2023 MBA To Watch: Mehaque Kohli, Johns Hopkins (Carey)

Mehaque Kohli

Johns Hopkins Carey Business School

“I’m passionate, focused, impact-driven, empathetic, and funny. I also wear my heart on my sleeve.”

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Fun fact about yourself: I’m a hardcore foodie and an avid cook. My friends tell me that I deserve my own episode of “Ugly Delicious”.

Undergraduate School and Degree: I earned a bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies; Global Health from UCLA.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Before the pandemic, I worked for PwC as a strategy consultant in their government public sector practice, where I delivered large-scale technology-driven digital health and urban infrastructure projects, advised government departments, and enabled private companies to go-to-market within the smart city space. As the pandemic-induced lockdown started in India, I was unsettled by the apprehension in my community, which was being deprived of the healthcare they needed. I realized I wanted to be more involved in healthcare delivery and decided to transition into my family health care business, Dr. Charu Kohli’s Clinic, a chain of diagnostic centers in India. As vice president of strategic initiatives, I initiated and managed the company’s At-home care service vertical and B2B operations.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? In the summer, I interned with Abbott in their vascular business in Santa Clara, California.

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be returning to Abbott Vascular as a product manager.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Hexcite is an early-stage medical software accelerator program for entrepreneurs hosted by the Johns Hopkins Medicine Technology Innovation Center in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures. It was one of the opportunities that attracted me to Carey.

In 2022, as business lead for CurieDx, an AI-based diagnostic tool for strep, I designed and executed their go-to-market strategy. We also ended up winning the Final Hexcite Pitch Competition in May 2022 (judge’s choice and audience’s choice). This year, I have been brought on as a mentor to the program. I guide the business lead cohort on various aspects of go-to-market and pitching.

Through both the years of my MBA, I have led Women in Business, first as vice president and now as co-president. Women in Business is focused on creating a nurturing, supportive and uplifting environment for people who identify as women at Carey. Through the organization, I have hosted several social and professional networking events. One of the things I love about my role is organizing and executing our signature event – Stoop Storytelling. Stoop Storytelling is a Baltimore-based live show and podcast that features ordinary people sharing extraordinary tales of their lives. For this year’s theme, I chose Balance: Stories About Crafting the Life You Want. Women must walk this tightrope between work, family, and taking care of themselves. Often, they find their priorities to be at odds with each other. This theme is very close to my heart, because of my own cultural context. South Asian women, like their counterparts all over the world, carry much of the burden of managing family and household responsibilities.

As finance chair for the full-time MBA Association, I manage the budget and advocate for international students on the board. We are currently in the process of organizing specific info sessions catered to international students for their taxes, SSN, etc.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In March 2020, India announced the world’s most extensive COVID-19 lockdown. Although my family healthcare business – a chain of diagnostic centers – qualified as an essential-service, revenues decreased substantially, as it relied on outpatients. I saw a unique opportunity for growth and launched an ‘At-home’ healthcare service. My efforts increased our revenue by 20 percent from pre-pandemic times and enabled me to recognize the potential of technology-driven healthcare in addressing the ‘gap-in-care’ across communities.

Why did you choose this business school? When I was choosing a business school, I was very clear that I wanted to go to one with a strong health care focus. So, Johns Hopkins was on my radar from the start. As I researched the school more and spoke to current students and faculty, I realized there’s no better place to do health care than Hopkins. The entire ecosystem, from the alumni network to the cases discussed in class and even extra-curriculars, you are emersed in health care.

One of my reasons for choosing Johns Hopkins, which I mentioned in my application, was the software accelerator Hexcite. The Hexcite program is an experience I could not get anywhere else, and it aligns directly with my passions and goals. Finally, my mom is a doctor and the only school she ever thought of for anything was Johns Hopkins. It’s kind of hard to not listen to your mom, and I’m so grateful for it.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course at Carey was the Innovation Field Project, an experiential learning class where students have the opportunity to consult on a real business problem faced by real clients. My team and I were assigned to Equum Medical, a Nashville-based acute care telehealth company that was looking to expand its service offerings. I loved this course because it gave me the opportunity to readily apply all my learnings from business school and understand the nuances of the U.S. health care system. Finally, the team I had for this class was truly incredible. I learned so much from them, and they have now become some of my closest friends and confidantes.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The Stoop Storytelling event is an annual project of Women in Business at Carey. It’s an evening of storytelling, where ordinary women come together to share their extraordinary stories from their life. The women as they share their stories are strong and vulnerable all at once. That room for those two hours in a year is perhaps the most supportive, protected, and encouraging environment I have ever been in.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I’m not sure what I would change anything. Coming in, I had a clear plan. I prepared for the core courses beforehand, and identified the extracurriculars I wanted to participate in and the student groups I wanted to lead. As a result, I was able to gain a strong start. I’m grateful that I was able to stick to my plan and follow my passion. Maybe I would tell myself to relax more.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the biggest myths out there is that ranking defines the quality of the education or the opportunities at a school. I’ve made met some of the most incredible professors and students at Carey Business School. The quality you receive and the amount that the school invests in its student is incredible. If you want to pursue health care, there’s no better place than Johns Hopkins.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I love Baltimore. I live near the harbor where it’s so pretty. I like that it’s quiet and peaceful. I also love that there are wonderful parks and outdoor spaces to spend time. Baltimore is low-ego place, and, as a result, people are genuine and warm. Baltimore also now has an upcoming entrepreneurial ecosystem, which enables me to tap into so many opportunities and networks.

I also appreciate the historical and the cultural aspects of Baltimore. Along with Philadelphia, D.C., and Boston, Baltimore has great significance in American History, and you see bits of that sprinkled everywhere.

What surprised you the most about business school? This may sound like a cliché, but coming into business school, I expected a dry, cutthroat environment, where I was expected to outcompete my peers. However, at Carey I found a highly collaborative, and supportive environment. My classmates were always generous in sharing notes, time, advice, and opportunities.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I think what gave me an edge was my thorough primary and secondary research of the school. During the application process, I devoted a lot of time to learning about the school through various blogs (including Poets & Quants), and I talked with current students and staff at Carey. I think this aspect made me stand out in my interview, as it showcased my commitment, investment and fit for the school.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Dolly Michira. She’s from Kenya and is pursuing both an MBA and an MPH. Her work ethic is impeccable, and she shows up with her 100 percent every single time, both as teammate and as a friend. While pursuing her dual degree, Dolly continues to financially support her sister, who has been diagnosed with paralysis, often prioritizing her family even over her own ambitions. And of course, she’s on top of our class, and leading the Johns Hopkins Graduate Consulting Club. Still, she somehow manages to volunteer her time to numerous caregivers causes in the city. To me, she epitomizes the idea of balance, and encourages me to bring forth the best version of myself.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? My goal in life is to make a meaningful impact in the health sector in India through enhanced access to timely and affordable healthcare. I believe the only way to be able to do that at scale is through entrepreneurship. In the next 3 to 5 years, I hope to launch my own health startup in India, in the digital diagnostics space. My longer-term goal is to also become an angel investor in the space, and nurture other start-ups trying to tackle the same problem.

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

“Mehaque Kohli is a current second-year full-time MBA student who has actively led the Women in Business student organization, first as a Vice-President and then as Co-President. She led the organization through the planning and execution of the STOOP Storytelling event, which has now become a part of the Carey legacy. Mehaque was the Business Lead for CurieDx, an AI-based diagnostic platform, and won the pitch competition in 2021. Since then, she has mentored subsequent Business Leads at Hexcite. Mehaque has also been the Finance Chair for the full-time MBA Association. The Career Development Office frequently seeks out Mehaque at Carey to share her insights and guide current first-year full-time MBA students.”

Stacey Lee
Professor of Practice
Academic Program Director, Full-Time MBA
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School


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