Meet The Indian Institute Of Management Ahmedabad MBA Class Of 2024

Don’t ever settle. Go for the best. This is your future. This is your identity.

The stakes couldn’t any be higher.

That’s business school. Where you go is who you’ll become. The best programs give you access to the most insightful programming and richest resources; the most accomplished faculty and most promising classmates; the most influential alumni and life-changing opportunities. They prepare you to hit the ground running and tackle an organization’s highest profile issues. Think exposure, networks, possibilities: the freedom to pursue your passions, dictate your terms, and make an impact.

Surrounding yourself with the best brings out your best. That’s the difference with an elite institution.


That’s what sets the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad apart. In India, IIM Ahmedabad is synonymous with excellence. The school’s alumni range from World Bank Group President Ajaypal Singh Banga to best-selling author Chetan Bhagat. Barely 6% of applications to the PGPX program are accepted – a testament to just how exclusive it is. When it comes to rankings, IIM Ahmedabad hovers above the rest. The school held the top spot in both the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) from the Government of India’s Ministry of Education and the Indian Institutional Ranking Framework (IIRF). In The Financial Times’ 2024 MBA ranking, IIM Ahmedabad finished as the top IIM in India. It posted the second-highest post-graduation pay in Asia, along with near perfect placement. Even more, the school ranked 16th in the world for its alumni network and produced the highest score for alumni satisfaction among Indian schools.

In other words, IIM Ahmedabad sets the bar for graduate business education in India, says Gopi Ethamukkalam, a member of the PGPX Class of 2024 set to graduate this spring.

“I believe IIMA represents the pinnacle of management education in India. I held this conviction so firmly that I didn’t consider applying to other schools for the 2023-24 intake. It was either an MBA from IIMA or nothing. The factor that makes IIMA an unquestionable choice encompasses a range of attributes: a rich legacy, robust alum network, diverse cohort, case-based learning, exceptional faculty, focus on peer-to-peer learning, nurturing of entrepreneurs, and more. The fusion of these facets deeply resonates with individuals like me. If I were to summarize all these aspects into a single factor that drove my decision, I would refer to it as the ‘IIMA brand’.”

Forum Tower, New Campus (Tushar Patel)


Ethamukkalam’s classmate, Pankhuri Mishra, held the program in equal esteem before joining the Class of 2024.

”IIM Ahmedabad is the most well-known business school in the country, to the extent that for a long time I associated MBA with the iconic Louis Kahn Plaza of IIM Ahmedabad. IIM Ahmedabad’s alumni can be found at the top of every field today – be it entrepreneurship, politics, corporates, or civil society. Having such a well-rounded alumni body was an attractive proposition because that meant I could choose to enter any industry and be almost certain that I would find a mentor from the same alma mater!”

Umar Mujeeb, a 2023 grad, describes IIM Ahmedabad as a “way of living” and a life-changing time. Classmate Gopi Ethamukkalam jokes that the A in IIMA actually stands for “Academics”. No, this program is no place for slackers looking for an easy path to a degree. However, the program’s intense focus on academics comes with a purpose, Ethamukkalam adds.

“The rigour of the curriculum is nothing but a simulation of what is required to be successful in a real-life undertaking. The concept of study groups at IIMA fosters peer-to-peer learning. The study group members have diverse backgrounds, resulting in each group mimicking the executive committee set up at an organization…IIMA also integrates elective courses and allows for cross-pollination of students across programs. This provides an excellent opportunity for students to network and pick up fresh perspectives.”


The PGPX program simulates something equally important to the Class of 2024’s future career careers, says Shuchita Thapar: You need to “show up as your best, hardest-and-smartest working self every single day.” That may sound intimidating, but students will tell you there is plenty of downtime too. Pankhuri Mishra, for one, enjoys bicycle rides along the Sabarmati Riverfront. And that’s just one of the joys of the IIM Ahmedabad experience, adds ’23 alum Rohit Singh Malan.

“IIM Ahmedabad has the image of a business school where there is no fun and only academics. The truth is that there are umpteen number of extracurricular activities to take part in. They take the form of cultural festival, T-nite, sports fests, and more Students do all of this without compromising on the academic rigor that the institute is known for. I participated in almost all extracurricular events (cultural/ sports/ literary) that allowed me to know very interesting people and explore new things.”

Looking at the PGPX Class of 2024, you’ll notice there are two students named Kartik Bhatia. The first is a chartered accountant who started his career at Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young before spending five years as a senor analyst and assistant manager at McKinsey & Company. Here, he says, he completed engagements with top leaders in the United States and United Kingdom. The other Bhatia is a cyclist who traveled 600 kilometers across the Himalayas, ultimately reaching the world’s highest motorable road. Prior to business school, Bhatia worked for Deloitte before joining the Government of India’s renowned NITI Aayog think tank, where his work focused on connecting lower income citizens with opportunities in the digital economy.

“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,” Bhatia explains. “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.”

New Campus (Tushar Patel)


Bhatia wasn’t the only class member who pursued public service before entering business school. Diewakarr Anupam Mittal also served in NITI Aayog. His proudest moment? “[It] was walking through the sandstone arches of the South Block (Prime Minister’s Office) to discuss the strategy with the Adviser to the PM for an important public transportation project worth $450M.”

It might be difficult for Md Irshadullah Gharbi to share his true biggest accomplishment. After producing a near-perfect score on his recruitment exam, Gharbi moved into the Government of India’s Under Ministry of Home Affairs in the Intelligence Bureau. Here, he rose to being an Assistant Central Intelligence Officer, where his plate included everything from money laundering to technical and economic intelligence. He is joined in the Class of 2024 by Ketan Pandey, an Indian Army Officer overseeing tactical communications.

“An outstanding achievement during my tenure was the establishment of an advanced fiber optic and satellite-based tactical communications network, which played a critical role in enhancing the intelligence capabilities of our forces on India’s eastern border,” he tells P&Q. “Similarly, I am very proud to have led the conceptualization, planning, and execution of some of the Indian Army’s pioneering initiatives in artificial intelligence and quantum computing.”

Looking for a few ‘poets’ in the class? Meet Shuchita Thapar, who holds a law degree and operated as a program manager for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. She has also edited a book on the history of the right to privacy targeted to judges and public servants. In contrast, Anisha Kumari made the transition from journalist to marketer.

“Being an editor-reporter was an easy choice as I had been writing both professionally and personally for a long time,” she admits. “However, handling social media for a news organization was a different ball game. There’s the pressure to be the first one to break a news on social media while making sure that any kind of misinformation is filtered out of the system. Becoming a social media professional helped me understand social media platforms, their user base, and the types of content that work well with each combination.”


Supraja Ramachandran joined the Class of 2024 after earning a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering and managing continuous improvement at Mary Kay’s headquarters in Texas. At the same time, Gopi Ethamukkalam has spent over 15 crazy years working in finance – giving him a deep perspective that will come in handy during IIMA’s legendary case discussions. When it comes to being the proverbial ‘man for all seasons’, you’d be hard-pressed to match Sylvester Dias.

“The ‘Pursuit of Knowledge’ has been a recurring theme in my life. Although I started learning the piano when I was six, my desire to delve deeper into music led me to pick up the guitar during college and even the bass and the ukulele later in my career. My inquisitiveness led me to pursue a Master’s in Data Science while serving in the Indian Navy. Continuous Learning is, therefore, a motto I live by. The excellent faculty and academic rigor therefore strongly resonate with my desire to keep learning. This one-year MBA is not only a means for me to transition from military to corporate, but also an incubator for widening my horizons, understanding business and testing my strengths.”

At IIM Ahmedabad, Dias considers his biggest achievement to be toughing out a torn cruciate ligament in his one, one that left him in a wheelchair for several weeks.

“Keeping myself motivated while experiencing FOMO was the greatest challenge,” Dias admits. “The support of my cohort, the faculty and the administration at IIMA was a boost towards my recovery. I literally taught myself how to walk again while learning the building blocks of management. The entire journey bolstered my confidence in my ability to stay positive and tackle any adversity that life throws at me.”

Class syndicates preparing for a case study discussion at IIM Ahmedabad


Kartik Bhatia – from McKinsey – had the opportunity to host the U.S. Ambassador to India during school, while interacting with top executives from NoBroker and Blusmart. The other Kartik Bhatia organized all the student government elections, building in reforms that simplified and invigorated the process. By the same token, Pankhuri Mishra leveraged her strengths to enrich the experience for her classmates.

“In the cohort, I am one of the very few people who come from the social development sector. Through my ability to build deep conversations while exploring nuances, I am able to find common ground to relate different sectors, which is aiding peer-learning. For example, coming from a sector with a significantly larger proportion of women, I am able to share new perspectives on team building with my peers who come from traditional industries which rank low on women representation.”

Along the way, the Class of 2024 gained some far-reaching takeaways. Shuchita Thapar believes shouldering leadership roles – and the “juggling” it requires – has made her a more effective communicator and time manager. For Md Irshadullah Gharbi, who admittedly had limited business experience before arriving at IIM Ahmedabad, the program has helped him build expertise across “all facets of business.”

“It has not been an easy path. We have been made to eat, sleep, and breathe business cases to the extent that it has almost become muscle memory now. The sheer grind of the academics made me ultimately come out shining in terms of business thinking and exponential learning.”

Next Page: An interview with the PGPX Program Chair

Page 3: Profiles of 12 PGPX students

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