2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Sourya Mukherjee, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Sourya Mukherjee

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

“A unique balance of creative and analytical thinking, passionate about product, music, and AI.”

Hometown: Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Fun fact about yourself: For four years I lived a dual life – hustling as a PM at a growth startup by day and rocking out with an independent rock band by evening and on weekends.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur – Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Prodigal Technologies, Product Manager (AI products)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023? Amazon, New York

Where will you be working after graduation? I am pursuing tech PM roles with a strong AI oversight. I may end up returning to Amazon, among other possibilities.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Kellogg Bands, Kellogg Student Administration – Alumni Relations, India Business Conference (marketing)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Helping Kellogg win ‘Battle of the Bands’ against Booth. Beyond the exhilarating feeling of performing for 1,400 raging MBA students, preparing for the performance was an invaluable learning experience in collaborating with equal stakeholders (in the band) and effectively influencing without authority. ‘Battle of the Bands’ was another testament to how Kellogg exceeds one’s expectation from business school.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my Amazon internship, I proposed an automated price negotiation feature for the AI-driven global sourcing product with >$100M in projected savings. The scale and impact of the project makes me proud, over and above the hands-on learnings of bringing alignment among leaders from diverse disciplines like data science, engineering, and user experience without having any authority.

Why did you choose this business school? As cliché as it sounds, I think what makes Kellogg unique is the collaborative nature of its community. When I was evaluating offers from other business schools, I indexed heavily on my conversations with students and alumni to gauge the ‘culture fit’. Kellogg students were by far the most responsive, helpful, and insightful. It was just so much easier to connect with them and I felt like I belonged in this community.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Carter Cast. It was remarkable how Carter managed to pack in so much rich learning into every class. He is always so prepared to not only run a captivating class, but also supplement it with reference materials that are thoughtfully curated and indexed. Recently, while evaluating an offer from a startup, I not only referred to his class materials but also had an enriching chat with him that provided valuable clarity on how to think about my next step at Kellogg.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Launching and Leading Startups. As someone keen on starting up in the future, this course was a holistic playbook in prioritizing the right things while leading a startup. Some of the key learnings that stood out was how to effectively gauge product-market fit, how to hire the right people at the early stages and building a high impact business model canvas. These learnings were solidified through comprehensive weekly case studies supplemented by in-class discussions.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Battle of the Bands. This was the most anticipated social event of the year, with 1,400 tickets selling out in 40 minutes. Performing for a screaming sea of fellow students at an iconic venue like the Vic Theatre has been one of the highlights of my Kellogg journey.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
I would dip my feet into the investing world (VC/PE). I came to Kellogg with the clarity and focus that I want to pursue tech, specifically product roles. However, as I got exposure to the investing side of tech, I developed a keen interest in it. I would have loved to plan my courses such that I could get hands on experience working with a VC or a PE through the VC or PE labs. Pro tip for future MBAis: Take Accelerated Corporate Finance early since that unlocks so many other courses like VC lab, PE lab, etc.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The Evanston/Chicago weather is unbearable. As someone coming from a tropical South Asian climate, I had heard so many times that the Chicago winter would be too brutal to handle. But it wasn’t that bad; you get used to it

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Evanston is a uniquely beautiful and tranquil place. I appreciate the fact that it is very accessible to a big city like Chicago while being nestled away in a way that allows deep connections to form between students. There’s a reason why many fondly refer to it as ‘Heaven-ston’, haha!

What surprised you the most about business school? The diversity in backgrounds and perspectives of my peers at Kellogg. As an engineer and a techie, my perception of intellectual ability was skewed towards the analytical side. But at Kellogg I have been humbled by the diversity of intellectual acumen in non-analytical aspects such as leadership, networking, mentoring and influence that are equally or more important.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Rohan Avalani. Rohan has shown a great ability to balance multiple impactful priorities across leading the India Business Conference and growing his startup as a Zell fellow, while also carving out fun times with close friends.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
1. Senior product role at a big tech company. Having worked in startups previously, I am keen on experiencing the impact of scale at a leading big tech company.

2. Break into the music tech space and start my own business at the intersection of music and technology.

What made Sourya such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“As a career Coach at Kellogg, I am privileged to have important, sometimes profound and trajectory-changing, and always thoughtful and considered, 1-on-1 conversations with Kellogg students. They come to Kellogg at a time in their career when they are able to professionally reflect and in fact, eager to act on those reflections. Kellogg attracts the most well-rounded, interested as they are interesting, humans!  Each student adds to that culture and embeds it deeper into its fabric, and we and the world at large are better for it. I am lucky, not just fortunate, lucky, to do what I do.

To meet Sourya is to remember Sourya. He came to Kellogg and to our coaching conversation, an MBAi student with a rich and clear success track record in a wide array of industries; consulting, tech and insurance – as I said, wide! Oh, and did I mention as hobbies, he also managed bands and is a prolific musician in his own right? I knew from reading his resume I was in for an interesting conversation. I found him to be as “left brained” as he was “right” brained. That meant he had the opportunity to consider many directions for why he came to Kellogg, what he wanted to do because of Kellogg, and then who he would be after Kellogg. He duly considered leaning deeply into his hobby and passion of music by considering a role on the business side of Music. Yet his unquestionable escalating successes and skillset in every aspect and role of data, both sharply technical and equally subjective, called louder.  When you are creative AND technical; you have a rare toolkit. Sourya “speaks” both “front” and “back” end languages of business. He aligns empathetically w the customer, and relates, sympathizes and translates with and for the technical personnel of the business. All of that equals best in class PMT (Product Manager – Technical)!

Amazon was smart to select and fortunate to get Sourya this last summer for his internship. He had options. He accomplished at Amazon, in the short time of an internship, what not everyone can do in such a voluminous environment, stand out. Kellogg curates leaders; The interesting and effecting quality of Sourya’s style is that of a quietly loud leader. He doesn’t need to be on stage (but could be!) to impact a business or its team dramatically, personally and successfully. Every business he has been a part of has helped him grow and understand that natural aspect of himself, and now he utilizes it effectively and responsibly. Whether his next step is Amazon or any single thing he puts his mind to, that place and space will be better off and more successful for his grace, impressive skillset, sharp intellect, and genuineness in intend and objective.

Let’s all watch it unfold!

Tina K. Hagopian-Fahey
Associate Director
Career Management Center



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