2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Dipika Garg, Wisconsin School of Business

Dipika Garg

University of Wisconsin – Madison (Wisconsin School of Business)

“Former chemical engineer, compassionate, determined, ambitious leader; DEI advocate inspiring others to be their best. Always looking for ways to support and help others.”

Hometown: Patiala, Punjab, India

Fun fact about yourself: I have lived in 14 countries before turning 30 hailing from a small city in India. This translated into my passion for learning about other cultures and people resulting in lifelong friends in different time zones.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Bachelors in Chemical Engineering (B.Tech), Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (2008-2012)

Masters of Business Administration –Supply Chain Management (2021-2023)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Shell, worked as Process Technologist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Bayer, (Whippany New Jersey and Saint Louis, Missouri)

Where will you be working after graduation? Bayer, Global Procurement Leadership Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership Roles: President for Graduate Women in Business; Communication Chair for Graduate Multicultural Business Association; Communication Chair for newly-launched Supply Chain and Operations student organization; REACH Ambassador for International Student Service Association (ISS), MBA ambassador for prospective students

Mentorship: Mentor for undergraduate women in Business, International student mentor program at UW, Women of Colour mentor for ISS; Graduate Diversity Consultant for Student life Team for UW Undergraduate Program

Awards and Honours: Kelly Ketchum Scholar 2022- Distinguished Student Award in Supply Chain cohort; Second placeholder in National Level 30th Annual Fisher MBA Case Competition and Fifth placeholder in National level Supply Chain Case Competition; Excellence Student Award at WSB graduate award ceremony as First Year MBA

Community Work: Community work: Member of the Business Badger Giving Back, LGBTQIA+ ally, Women in STEM ally

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? One of the achievements I am most proud of is receiving the Kelly Ketchum Distinguished Student Award, which is the scholarship award in memory of Kelly R. Ketchum. This distinguished award is presented each year to a second-year MBA student who made an enormously positive impact on the center as an involved student, a good friend, and a model alumnus. I won a distinguished student award for the year 2022 based on my academic merit, extracurricular activities, leadership involvement on campus, and being a helpful student/peer/friend in need. It was an emotional and personal moment of pride to me as I was afraid entering school after 10 years of work experience that I might not adjust to school life, particularly being an international student or older as compared to my peers. I really felt self-accomplished that I was chosen for this honored award, and it gave me a moment to self-reflect that values I hold going back to my upbringing as a kid have helped me thrive in all situations. It reiterated to me what my mother always showcased that you can achieve anything you aspire for with determination.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was awarded the Best Female Process Engineer Award by Shell during my role as process technologist in my short tenure of 14 months with the organization. I joined Shell virtually during challenging times when pandemic started and had to get on speed with new technology, organization, and team members. It was a steep learning curve with pandemic nuisances at remote work. I was leading a project for producing polyethylene (PE) on the R&D side while coordinating with teams at 4 different geographical locations.  I was the only female process chemical engineer in the team, and coordinating a project with 50 team members remotely was a major accomplishment for myself. We faced challenges during the pandemic with shortage of raw materials, and single sourcing, border customs (among others). while the increase in market demand for PE was skyrocketing at the same time.

I implemented an innovative idea for reducing cycle time for processes. It took a lot of effort to navigate. There was resistance to change. Plus, I was new in the organization and faced the challenge of needing to create trust with higher management and not knowing impactful folks in cross functional teams. Within 8 months of joining, the pilot test was successful, and it was implemented at one location immediately with consecutive plans to be implemented at other 3 plant locations. It was surprising to myself that I achieved something commendable in a new business area at a new organization within a short span of time. The innovative idea got a lot of attention from senior leadership, and I was selected to be presented with the Best Female Process Engineer Award. I still keep in touch with a lot of the team, and it is impactful to hear how appreciative they were of those process changes.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose the University of Wisconsin-Madison due to it being a specialization-focused MBA program with ten years of experience. I had a vision for the future career path. I am aspiring to pivot my career into supply chain management roles. UW-Madison provided me with a unique opportunity to hone my skills in existing areas. At same time, I can focus on building skills in expertise areas. The supply chain management program had a robust applied learning program with industry-led workshops, site visits, and a lot of other events tailored to expanding knowledge and experience in the supply chain management field.  In addition to building on foundational business courses in the first year of program and specialization courses, I could handcraft my own experience and choose courses as per my interest.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor during MBA was Jan B. Heide and I would recommend that class to all future prospective MBA badgers. I thoroughly enjoyed his class due to multiple factors that include providing entertaining class environments and actual products related to marketing examples from case studies. Class provided a framework for evaluating marketing problems and developing a marketing strategy. Customer, company, competitive, and collaborator factors are emphasized as foundations for marketing decision-making. Learning marketing management concepts have come in handy at various instances from case competitions to my summer internship. I even named one of my marketing case competitions team after marketing concept jargon he taught us.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Business Strategy was my favorite class because it was taught by Dr. Hart E. Posen who is an inclusive professor who creates an engaging environment in class. I really loved attending his class first thing in the morning of chilly Wisconsin winters; it used to create curiosity in me with topics for class discussions just because of the way Professor Hart teaches in class. He would pick real time examples which are applicable to most business strategies in firms. The class would challenge your natural way of thinking and mindsets and equip you with a strategic mindset providing guiding tools and principals. I struggled a little bit initially in his class, having an engineer mindset due to framing of business problems. Though, the way he developed mindset with theories and examples was brilliant, and made an improvement in my framing of business problems by forcing me to think out of the box. I still find myself applying concepts from class and it’s astonishing that I have retained most of the things from the class.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA event has been Multicultural Night as it is hosted every year around October on our campus by the Graduate Multicultural Business Association. It is an event which brings students together from diverse countries to celebrate by embracing their differences, sharing their cultures and traditions, and creating a sense of community. Students from different countries would participate and share about their country through presentations about cuisine, culture, language, and art. Art performances are a fantastic way to share more about various cultures by dance, music, play instruments, and wear traditional attire. This was my favorite event, as I had the chance to wear my ethnic Indian attire, perform and share about my values and cultures, and enjoy time with friends.

This multicultural event during my first semester in MBA school led to many follow up discussions with my MBA peers and more social collaborations and cultural exchanges.  Being a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion advocate who is passionate about inclusivity, I enjoyed this event as it provided me the opportunity to educate others about culture and how different cultures and traditions sometimes have similarities.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?  It is really hard to think about what I would have done differently as my MBA journey has been really pleasant and memorable so far. One thing which I would definitely say out loud is that there were moments when I felt overwhelmed between the class work, establishing myself in a new city (being an international student), internship hunt, and extracurricular activities. Despite this, all of that hard work paid off and set me up for success for the next chapter of my career. It is important to remember to have time for social activities and make friends during this short and fabulous MBA journey trip. I may have missed out on a little of that at the beginning. But now that the program is wrapping up, I feel like I have not only accomplished the MBA program and met my career goals, but I have also made some amazing friends along the way.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think a big myth people have about UW-Madison is that their marketing and real estate specializations are more reputed and renowned within the country. However, I think that other specializations are really well established In Supply chain management. We had an applied learning series every Friday, which provided experiential learning from industrial experienced professionals about real time scenarios, examples, skill sets needed to succeed, and site visits to various organizations in diverse industries. UW-Madison supply chain program is growing exponentially, and it provides a platform to network with industry professionals from across the US, including local, regional states, and a well-established alumni board.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Being authentic and genuine in my application and during the interview was what gave me the edge at UW-Madison. I think what really helped me was that I was able to articulate my thoughts, story, and value proposition for the supply chain management MBA at UW-Madison.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is an extremely difficult question, since I am so lucky to be surrounded by an amazing group of leaders and peers at UW-Madison. In choosing one individual, I chose based on contribution to me personally, contribution to community-building, and commitment to women leadership. For this reason, I chose one of my fellow supply chain cohort members, Jacqueline C Vodak (Jacque).

Since I first met Jacque, she has impressed me, which is why I have long considered her a close friend who has supported me through the initial year of my MBA journey. Additionally, Jacque is so friendly and engages with everyone around her, bringing a cheerful and positive attitude to every situation she is in. She is not afraid to introduce herself or try new things as being back to graduate school after her army experience was a big step. She was very passionate about building the women in business community, so she became a Forte Ambassador on campus. She organized Forte Friday’s for peers to come along at the platform and share their experiences of being women in business creating a safe space. We got to know each other more on a personal front when we participated together in a national level supply chain case competition, and it is one of the most cherished memories. I am very lucky to have Jacque as a classmate, peer, leader, mentor, and friend as I continue with my MBA journey in UW-Madison.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I will feel successful when I know that I have empowered more women to take on leadership roles. I was beginning to do that in my previous job, which made me truly happy, and I hope to do it more in the future. Second, my dream is to be an executive or member of the C-Suite (e.g., CPO, Senior Executive Vice president or Chief Diversity officer) at a multinational company producing goods or services that I use and enjoy. I hope to be taking a step towards that goal with my job at Bayer in Supply chain management.

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

“Students in the Wisconsin MBA program set a variety of goals for themselves when they join us. Most students are looking for a new or enhanced career, an expanded network, and business knowledge they can apply throughout their professional lives. Dipika certainly had these goals, but she also had another one: develop herself by bringing up those around her. Dipika took on leadership roles both large and small during her time at Wisconsin, and gave of herself incredibly no matter the scope of her involvement. She took her role as president of the Graduate Women in Business student organization as seriously as her role planning pot luck lunches for students in the program, as both of those efforts made people feel like they belong. Dipika mentored students, and was particularly helpful bridging the divide between international and domestic students. For that work and more, she was recognized by alumni as the outstanding student in her supply chain management class, winning the annual Kelly Ketchum Scholarship Award, and I feel she is the best choice for Poets & Quants’ Best & Brightest in 2023.”

Jake Dean
Center Director
Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management


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