Real Humans of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business Online MBA Program
Sritheja Gulukota, Michigan Ross Online MBA
Hometown: Westborough, MA
Undergraduate Institution & Major: University of Connecticut, Economics
Pre-MBA Work Experience: I was in management consulting for five years, focusing primarily on improving healthcare operations for some of the largest provider networks and health plans in the country. Around the same time that I started my MBA at Ross, I pivoted to a health startup in Brooklyn dedicated to providing preventative care to high-risk Medicaid recipients.
Why business school? Why now? Many careers, including consulting, have a tendency to pigeon-hole employees into a specific role-type, industry, or specialty. An MBA offers an opportunity to break the routine and offer new career paths by instilling versatile skill sets and new, practical experiences.
Why the Michigan Ross Online MBA program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? I decided on part-time programs early in my search because I wanted to continue working while living in NYC. The online program intrinsically offers the flexibility to fit the curriculum around my schedule that even weekend or evening programs cannot. It was also important to me to have an integrated network, which is very difficult to establish in part-time programs. To this point, I considered several schools and none had the infectious spirit and dedication to community that Michigan Ross did. I am excited to receive a world-class education designed to augment my career while letting me continue it.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your MBA class? What differentiates me are my experiences working at one of the world’s largest consulting firms as well as a young start-up primed for hyper-growth. I’ve bridged business and technical disciplines for my entire career and look forward to sharing my insights with my classmates.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? I’ve traveled to 25 countries, mostly in Asia.
Post-MBA career interests? I would like to continue working with technology with more emphasis on strategy to help organizations scale and improve.
Advice to Prospective MBA Applicants:
One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? It was incredibly helpful for me to speak with current students in the part-time program. After sharing their work and school experiences, they also advised me on navigating the application process and establishing a work-school-life balance. They were so helpful that I signed up to be a student ambassador to pass it forward!
One thing you would change or do differently? The second time I approached the GMAT, I believe I would have benefitted from taking a class instead of continuing to self-study. Most folks will improve on their second attempt as they become more comfortable with the test format, but they must make sure to switch up their approach in order to better highlight and address weak points.
Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? Easily the GMAT. It’s daunting exam that requires absorbing a vast amount of material and lots of repetition. My advice: book the test date when you start studying and work backwards as to not draw out the process.
Greatest highlight so far at the Michigan Ross? My greatest highlight was completing the first class while balancing a brand new job and moving to a new city at the same time. It wasn’t easy, but definitely gave me a sense of accomplishment and growth in several areas of my life.
One thing about the Michigan Ross that you didn’t expect before arriving? I was surprised by the level of interaction in the synchronous sessions despite being virtual! The professors conduct lectures from what seems like a TNT halftime studio with an open space and all of our webcam feeds on the TV behind them. This, combined with the breakout sessions, is really helpful to bring collaboration and active participation despite not being there in person.
Thing you were most anxious about in your first year? I was definitely anxious about keeping up with a challenging curriculum while working full-time. Luckily, I felt supported by Ross, my job, and my family/friends as I made the adjustment. Over the course of the first class, I learned how to be more effective with my time and set myself up for success.
Thing you were most excited about in your first year? I am really excited about the first immersive weekend so that I can visit campus, meet the rest of my cohort and professors, and fully dive into the Michigan community. Go Blue!