2023 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Niyati Raghavan, Santa Clara University (Leavey)

Niyati Raghavan

Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business

“Energetic and motivated team player who by passion, creativity, and curiosity to foster impactful businesses.”

Age: 28

Hometown: Hyderabad, India

Fun fact about yourself: I enjoy spending time with friends and family, and take every available opportunity to travel to experience different places and cultures.

Undergraduate School and Degree:
University of California, San Diego – B.S. Bioengineering: Bioinformatics

Johns Hopkins University – M.S. Biotechnology

Where are you currently working? Roche Holding AG, Principal Bioinformatics Software Engineer

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Santa Clara University’s online MBA program, as part of the Leavey School of Business, has a diverse set of courses that cater to the highly dynamic and innovative nature of living and working in Silicon Valley. Furthermore, the program provides a rigorous curriculum to get a great education in key aspects of business, yet is diverse to support the different interests with concentration – all the while being flexible to support work-life balance. Santa Clara University also provided many opportunities for online students, when possible, to join in-person networking events, clubs, and other programs to connect with other students and faculty, which made it a holistic online MBA experience.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The online MBA program introduced me to a diverse set of individuals from various backgrounds and provided me with an opportunity to learn with people who have many different perspectives. This is very valuable even in an online learning environment, as it allows me to gain lifelong friendships and connections that will serve me for many years to come.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? When I decided to start an online MBA, I was a little apprehensive that it would be challenging to get personalized teaching from instructors, but I was surprised that there were many opportunities to learn from faculty through office hours and synchronous sessions when applicable. The instructors were also very approachable, adaptable, and open to having further sessions to ensure that I got clarification and the most out of my education.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? My online experience was very different from my in-the-classroom experience. It required a lot of discipline and time management on my end, as opposed to having a set schedule as part of my undergraduate experience. However, this was also more challenging to gain connections in an online program compared to in-the-classroom experience. With the technology, group collaboration efforts and course curriculum, it was easier to gain connections and work collectively.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? To thrive as an online MBA student, it is very crucial to be proactive in planning and having a clear understanding of your ultimate goals at the end of the program. This allows a student to keep motivated in an online environment. At the same time, it ensures that there is time allocated each day to complete tasks to avoid being pressed for time. In an online MBA program, there are a lot of assignments, deadlines, and extracurricular activities, which make it challenging while balancing work and a personal life. Keeping goals in sight with a good system of planning will help people gain the most out of the program.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I would not change much about the online MBA program. It had effectively streamlined the learning and collaboration process, which made the learning engaging and catered to interests for career development. The program had a lot of information on courses, career advice, and academic advisors, and other students were also instrumental for a good experience. Having more avenues to gather information from past students about courses, clubs, and other events would add to the overall great experience of the online MBA program.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? Online education has helped me be more efficient in my current job by having more time management skills. The dedication and general efficiency I gained from balancing a full-time job and doing the online MBA have allowed me to prioritize tasks and collaborate with diverse people in online settings as many work environments currently are hybrid. It also help[ed me communicate effectively in many modes of technology.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? During the program, I changed roles from an individual contributor to technical lead in the biotechnology industry. This was a change in both compensation and responsibilities as a step towards management.

Why did you pursue an online MBA program instead of a full-time residential program? I chose to pursue an online MBA program instead of a full-time residential program, as I wanted to continue to gain industry experience while continuing my full-time job. The online program provided me with the flexibility of a high-quality education in a well-renowned institution.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent on an Online MBA: Approximately 20 hours a week, but some weeks for larger projects and assignments may be longer.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to start a company in the biotechnology and genomics field to help provide personalized health care. I am also very interested in exploring the venture capital landscape in the Silicon Valley by evaluating and supporting other companies as they provide innovative solutions to important problems.


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