Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Ridhi Jain, Indian Institute of Administration Ahmedabad

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“An economist at heart and a business strategist in the making.”

Hometown: Gurgaon, Haryana

Fun fact about yourself: Driving and road trips are my favorite hobbies. The last road trip was 900 km down from Delhi to Ahmedabad to reach the IIM Ahmedabad campus. I also like to go hiking. The most exciting and memorable hike so far has been a 21 km hike in the Tongariro National Park in New Zealand.

Basic studies and major: MSc. Economics, University College London

Last employer and job title: Economist, Economist Intelligence Unit, The Economist Group

Apart from your fellow students, what was the most important part of the IIM Ahmedabad MBA program that made you choose this business school, and why was it so important to you? One of the main reasons for me to attend IIMA was the course structure and choice of electives that the PGPX program offers. I am a sustainability enthusiast and IIMA offers a varied buffet with structured courses on green operations and energy as well as electives such as carbon markets. I believe IIMA will help me pursue and advance my sustainability interests and develop the necessary business skills to enable me to fulfill my professional ambitions.

While the brand speaks for itself, for me a compulsory part of the IIMA’s MBA course was dealing with different models. I will learn from the prestigious faculty and take structured courses in business administration and sustainability that will help me transition from economist to corporate strategist in a leadership position. IIMA’s focus on hands-on learning and the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable business people from a variety of industries continued to convince me to choose PGPX.

What was your favorite class or extracurricular activity at IIM Ahmedabad? What was the most important lesson you learned from it? I am voting for Firms and Markets (aka Microeconomics) as my favorite course on the program. Although I specialize in economics, I would never have imagined that studying would be so transformative. For me, the differentiating factors were the course structure, which the course instructor meticulously designed, and the way it was carried out – both of which aroused my curiosity to learn more. The focus of the course on the application of business concepts for business decisions not only ensured a steep learning curve, but also enabled me to look at economics from a completely new and fresh perspective.

Fun Fact – Our professor has taken a collective oath from us that we will always include opportunity costs and ignore sunk costs in our decision-making. No degree in economics could have ingrained this idea as deeply as Professor Pingali (Firms and Markets Instructor at IIMA).

Describe your greatest success in your career so far: My most important achievement was the conception and writing of a research paper entitled “Mini Grids and Enterprise Development: A study of aspirational change and business results between rural enterprise owners in India”, which was published in the Journal of Energy for Sustainable Development. I worked with a team and used my understanding of the project to present results and key insights from the Smart Power project (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation).

I appreciate this achievement most because I see a concrete result of my work that is accepted and recognized by the technical experts. I find fulfillment in producing a substantial result that can guide public policy and business decisions. Additionally, performance is especially important to me because of the valuable lessons it taught me. Repeating the content and analyzing the paper has taught me to always accept feedback constructively, be determined, and patiently strive to get better.

Describe your greatest achievement to date as an MBA student: My greatest achievement to date as an MBA student has been increased confidence in solving business problems. Confidence was instilled through case-based learning at IIMA, where professors skillfully moderate classroom discussions and help students develop the “how to think” ability. After two months of the program, I feel confident that I will break the problem down into smaller pieces, think about different approaches to assessment and analysis, and synthesize information to find the best possible solutions.

Together with the knowledge of the content, solving cases helped me develop my analytical, communicative and collaborative skills. I am now looking forward to the intense group discussions to investigate a case and clarify questions that may not have a single answer.

What made you decide to do an MBA at that point and what do you want after graduation? The desire to apply my academic education in economics and my passion for social impact led me to look up the research and advisory teams of various companies. As an economist, I have developed the necessary technical skills and used my quantitative and econometric modeling skills to guide decision-making.

After working for five years, I felt the time was right to take the plunge and plan my MBA trip. Through an MBA, I would like to acquire a complete business management perspective, which is necessary for the transition from economist to corporate strategist in a management position. I have the ambition to get into strategy consulting and expand my impact to a broader range of problems through the use of data-driven frameworks. After the MBA, I would like to work with sustainability and business strategy practices from a top consulting firm. I trust this will form a strong foundation for my long-term goal – to work myself up to a leader with empathy, awareness and vision.

What advice would you give potential applicants in order to gain admission to IIM Ahmedabad? While there are standard requirements that you have to meet before joining IIMA, the only thing that helped me throughout the process was the will and desire to be with IIMA. In my opinion, the entire process – from preparing for the GMAT to preparing applications and interviewing – reflects exactly what an MBA entails and demands. Juggling the application process and managing job and family responsibilities can get upset. Therefore, I would advise all aspirants to start early, take enough time to prepare, and write an energetic application. Most of all, convince yourself that you deserve to work in one of the best management institutes in India and be willing to work hard to make it happen.

In addition, time management and prioritization are necessary skills to consistently perform well during the preparation phase of the MBA trip. The entire application process tests candidates for many facets such as quantitative skills, writing skills, communication, and general awareness (to name a few). Therefore, it is extremely important to spend time recognizing and understanding your strengths and working on areas of development.

Finally, build an attitude to enjoy the process and not just be results-oriented. The MBA is a long road that starts with preparing for applications; it starts where you graduated from college along with the learning that you have continued throughout your professional life. The entire journey will only get maximum results if one enjoys the process. The only way not to feel stuck in a traffic jam due to the seemingly endless preparation of interviews and case readings is to see every step as an opportunity to learn.

The smartest words I’ve heard after joining IIMA. ”Don’t let IIMA be the greatest achievement of your life. Strive for it and achieve more. “