Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Manaswini Bobbu, Washington University (Olin)

Manaswini Bobbu

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

“They say empathy is for the weak. I believe empathy makes some of the strongest business leaders, and I have proven it right time and time again.”

Hometown: Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a huge astronomy geek and can talk about everything from star formation to conspiracy theories about the origins of the universe all day long!

Undergraduate School and Major: Christ University, Bangalore- BBA in Finance & International Business

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Deloitte, Global Mobility Coordinator

What has been your favorite part of St. Louis so far? makes St. Louis such a great place to earn an MBA? St. Louis has so many cross-cultural and cultural events going on all the time. It’s super fun to go to these events with my international friends and learn and explore each other’s cultures! This, in turn, helps us gain a global perspective that will help us deal with global clients from across the world in the future.

You completed your global immersion earlier this year. What was the best part of the immersion experience for you? What was the biggest takeaway you gained? The global immersion has been my favorite part of the WashU Olin MBA so far. Every leg of the program was well-coordinated and orchestrated to maximize our learning experience and cultural immersion in that area. While I learned a lot inside the classrooms, the best learning experiences were from the activities that pushed us to explore how local businesses function in each of these places—like the project we did on the wine business in Barcelona, where we had to integrate what we learned from the production of wine in wineries and our learnings from observing how the retail outlets price and sell the wines. My biggest takeaway was that the only way to learn how businesses function in the real world is to get on the ground and learn it first-hand.

Aside from your immersion and classmates, what was the key part of WashU Olin’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Even before coming to Olin, I heard a lot about the excellent teaching faculty at Olin through my students and alumni. And I can now attest to it. Each instructor in my courses has been amazing. They make the classes very engaging by bringing in the right business cases and discussions that lead to a truly holistic learning experience. I never miss a class and wake up every day truly excited to go to class. I have enjoyed the cases, and the classroom discussions in the marketing and strategy classes the most.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at WashU Olin? My favorite course so far has to be the signature “Values-Based and Data-Driven Decision-Making” course in the summer semester. The cases discussed were so interesting and made me look at business problems like never before. It taught me how to integrate and weigh data in situations where you are heavily biased because of your values. I learned how to reach a middle ground and make decisions that are good for the business and society as a whole.

My favorite club is the Olin Women in Business club. It is a community of women and allies who are truly invested in empowering and guiding you to reach your personal and professional goals. The organized events are so helpful and fun, and I know I can count on the club members for advice or guidance.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: They say the most trying times bring out who we are inside. I have always been a strong advocate of empathetic leadership. Hence, my most significant achievement would be when I led a team of new analysts at EY and took on an entirely new way of mentoring them and helping them achieve their goals during the high pressure of the busy tax season. The fact that I did not let the stress bend my values, and I was still the person whom everyone on the team turned to when they needed any guidance or comfort gave me confidence that I would be a highly flexible and agile leader/teammate and would be able to foster great team relations wherever I go in my career.

Describe your biggest achievement in the MBA program so far: As someone who enjoys bringing structure to highly unstructured environments, I have tried, tested and implemented unique working and leadership styles for each of my core teams. I believe I was able to act as a cohesive medium and help the team work successfully toward each project in a synchronous manner.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? This applies especially to career switchers—never underestimate the power of your transferrable skills. Even if it’s not obvious, there are always transferrable analytical skills that you have done in your past work that apply to the career you want to switch to. Keep this in mind while crafting your career goals or even in your future job interviews for the role you desire.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into WashU Olin’s MBA program? Be aware of your values and how they add to your career goals and the kind of business leader you want to be. Let those values shine through and underline every aspect of your story. Everyone at Olin is truly interested in learning your story and who you are, so go ahead and be your most authentic self. Highlight the most unique aspects of your story and remember the ethos of WashU Olin Business School throughout your application process, “Values-based, Data-driven.”

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