From HBS to Cutting-Edge Tech – MBA

Gaurav Singh (MBA 2022) grew up in Varanasi, India. He completed his undergraduate degree in Instrument and Control Engineering in India and pursued an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, before moving to the US. Since his childhood, he has been interested in using technological innovations for the betterment of human life.

When and why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

Growing up I always wanted to be an engineer, especially a roboticist. In the year The biggest technology issue in 2016 was autonomous vehicles and I was lucky enough to join Ford as a machine learning researcher. I wrote software, created intellectual property, and spoke at international industry conferences about autonomous cars. In the year In late 2018, I realized that commercially launching autonomous vehicles would be more than an engineering challenge, and required a lot of business development and strategic planning. I convinced the executive leadership to spend a year in the business group. I have been instrumental in serving as a bridge between Sid Engineering and business organizations. However, I realized that I would be more effective if I was equipped with formal business education frameworks and tools.

Why Harvard?

I wanted to go to a school that prepares generalists, invites classroom discussion, and considers diverse candidates. Along with my desire to live and work outside the US, an internationally recognized brand was also crucial. Only HBS fit the bill. Many schools prepare you for your first post-MBA career, but the HBS case method goes even further. HBS classroom discussions simulate the multifaceted challenges that top executive leaders face, preparing you to be the leader you want to be in 20 years.

What was your first cold call like?

I am the first cold called to my class. It was nerve wrecking! But my discussion group talked about it so deeply that, right before class, I could respond thoughtfully on autopilot.

What surprised you about HBS?

Imposter syndrome is real. I was surrounded by some of the brightest people in our generation. I was constantly in awe of my classmates’ achievements, spirit and drive. Yet as I get to know my classmates on a personal level, these same people talk about their insecurities and feelings of falling behind others. One of the strengths of HBS is its supportive community — as a class, and as a class, we felt safe to expose each other.

I was surprised by the number of conversations we had on topics like creating a work-life balance and finding happiness. As times change, the curriculum not only reflects on living life to the fullest and relentlessly pursues ongoing promotion, it’s important!

How did HBS prepare you for a career in technology?

Early on in my time at HBS, I became an active member in the Tech Club, the CAML (Coding, Analytics and Machine Learning) Club, as well as the VCPE (Venture Capital & Private Equity) Club. That allowed me to connect with classmates with compatible interests while keeping up with the latest news and lessons from the tech industry. I joined a small team to take an idea from scratch and build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in the amazing Startup Bootcamp program. Courses like Entrepreneurial Manager, Tech Venture Launch, Founder’s Journey, Entrepreneurial Finance and Field X were great ways to get practical advice from founders themselves about running a startup. The Harvard Innovation Lab and the Rock Entrepreneurship Center are two other great resources not to be missed!

Overall, I think the tech ecosystem on the HBS campus is very developed! There were many options for tailoring the MBA experience to meet my needs.

Looking back, what experiences stood out from your two years at HBS?

The classroom experience is definitely a highlight at Harvard. Taking classes with the same people builds friendships and you get to know them all on a personal level. I also enjoy interacting with professors outside of the classroom. They are my biggest champions and my personal board of directors.

I also learned some leadership lessons from being co-president of the Tech Club and serving in classroom leadership. Leading and managing a team of dozens of top-notch people can be tough, but it teaches lessons that will stay with you forever.

What are your future plans?

I joined Series B, an artificial intelligence chip maker based in Toronto, Canada, keeping my vision of always working in technology. I am leading and growing their technical marketing efforts. I plan to gain as many different experiences as possible over the next few years to help prepare me for executive leadership in my career.

On the personal front, my wife and I are looking to raise our daughter (who was born in her second year at HBS) and approach our respective jobs to provide her with as many enriching experiences as possible.

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