the program. Although the Supply Chain management curriculum is exemplary, the programming for Finance, Marketing, Business Analytics, and HR are also equally positioned. I enrolled in at least one course from each concentration. These courses are taught by some of the best professors in the US and I gained business level understanding from each one of the classes. Graduating with dual concentration, I highly recommend Broad College of Business to a prospective student who is planning to take up any concentration.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I love the vibrant college-town vibe of the city. There are plenty of restaurants, amenities, clubs close by, not to mention recreational activities like bowling, hiking, and rafting. It is a beautiful ecosystem of its own. This was the first city for me in the US and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised by the diverse group of accomplished classmates. They shared rich experiences during the in-class as well as out-of-class discussions. I had lots of opportunities to learn from them throughout these two years and I will continue to leverage the network in future.

Secondly, I was surprised by the abundant opportunities to learn about business in a very real scenario. The school focuses on imparting practical knowledge through variety of learning, case discussions, live-projects, case competitions, field visits, guest lectures, news discussions, and co-curricular activities.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? During the application process, I contacted the students to learn about the resources available for me in the college and how I could contribute to this community’s success. This gave a clear understanding of “Why MBA? Why MSU? Why now?” I leveraged the inputs provided to reinforce how I could contribute to the MBA community through my skillsets and unique perspective I would bring through my experiences. 

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? To be honest, I admire all my classmates for their personality, experience, and achievements. It is extremely difficult to admire one more than the other, but if I had to choose one: Ajinkya Virulkar. Not only is he a compassionate person, but also a hard-working individual. His drive for perfection and creativity has inspired me to learn new skills.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

A) Inspire others, especially the first-generation graduates like me, to believe in their potential, so they can be aware of access to global education, and make all the efforts to achieve success.

B) Work towards becoming go-to expert in supply chain, analytics and data-driven decision making.

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

“Rajat’s impact is more than the sum of his individual accolades. He contributed largely to impacting our team-based mentorship culture, best exemplified by the work he has done mentoring colleagues in case competitions, and most notably, as the MBA program’s math/quantitative tutor. There are no words that can properly articulate the impact Rajat has had in the educational spaces this year – he made a tremendous difference in helping other students make sense of complex MBA financial and math based academic work.  In some weeks, he would meet with over a dozen students, finding any opportunity he could to help them better their own performance.  He was always available, ready to lend a hand to his peers. In the five years since this position was created, Rajat is far-and-away the best MBA student to hold this position.  Rajat’s character also shown brightly in several student and community-based events during his time @ Broad, helping to raise over $10,000 for charitable causes.

Rajat’s contributions to the MBA program are a shining example of what one student can do when they truly invest in the performance of their peers.  We celebrate his achievements and are excited to see the impacts he will make in the future.”

Wayne Hutchison
Managing Director
Full-Time MBA


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.