Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Supraja Ramachandran, IIM Ahmedabad

Supraja Ramachandran

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

“An ambitious & driven leader, globetrotter, yoga enthusiast and a loving mother.”

Hometown: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have extensively travelled across 20 countries exploring their culture, food and art; my goal is ’40 countries by 40’

Undergraduate School and Major: Masters in Chemical Engineering from TU Delft, Netherlands

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Continuous Improvement Manager, Mary Kay Inc., Dallas, Texas, USA

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The MBA at IIMA meant getting back to my roots and establishing a foothold as a future leader in India. Having worked in the US & Europe with a strong emphasis on experiential learning, I found my stride in IIMA’s ‘learn by doing’ ethos. Its case-based pedagogy resonated profoundly. The soaring careers of alumni, opportunity to learn from renowned professors and an ability to amplify my network in India bolstered my decision to pursue MBA at IIMA. The whole experience has been transformative, woven with knowledge and connections from cohort, faculty, and alumni. This was crucial to me because I strongly believe that a capable leader evolves from inquisitiveness and modesty.

What has been your favorite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Ahmedabad? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it? My favorite course at IIMA has been ‘Firms & Markets’ with Professor Viswanath Pingali. As a student, I hated Economics, but Prof. ‘Vishy’ (as we fondly call him) inculcated a penchant for the subject in me. Every class was so engaging and filled with real life examples, which made the grasp of the subject very easy. The most important lesson I learnt is the power of signaling. Just like how the strength of a peacock is displayed in the luster of its feather, the value of education at IIMA lies in its surreal experience and I am truly grateful for this.

What makes Ahmedabad such a great place to earn an MBA? ‘A stands for Academics at IIMA’, but Ahmedabad ensures that you feel the rigor in addition to the scorching heat. The campus, an oasis of beauty and tranquility, welcomes collaboration with students from other courses like PGP, FABM, PhD peers etc. Centers of excellence like CIIE, JSW School of Public Policy orchestrate remarkable events and with industry luminaries. In this crucible of learning, academia intertwines with experience, shaping leaders who stand resilient amid challenges.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Amid accolades and recognition, my true career pinnacle emerged subtly. As a Continuous Improvement manager in a Fortune 500 company, I grappled with self-doubt, my capabilities in question. Yet, within, a spark of belief burned bright. Guiding a team of international engineers and specialists seemed an uphill journey, but I ventured beyond my comfort zone; I faced challenges head-on and poured my utmost into each project. Unbeknownst to me, this relentless effort became a source of empowerment for my team. I nurtured confidence, enabling them to exceed project goals. Collaboration flourished, bonding us into a cohesive unit. As I prepared to depart, tears flowed – genuine and heartfelt. The revelation struck: my legacy wasn’t etched in certificates or accolades, but in the impact, I created on individual lives. Gone was the skepticism, replaced by a deep, resonating truth: genuine leadership knows no boundaries of culture, race, sex, or faith. It thrives on empathy, ignites change, and leaves an indelible mark. Those tears – the shared emotions – were a testament to the profound impact of a genuine leader.

 Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: Amidst the MBA’s challenges, the IIMA Dean’s Merit scholarship shines as my beacon. Leaving an overseas career to establish roots in India tested me profoundly. Juggling the responsibilities of motherhood and the demands of academia was a delicate art, one that required sacrifices that were often deeply personal. Sleepless nights turned into tireless days, and moments of solitude became a cherished rarity. Yet, every challenge was met with a fierce desire to carve a path of success not just for myself, but for the precious life I had brought into this world. This scholarship (a 25% tuition fee waiver), symbolized recognition and relief. With financial burdens eased, my dreams gained clarity. It’s not just an accolade; it’s my empowerment. It reminds me that resilience coupled with opportunity leads to triumph.

What is your class’s favorite hangout away from school? Why do you gather there? Honestly, I haven’t had the luxury of venturing out of campus regularly. Most of my days are spent burning the midnight oil over case studies, assignments, and exams with my study group. Yet, within these academic walls, BB café emerged as a haven – a place for chit-chats, laughter, and life’s musings. But it’s those Saturday nights that paint the most vibrant strokes in my memory. Dinners with my study group melted into late-night games, birthing friendships as close as they are trustworthy. In those moments, amidst the academic whirlwind, genuine connections were woven, making these chapters truly unforgettable.

What do you hope to do after graduation? I wish to transition into a Corporate Strategy role for an established MNC. I have always been passionate about LEAN and Six Sigma which inculcated a sense of big picture thinking and problem-solving through logic and data. I believe that this knack of structured problem-solving, combined with a multi-dimensional outlook would tremendously help me in transitioning into my target role.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Ahmedabad? ‘Believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough’. Every person goes through their own hardships and adversities in life, the world has enough naysayers who don’t understand your journey and only demotivate you. Amidst all this, find the people who give you the strength to move on and strive hard to achieve your goals (be it family, friends, mentors etc.) This, combined with your dedication and undeterred focus will pave the way for championing your goals.


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