By Karan Sharma, MBA’24
As a first-generation graduate student, my transition from nine years in engineering to the dynamic world of business school in the Kelley full-time MBA program was a deeply emotional and personal journey.
I’ll be sharing my 3 takeaways, from embracing diversity to evolving into a dedicated servant-leader and discovering the immense impact of giving back. These experiences and insights have the potential to inspire and empower anyone on their unique path of growth and transformation.
Takeaway #1: Make mistakes fast and foster diversity.
After nine years as an engineer, I embarked on a new adventure in business school. The goal: pitch a business idea to a MAANG company with a diverse global team: Vy from Vietnam, Doyin from Nigeria, and Graham and Sam from the United States. Our initial case competition attempt was a reality check, we received average feedback despite our confidence.
Rather than be discouraged, we used the setback to learn and grow, guided by principles we learned from Kelley’s Me, Inc. program. We nurtured an inclusive environment where every voice mattered, strengthening our bonds and teamwork. Considered underdogs in the MBA capstone case competition, we emerged as winners by believing in each other, demonstrating the power of learning, and embracing diversity.
I’m grateful to my teammates for their unwavering support and teaching me the significance of teamwork and diversity.
Takeaway #2: From Self-Doubt to Servant Leader!
As a first-generation graduate student, America felt overwhelming, and imposter syndrome crept in. Doubts about leaving my job for an MBA haunted me initially. However, I sought support from my parents, talked to Kelley alumni and seniors, and reflected honestly.
I reminded myself that my main competition was myself and focused on personal growth.
My MBA purpose is to be a voice for the voiceless, not just a manager. This led to me becoming President of the Kelley Tech Club with support from my team (Rod, Dammy, Deepti, Pawan, and Priya).
Together, we organized events and supported our peers. I learned to believe in myself, embrace my strengths, and serve others.
Takeaway #3: Embrace the legacy of giving back.
Kelley MBA’s motto, “Go from moment to momentum,” deeply resonates with me. It’s an ongoing journey of growth and contribution.
Kelley’s alumni embody this mantra. Despite busy lives, Kelleys continue to support and guide current students, regardless of their industry—Amazon, Microsoft, Lilly, Tesla, Uber, etc. They’re always ready to share insights and expertise.
For this reason, I became a Hoosier Host, sharing my journey and offering guidance to prospective students, from sharing my Kelley experience to mock interviews.
I draw my inspiration from the selfless alumni who played a pivotal role in enriching my MBA journey. It’s a reminder that each of us holds the power to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others. Even the tiniest acts of kindness can ripple into significant change.
So, let’s nurture the spirit of giving back and encourage one another to transition from “moment to momentum” in our unique journeys!