This interview is the latest in an Accepted blog series featuring interviews with MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Sri Challa, MIT Sloan’s EMBA class of 2017…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Sri: I was born and raised in Hyderabad, India and studied Mechanical Engineering for undergrad at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad.
Accepted: If you could meet any famous person – past or present – who would it be and why?
Sri: Without a doubt JFK, 35th President of the US. His quotes have inspired millions and propelled the world into progress. I have always been fascinated by his vision and how he articulated it. Following are my favorite JFK quotes:
• “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
• “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
• “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
Accepted: Where are you currently in b-school? What year?
Sri: MIT Sloan, 2017
Accepted: Why did you choose Sloan? How did you know it was a good “fit”?
Sri: I chose MIT for three reasons – strong and integrated curriculum, focus on entrepreneurship (especially in technology) and open culture. The school, faculty and community have exceeded my expectations since!
As a manager by experience with an engineering background, I was looking for a school that had a systematic and scientific approach toward management. Sloan’s core principles and the program curriculum resonated well with my background and needs. The onsite preview workshop organized by the MIT EMBA program team was outstanding and tremendously helpful in making the decision.
Accepted: Why an MBA? What made you want to pursue a graduate degree?
Sri: Prior to applying for the program, I considered myself to be a manager by experience and was successful in my industry and career. However, as my responsibilities in the organization increased and my interests exploded, including venturing into the world of entrepreneurship, I realized that my education and experience was not going to take me much further. It was clear to me that I needed formal management training, not just from any school, but from a school where theory and application were treated equally. “Mens et Manus” (Mind and Hand) – the foundational principles of MIT – were just was I was looking for.
Accepted: What do you plan on doing after graduation?
Sri: Prefer not to disclose at this time.
Accepted: Did you face any unexpected challenges in the application process? How did you overcome them?
Sri: As an engineer, I took pride in being objective and succinct. But I realized during the application process that a bulleted list of my accomplishments and aspirations would not be enough to tell my entire story. Accepted and their consultants were a tremendous resource in helping me tell my story through the various essays. The consultants were very professional, understood my background and mental model quickly and gave me specific feedback to improve the application. The guidance and feedback I received from Accepted was one of the key drivers for my successful application.
Accepted: Do you have any last words of wisdom or tips for MBA applicants?
Sri: It is probably a cliché, but it is extremely important for you to be yourself. Anyone aspiring to apply for an MBA program should spend enough thinking in clear terms about the following –
1. Why do you need an MBA now? What specifically in your professional tools set is lacking that you expect to acquire through an MBA?
2. What will you do after the MBA? Think hard on this question!
3. Last, but most importantly, spend time understanding the school and program very well. What aspects of the curriculum and the school relate to you? How will you take advantage of these? What will you bring to the school that will enrich the experience for your classmates and advance the mission of the school?
You can connect with Sri via his LinkedIn profile page. Thank you Sri for taking the time to chat with us – we wish you much success!
For one-on-one guidance with your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages.