Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Swaraj Dharia, MIT (Sloan)

Swaraj Dharia

MIT, Sloan School of Management

‘Curiosity-driven traveler, advocate for climate change action, striving to positively impact the world.” 

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have an AirBnB on the western coast of India!

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering at Vellore Institute of Technology, India; Masters in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, West Lafayette.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Investment Associate at Peak Sustainability Ventures.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of MIT Sloan’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? It was the emphasis on entrepreneurship resources at MIT Sloan, along with the unique opportunity to tap into MIT’s storied entrepreneurial ecosystem.

What truly resonated with me was witnessing current students embarking on new ventures in an environment where failure is embraced and reflected upon in an organized way.  The supportive atmosphere at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the Legatum Center has fostered an environment of innovation and risk-taking, which is crucial for successful ventures.

Moreover, MIT Sloan’s certificate programs, such as the Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) Certificate, further differentiates MIT Sloan. E&I programming breaks down new ventures into their core components—the nuts and bolts of starting a business—that equips students with practical skills essential for launching impactful companies. These versatile skills can seamlessly translate into various career paths beyond entrepreneurship.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at MIT Sloan? The Global Startup Workshop (GSW) at Sloan is a fascinating event. Through annual workshops held in various countries, GSW spreads MIT Sloan’s entrepreneurial ethos worldwide. It’s a platform for cross-border networking, fostering connections with entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers. As a member of the GSW team, we can develop a holistic understanding of how entrepreneurs balance policy mandates with their impact objectives and development. GSW’s impressive history of influential speakers, including world leaders, investors, and founders, highlights its significance. This event not only facilitates networking, but also enhances leadership skills. Organizing an event for more than 3,000 attendees provides hands-on experience in planning, managing, and implementing large-scale initiatives. GSW is exciting because it is an opportunity to tangibly deliver on MIT Sloan’s commitment to global entrepreneurship by focusing on building a community.

Action Learning Labs are one of MIT Sloan’s biggest attractions. Which lab interests you most? How does it fit with your interests? Without a doubt, it’s the Entrepreneurship Lab (E-Lab). It offers an opportunity to work directly with founding teams of high-tech startups on crucial projects! The experience will help me apply classroom learning in the real-world setting of high-growth startups. My interest lies in building solutions for global climate-distressed communities. Having worked across consulting, policy, and investing, I am excited by this opportunity to work directly with startups and absorb everything I can from founders of promising or high-growth companies. E-Lab will allow me to help founders brainstorm organized solutions to global problems and scale those solutions into valuable businesses.

When you think of MIT, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Sloan program thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? I always imagined MIT to be a school of intelligent, high-performing individuals aiming to positively impact the world. MIT is a school that balances intellectual and analytical thinking with creative and emotional perspectives. My interactions with peers and alums from Sloan have further reinforced my beliefs. The program has a warm, inclusive culture and a thriving community that lives and breathes the values of “Sloanies helping Sloanies.”

While traveling across India, the US, and Japan, I interacted with Sloan alums from diverse backgrounds working on innovative solutions across industries. It was amazing to experience the commitment they all had toward the program years after graduation!

While interacting with fellow admits worldwide, I was impressed by the humility of alums given their impressive backgrounds and achievements. The highlight for me was an AdMIT day breakout room. Our conversations went from discussing generative AI in climate to examining the economic impact of Messi’s move to the US!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While working at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, I had the opportunity to help with carbon market implementation and negotiations at UN COP 26 & 27. I supported the Economic Adviser and the Secretary of State of Environment with negotiations for two weeks, helping countries come together to adopt Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which focused on international carbon markets.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? LBS, Wharton, and HBS.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? Post Sloan, I aim to work in the climate-focused ecosystem by helping direct focused capital toward adaptation and mitigation.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into MIT Sloan’s MBA program? The one piece of advice I would give prospective candidates is to make sure they submit an application that highlights their most authentic selves. Many candidates self-reject themselves before applying, but it is essential to understand that the ad-com looks at everyone holistically. I recommend genuinely reflecting on your experiences to understand why you made certain decisions, the outcomes of those decisions, and how those outcomes affected you. Sloan’s interviews are pretty detailed compared to other programs and data-backed; real-life examples are an asset throughout the process.

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