Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Ramprashanth Mohanassundaram, Harvard Business School

“As a passionate generalist, I love solving new business challenges, with a focus on empowerment – ​​I firmly believe that inclusion can lead to social and business impact.”

HometownChennai, Tamil Nadu

Fun fact about yourself: Hailing from a marginalized farming community, I am passionate about inspiring and empowering the underprivileged. I have targeted my efforts so far in the development of my village through various efforts such as weekly tutoring and tutoring programs for children, setting up a corpus fund to generate sustainable cash flow for low-income students and supporting community participation in the local village temple.

Primary school and primary; B.Tech + M.Tech: Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India; Mechanical engineering specializing in product design

Most recent employer and job title: Westbridge Capital (late-stage VC/PE), investment analyst

What have been your first impressions of the Harvard Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far? Tell us your best Harvard Business School story so far. I first learned about Harvard Business School in my 2nd year of undergrad when a very close advisor was writing my essay for the 2+2 program. I remember being surprised by both the basic and introspective nature of the question and being delighted by the clarity of his character. Every year since then, I’ve noticed that very passionate and driven seniors dream of getting into HBS and fight for it. As I later began to discover my passion for solving business challenges that impact change, I was drawn to HBS and learned more about what makes it unique. He was inspired by working closely with top HBS alumni at global companies, living with business and social impact, and subsequently by their focus on HBS’s inclusive and thought-provoking culture. Immersing myself in such an environment helps me to do what I enjoy the most – to empower those who have been denied a fair chance in life by society for too long.

What makes the case method attractive for learning and becoming a better manager? My experience in consulting, investing, and technology has taught me this lesson: While strategizing is an important part, execution is critical and often challenging. I believe that the case method of putting a student in the shoes of a manager in a real business situation is the closest to being in a practical situation. Additionally, this approach takes into account the lives and feelings of the people affected by the decision, which may be lost in a simple theoretical strategy.

Besides your classmates and subjects, What was a key component of the Harvard Business School MBA program that made you choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The renowned alumni network of 85K+ successful business leaders was another important aspect of the HBS program.

What course, club or activity at Harvard Business School do you enjoy the most?? As someone looking to build future businesses, I am passionate about entrepreneurship and VC/PE clubs.

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Harvard Business School? why? I strongly believe that the brand HBS is one of the most famous and popular brands in the world. As someone who is denied access to wealth, being a part of this brand is not only a win for me, but a win for the entire community.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: I take great pride in developing and running a mentoring program for children from low-income and marginalized backgrounds in my neighborhood. Professionally, my biggest achievement has been co-leading Westbridge’s ‘Rural Lending’ practice, investing $450m and supporting rural lending institutions to enable affordable credit for rural India, 40% of which still suffer from informal credit.

What motivated you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? There are three key reasons why you decide to pursue an MBA. First, it was the career period and I want to develop myself and prepare myself before building my career, clarity of my goals and what to do next. The second is to learn and experience the global fintech wave, which I believe is critical to India’s growth, especially for those who are not aware of it. The last reason was exposure to people, both peers and students. Learning about different perspectives opens up new cultures and building trusting relationships with like-minded peers accelerates the journey of making an impact.

What’s one thing you’ve read, watched or listened to recently that you highly recommend to MBAs? why? For HBS style I highly recommend watching the HBS case method videos.

What other MBA programs have you applied to? Wharton and Booth

What advice would you give applicants to help them get into the Harvard Business School MBA program? Reading a simple, yet powerfully self-introspective HBS essay prompt at age 19 propelled my HBS journey. After many short-term goal pursuits in the first 25 years of my life, the question helped me pause and think about my life so far and my future journey. It is important to think of the application process not only as an application, but as a way to get to know yourself on a personal and fundamental level. Understanding yourself and connecting your past roots with your future aspirations is critical to breaking through the admissions process.

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