Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Pranoy Chatterjee, University of Washington (Foster)

Pranoy Chatterjee

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

“Indian globe-trotter with a passion for poetry, dance, and cuisine. Seeking to empower others through tech after branching out from the Oil & Gas Industry.”

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love movie spoilers so much that I read the synopsis on Wikipedia before watching the movie to avoid the anticipation.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Bachelors of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Experts E&I, Regional Product Manager (Sales & Implementation)

What makes Seattle such a great place to earn an MBA? Seattle has a flourishing tech ecosystem. With tech being ubiquitous, this just translates to opportunities across various industries for people to strive for impact. Besides the Big Tech, consulting companies are also looking to explore the opportunities in Seattle increasing the accessibility for students in the Pacific Northwest. Downtown Seattle has a zany nightlife making it the go-to place to de-stress during the weekends. No to forget the jaw-dropping hiking trails!

Aside from your location and classmates, what was the key part of Washington Foster’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The MBA community is extremely student-driven. Talking to a few alumni made me realize how second-years conscientiously work toward creating an engaging community where students share their knowledge, experiences, and professional network. Alumni give back to the community by judging case competitions held by the school, meeting with students during coffee chats, and demystifying the recruitment process for prospective candidates. The faculty and the management committee are equally collaborative, as they are focused on constant growth when it comes to improving the MBA experience for the students. As someone who has always identified with growth-mindset, I wanted to be a part of a community where I would be able to grow and simultaneously uplift my peers. I realized instinctively that the Foster MBA Community would serve as the perfect platform for me to expand my leadership capabilities across multiple dimensions.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Washington Foster? I really enjoyed the Marketing course, which was one of the core courses in the first quarter. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on my prior work experience through a more strategic lens. Since every class was structured like a case, I was able to exercise my fundamentals, in conjunction with the insights picked up throughout the curriculum, to analyze the marketing and pricing strategies of the subject companies in the current competitive landscape. I developed a deeper appreciation for marketing strategy through this course.

Washington Foster operates off a philosophy of We>Me. Give us an example of how you’ve seen that among your classmates so far. Individuals have their own set of skills and strengths.  When the whole team works as a unit, everyone has an opportunity to learn from each other. Teamwork sparks innovation and resource building, enabling the team to become better equipped to deal with new challenges. In short, a team is much greater than the sum of its individual parts. For me, this is what makes the core of the We>Me philosophy.

This spirit is what has helped create an inclusive community where everyone feels heard. Right from people acknowledging the class as a safe space to talk about their opinions to people cheering each other on when the going gets tough, my classmates have done a fantastic job in creating a galvanizing environment. During exam preparations, people voluntarily come forward to help each other out during the last-minute cram sessions. Balancing recruiting, leadership activities, and academics within a quarter can get really overwhelming at times. Knowing that one has a support system in a country far away from home really helps one push through during times of self-doubt.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was turning a disadvantage into an advantage. When a prolific international manufacturer faced negative market sentiment in the Client’s network due to a lack of communication and inconsistent service, I saw an opportunity to offer a solution. I proposed that Experts E&I, my previous employer, become a one-stop shop for the manufacturer’s products and services, with local support and expedited deliveries. By reassuring the client of our commitment to service and offering discounted rates for a three-year supply of parts, I was able to secure a business contract and increase volume sales for spares which eventually led us to taking part in million-dollar negotiations for greenfield projects in the Middle East. This showed my ability to reframe a negative situation and use creative problem-solving to find a successful outcome.

Describe your biggest achievement in the MBA program so far: My biggest accomplishment in the MBA program was being one of the teams that made it to the finals of the Integrated Core Case Competition. Despite not winning, we were thrilled to be able to apply the concepts we had learned throughout the quarter and work together as a team to overcome challenges. This experience showed our ability to leverage our synergies and tackle obstacles head-on. Having our work validated by the faculty and our peers was an icing on the cake, as we were able to tell a story through a presentation that tackled a persisting problem in the virtual care industry.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I highly recommend The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt for prospective MBAs. The book emphasizes the fact that doing work and making money are not always the same thing, a concept that many professionals fail to grasp. It advises simplifying problems down to their core goal and identifying constraints or bottlenecks within the system, and focusing on improving their output without worrying about the productivity of related processes. This approach can help align an organization’s efforts with its true goals. As an MBA student, we are all striving for accelerated growth and leadership positions in prospective companies. Being able to identify constraints and improving throughput is a skill that should be mastered as it could be applied across various industry verticals regardless of the nature of the industry.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Washington Foster’s MBA program? The batches are getting competitive every year. My first advice would be to invest time in the preparation of the GMAT. While it is only one of the components being looked at, it is an important component. Following that, research the school, its core values, and the curriculum. Don’t base your decisions on school rankings, as they are highly subjective by nature. Identify your fit with the school by talking to current students and alumni, preferably from the industries you are targeting to pivot or grow into. Read about the professional development clubs and connect with the student leaders to get an idea of how you could leverage the clubs’ resources as well as use the club as a platform to help future prospective students. The Foster MBA Program values collaboration and that is something that needs to be highlighted in the essays.


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