2023 MBA To Watch: Ammar Kinkhabwala, University of Pittsburgh (Katz)

Ammar Kinkhabwala

University of Pittsburgh, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

“Driven by impact, inclusive in all aspects, a life-long learner, and a die-hard soccer enthusiast.”

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Fun fact about yourself:  I’m an avid traveler and have explored five continents so far. One of my most exciting trips was to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Mumbai – Bachelor of Accounts & Finance

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? KPMG – Risk Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? TikTok – Product and Process Intern, Chicago, Illinois

Where will you be working after graduation? Currently interviewing. TBD!

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Community Work

  • BNY Mellon Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Fellow – Assisted partner organizations to develop corporate social responsibility initiatives and understand the leadership practices and behaviors that drive these initiatives.
  • Organized the Katz Fall Ball and raised $3.5K, with all proceeds going to Global Links
  • Partnered and organized an event with the Katz Career Management & Corporate Engagement to source, cook, and package meals for the homeless here in Pittsburgh.


  • President, Student Executive Board
  • Co-President, Business Healthcare Club
  • Vice President, Katz Consulting Club
  • Finance Lead, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – University of Pittsburgh (MIT-PITT-RW) Autonomous Racing team
  • Student Representative for the Graduate School’s Planning and Budget Committee
  • Student Representative on the University Council on Graduate Studies Board (UCGS)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? One of the most exciting experiences was my involvement in the MIT-PITT-RW Autonomous Racing Team, where I served as a member of the Business Operations team. In this role, I managed a joint financial model that included budgeting allocations between autonomous racing software and logistics. Additionally, I developed financial projections for upcoming races for our corporate partners. This experience allowed me to collaborate with a diverse team and witness our collective efforts culminate in the development and performance of a competitive autonomous race car. We managed to finish 4th at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 this year, which was a testament to the progress of our car and the efforts of our engineering team.

I also cannot miss mentioning my time serving as president of the Student Executive Board (S.E.B.) at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. I acted as the primary interface between the students and the faculty and administration, working alongside nine other board members to build deeper and lasting relationships within the Katz community. Through my involvement in the S.E.B., I had the opportunity to develop leadership, communication, and collaboration skills that I know will serve me well in my future endeavors.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievement I’m most proud of in my professional career is my work at Atma-An Accelerator of Education NGOs, a non-profit that supports education NGOs in building organizational capacity for long-term sustainability. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was part of the team that launched the Future of Impact Collaborative (FoI), which brought together social sector intermediaries to provide NGOs with the tools and expertise they needed to respond urgently to the crisis.

As part of the FoI Collaborative, I co-designed events and workshops that supported over 400 NGOs in adapting to the changing work climate due to COVID-19. I am proud of the impact I was able to create through this initiative and the support that our members contributed in the form of conferences, masterclasses, and mentorship. Through this initiative, we were able to help NGOs overcome short-term challenges and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead in an uncertain future. One of the key highlights of this initiative was the sense of collaboration and community that was created among the members. It was inspiring to see how everyone came together to share their expertise and support each other during a difficult time.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Katz Graduate School of Business for my MBA because of its exceptional dual-degree program, which allowed me to pursue both an MBA and an MS-MIS. As someone with a non-tech background, I recognized the importance of gaining academic training in information systems and technology. The opportunity to pivot towards a career in tech. Katz’s program not only provided the necessary academic training, but also offered hands-on experiential learning opportunities that were a top priority for me. I was excited to work directly with industry leaders and companies on live projects, allowing me to apply the skills and knowledge I acquired in the classroom to real-world challenges. This unique combination of rigorous academic training and practical experience made Katz the perfect choice for me. I must say the experience has been exactly how I hoped for it to be. From working with an early-stage start-up to collaborating with an autonomous race team with three other universities, I have been fortunate to have my hands full with a plethora of opportunities to grow and learn

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a tough question since all the professors that I have had the opportunity to work with at Katz have been excellent and contributed significantly to my MBA experience. However, if I had to choose one, it would be Professor Nisha Nair. I had the privilege of taking two of her courses: Organizational Behavior and the BNYMellon Fellowship course. Professor Nair’s teaching style and course design stood out. She made abstract concepts easy-to-understand by using real-world examples and a case-based learning model that enriched our learning. Her Fellowship course was one of my best courses, where we worked with a partner organization to evaluate how CSR initiatives were implemented within organizations. Professor Nair structured the course efficiently, allowing us to build fundamentals in the first half of the semester and complete a live project with an NGO in the second half. Overall, I would say that Professor Nair’s expertise, teaching style, and course design made a significant impact on my MBA experience, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA event was the Katz Annual Fall ball hosted by the Student Executive Board. This event was special to me because it provided an opportunity to take a break from the busy academic schedule and socialize with my colleagues, alumni, and staff. I enjoyed the professional networking aspect of the event, but what made it even more special was the fact that all proceeds were donated to charity. I was proud to host it being the President of the board last year and being a part of an MBA program that prioritized giving back to the community. It was heartening to know that we annually raised nearly $3,000 through this event. Overall, the Katz Annual Fall ball was not just about fun and glamor, but it was also a way to make a positive impact on the world around us.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could do one thing differently, it would be to pursue independent research opportunities, especially in the field of strategy and its intersection with modern technology. Taking on an independent research project would have allowed me to work directly with renowned professors and experts in this niche domain. It would have given me the chance to deepen my knowledge and enhance my problem-solving abilities in a specific area of interest.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the myths about Katz School of Business is that the smaller batch size limits the opportunities to learn from peers and network with alumni. However, in my experience, the opposite is true. The smaller batch size has actually enriched my experience by allowing for more personalized interactions with each of my classmates and working collaboratively with them on multiple assignments. Moreover, I have been thoroughly impressed by the level of involvement and openness of our alumni network. Our alumni are always eager to go out of their way to help and provide guidance, which has been immensely beneficial for me.

What surprised you the most about business school? I always had the perception that business school would be highly competitive and that everyone would be looking out for themselves. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the supportive and collaborative community that I had now become a part of. Despite expecting a cut-throat environment, I found my colleagues, staff, and faculty personally invested in my success. This experience taught me the importance of building strong relationships and working collaboratively towards shared goals. I have come to appreciate the value of collaboration, empathy, and mutual support in the business world, and look forward to applying these values in my future endeavors. I am grateful for finding such a supportive community here at Katz and know that these relationships will enrich my personal and professional growth long after graduation.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It is truly difficult to pick just one MBA classmate who I admire the most, as I have had the pleasure of learning and growing alongside many amazing peers at Katz Graduate School of Business. However, if I had to choose one, I would say Jalal Rahman stands out to me. He participated in every opportunity that presented itself at graduate school and managed to excel in each of them with ease. I had the pleasure of working with Jalal when he was leading the Business Healthcare Club. His leadership and dedication were inspiring to witness, and he truly made a positive impact on the club and the students involved. His ability to manage time, people, and resources effectively are something I have learned a lot from, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside him.

I would also like to give a special shoutout to Tasmia Afroze and Arvind Duhan. Without their contributions, my MBA experience would not have been the same.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Build or contribute towards the development of a purpose-driven startup that creates a positive impact on the community.
  • Hopefully, explore the sports management industry someday, combining my passion for soccer with professional expertise.

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

“In his two years as a dual-degree MBA / Master of Science in Management Information Systems candidate at the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, there seemingly isn’t a single opportunity that Ammar Kinkhabwala hasn’t seized. His incredible contributions to ensuring the Katz experience thoughtfully and expertly prepares students for their post-graduate pursuits make him well-deserving of selection to Poets & Quants MBAs To Watch for 2023.

Ammar’s influence on the Katz Community is most explicitly understood through his service as a leader of his class. Ammar’s infectious personality commands the respect of his peers, evidenced by his election as president of the Katz Student Executive Board (SEB). Each week, Ammar works with the Graduate Programs and Career Management & Corporate Engagement teams to provide a voice for students while expertly crafting social events and professional development experiences. Ammar’s leadership capacity is also exhibited by his involvement in industry-focused organizations, including serving as the Co-President of the Katz Business Healthcare Club (BHC), as well as the Vice President of the Katz Consulting Club. Ammar is passionate about understanding industry and granting the student body access to workshops and guest speakers that will best prepare them for life after graduate school. Amongst his overtly busy schedule, Ammar also excels in the classroom, maintaining a competitive GPA while taking on challenging courses and experience-based learning opportunities.

Beyond his significant contributions as a student leader, Ammar is a stalwart proponent of community engagement. He served as a finance manager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – University of Pittsburgh (MIT-PITT-RW) Autonomous Racing team, facilitating Katz’s presence in the exciting, emerging field of AI. Ammar’s dedication to innovation and advancement can also be understood through his participation as a BNY Mellon Fellow focused on Corporate Social Responsibility and a member of the student case team of the 2023 Super Analytics Challenge focused on Mental Health. Through these activities, Ammar champions the concept of business as a catalyst for change and has dedicated his graduate school experience to ensuring that he leaves no opportunity to contribute to that change unexplored.

Ammar’s legacy at Katz will be his dedication to enhancing the student experience, while also ushering the school into new industries and conversations as the “business of business” continues to evolve. Ammar’s devotion to his peers while settling for nothing less than excellence in his personal pursuits has left a lasting impact on Katz and we are pleased to nominate him for this honor. We can’t wait to see what Ammar does next.”

Katie Bennett, M.Ed. 
Associate Director for Student Engagement, Graduate Programs
University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business


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