Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Supriya Reddy, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)

Supriya Reddy

University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“Curious, empathetic soul cherishing small joys, seeking stories for my future self, valuing education, equality, and karma.”

Hometown: Hyderabad, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I dread roller coasters, yet I dared to ride the world’s fastest one in Abu Dhabi for my first experience. The next goal: skydiving, maybe (not really)!

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelors and Masters in Electrical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur, India

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Apple Inc., Software Engineer.

Berkeley Haas is founded on four Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Which principle resonates most with you and why? I have always believed that every individual has something valuable to offer. as social beings, we should be open to learning from those around us. Seeing my life-long motto of “Students Always” as one of the Defining Leadership Principles made Haas my dream place.

Valuable life lessons can be found everywhere. Once, during a retreat program, I unexpectedly engaged with a person who referred to herself as a “manifestation coach,” a career I’ve never heard of. I had multiple discussions with her to understand why she started this kind of business and how she generated revenue. It was the last place I had expected to have such an enlightening conversation.

When you think of UC Berkeley, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Inclusivity.  Undoubtedly, this is the first word that comes to mind when I think of UC Berkeley. While I have been inspired by the institution’s history and traditions, its exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusivity truly stands out.

I come from India, the land of multiple cultures and languages. I have lived in different parts of the country and that has helped me understand the significance of fostering a sense of belonging. Every school talks about culture and inclusion, but the significance Haas places on making every person feel acknowledged, welcomed, and valued is unmatched. From the essays to pre-MBA workshops to the core curriculum, the focal point has always been DEI. It’s the Haas story.

During my application journey, I engaged in numerous conversations with Haas students and alumni, and the discussions never felt one-sided. I consistently felt valued; my experiences mattered, even as an applicant. A student shared that Haas allowed him to authentically be himself and he has never been happier.

Aside from classmates and the Defining Leadership Principles, what was the key part of Berkeley Haas’ MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Haas’ Bay Area location grants seamless access to industry leaders and businesses. The Berkeley Skydeck presents an opportunity to connect with emerging founders. My goal is to delve into the realm of start-ups and gain insights into the mindset of individuals who venture into entrepreneurship. I want to understand how they confront challenges and use those experiences to navigate the corporate world successfully. The Evening and Weekend MBA program offers interactions with professionals in the tech sector. If feasible, I aspire to collaborate with a few of these individuals.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Berkeley Haas? I am excited about courses that provide an opportunity to apply my learnings. Haas@Work gives me a chance to collaborate with my classmates and address real-world business challenges. Another eagerly anticipated course is International Business Development (IBD), which will allow me to consult on a global scale and travel to new destinations.

I am also curious about exploring the various libraries located all around the campus and find one-of-a-kind letters or photographs or other treasures that offer deeper insights into both American and world history.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My surname is Bagannagary, and like many others, I’ve experienced the frustration of having my name mispronounced. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Determined to bring about a paradigm shift, I made modifications to a global application within Apple. I introduced a feature that allows users to share the correct pronunciation of their name, thereby assisting others in using the right pronunciations. An employee mentioned that he was nearly moved to tears upon setting up this feature. As an enhancement, I worked on integrating pronouns as an option. These pronouns can now be shared during meetings conducted through platforms like Zoom or WebEx. The overwhelmingly positive feedback I received reaffirmed the kind of impact I aspire to make through my work.

At this point, what do you hope to do after graduation? I plan to remain within the technology sector after graduation. Over the next two years, I intend to engage in multiple projects with companies that cater to diverse customer bases, exploring roles ranging from product management to strategy. Beyond graduation, my goal is to contribute to products that have a direct impact on people’s lives.

In the tech world, soft skills and emotional intelligence are often underrated, a trend I am determined to change as I take on leadership responsibilities. I found it truly refreshing and optimistic that the first workshop we had at Haas focused on communication and building personal connections.

Coming from a male-dominated industry, I’ve always aspired to see more women in influential positions. Embracing both genders leads to a wider range of perspectives, and I’m delighted to have this diversity in my cohort.

Haas has given me the reassurance that it’s completely okay not to have all the answers right away. The program encourages experimentation and growth, providing the time and space needed to evolve and discover one’s path. The return on investment here isn’t just financial, but an investment in an unparalleled personal development experience.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Michigan Ross, Duke Fuqua, UCLA Anderson

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Berkeley Haas’ MBA program?

  1. First and foremost, the “What makes you feel alive” essay is the opportunity to reveal your authentic self. They are looking for more than just corporate triumphs. For example, craft your answer around a pivotal moment that has shaped your character, a childhood trait that has evolved over time, or an interest that holds profound significance. It’s okay to be honest. For example, during my interview, I discussed my regret over not pursuing athletics further in college.
  2. Even if you use tools like ChatGPT, remember a human being reads your essay. Hence, add a human touch into your writing rather than just mentioning big numbers and rich vocabulary.
  3. For the essay about Defining Leadership Principles, instead of selecting a principle and then finding a story, reflect on how each principle is relevant to your life, and then choose one.
  4. Prepare for Haas by embracing diversity. Extend your interactions beyond students/alumni with the same nationalities or careers. My first week at Haas involved engaging with approximately 130 new individuals from 30+ countries.

Aside from the validation of being accepted into Haas, the process itself gave me newfound self-assurance. Be yourself, connect with others, and approach the process fully – that’s the Haas spirit.


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