Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Kartik Bhatia, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Kartik Bhatia

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

“Passionate about empowering the disadvantaged through my experiences in technology, policy-making, and politics.”

Hometown: Delhi

Fun Fact About Yourself: I cycled 600 km in the Himalayas to the highest motorable road in the world.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communications Engineering at Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nation with Namo, Project Manager

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? Ever since I made a career switch from Deloitte to NITI Aayog (premier think tank of the Government of India), I have been focused on working with the right stakeholders in the development sector in India. My long-term focus is to work on enabling the lower strata of society in India to tap into the opportunities of a new digital economy. IIM Ahmedabad offers courses that facilitate holistic learning and development beyond typical business lessons. IIM Ahmedabad also provides many opportunities for students to explore their interests and pursue careers in the domain of their choice, especially in India. The institute’s alumni are working in leadership positions across different industries and sectors, enabling further enrichment of the post-MBA network. The flexibility in carving out unique opportunities and the support of its esteemed alumni made me choose IIM Ahmedabad over other colleges.

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 has been marketing. It gave me an entirely new perspective on valuing products and services. Being an engineer, I was hard-wired to only look at the utility of products and services and measure their value in price. I always used to think that good products sell automatically and their quality is the cheapest and most effective promotion tool. Knowing that marketing strategies allow organizations to access the value and deliver and manage the value far greater than the mere utility has been a key learning.

What makes IIM Ahmedabad such a great place to earn an MBA? The faculty at IIM Ahmedabad is one of the best in the country. They don’t just teach business courses, but provide a unique learning experience in every class through case-based methods. The cohort at IIMA is very diverse regarding work experiences, which makes the class discussions comprehensive and adds to peer learning. The alumni consist of industry stalwarts ready to visit campus and help the batch enhance their MBA journey. The support provided by various learning centers at IIMA is beneficial, be it the entrepreneurship center or the public policy center.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At NITI Aayog, I was the tech lead of the Aspirational Districts Programme, a program aimed at improving the socio-economic condition of the most backward districts of India and closely monitored by the current Prime Minister of India. I was entrusted with creating an application that would allow the decentralization of the program into administrative blocks at scale. I was able to develop the application portal successfully and also train hundreds of officers in a quick time on using the portal. Creating such an impact at scale through my skills has been a gratifying experience.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: I am currently serving as the Secretary of the Election Committee of the batch, responsible for holding elections of all the student committees. Since I have worked as a campaign manager for a political party, I have a good amount of experience in understanding the nuances of elections. I simplified the voting and campaigning norms of several polls and tailored the conduct of specific elections to the popularity and demand for various committee positions.

We also hosted physical ballot-based elections and town halls, which brought in more excitement and transparency. We moved from a fully anonymous to a semi-anonymous method to simplify the polls and bring peace to the voting process. Due to our ethical and transparent conduct in holding elections, we were able to win the trust of the batch and then scale up the new method for all committees. The process was then adopted by other clubs as well for their internal elections.

Keeping transparency and bringing excitement to elections has been quite a fulfilling experience.

What is your class’s favorite hangout away from school? Why do you gather there? Bhavesh Bhai’s Campus Cafe. It is open for 20 hours a day and serves food and beverages. It is the go-to place for our class on every occasion, be it cursing the high assignment load, discussing opportunities in startups, or consuming cups of coffee the night before exams. It’s an excellent place to bond with batchmates and foster friendships over tea and coffee.

What do you hope to do after graduation? I have spent a reasonable amount of time in the tech industry and public policy space and have also worked with the country’s top political leaders in crafting election strategies. Over the years, I have gained a fair knowledge of the issues at the grassroots level in India and developed an understanding of how governments plan to mitigate those issues. I want to dedicate the next few years to empowering the marginalized sections of society by bringing them closer to the economic opportunities of a growing India through technology. I want to leverage my experiences and work closely with governments and businesses to bring convergence of efforts in enabling the disadvantaged. As the next phase in my career, I plan to join one of the impact consulting organizations, such as UNDP, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc., to work with the brightest minds and right stakeholders in contributing towards India’s social and economic progress.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Ahmedabad? Having a clear strategy for GMAT is the first and essential step for all applicants. Ensure that you have a clear target score in your mind and that you give enough time to yourself to prepare applications and essays. Before drafting your essays, consider why IIM Ahmedabad is the best fit for you and where you want to be post-MBA. In your essays, be authentic, objective and focus on the skills your cohort can benefit from. For interview preparation, ensure that all aspects of the application, resume, and essays are covered comprehensively and you can answer why you chose that specific career choice. During the interviews, be precise, be honest, and be yourself.

Come to IIMA with an open mind, and you will notice many more opportunities than you can fathom. An MBA is also a journey of exploration, and you may choose to pursue a career in a domain very different from your past experiences, so being open to various opportunities will help.


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