The Booth Experience team had the chance to sit down with incoming Graduate Business Council (GBC) President, Kanav Gupta to hear more about his background and his goals for Booth.
Can you tell us a bit about you and your background before Booth?
I grew up in India and studied mechanical engineering as my undergrad. After that, I joined Kearney as a management consultant, which exposed me to different industries, geographies, and diverse cultures. My time at Kearney helped me grow both personally and professionally. I always wanted to pursue an international MBA, and Kearney sponsored me to attend the Booth School of Business. Despite having global exposure, at heart, I am still the boy from Punjab who used to cycle to school through the mustard and wheat fields, dreaming about achieving big things in life.
Why did you choose Booth?
The first time I told my mentor that I want to pursue an international MBA, he gave me a list of five schools and asked me to read their websites and come up with my preferences. A week later, my answer was Booth and the reasons haven’t changed since. The school’s focus on giving students the ability to create their own path through the flexible curriculum was particularly appealing to me. I wanted the freedom to pursue my interests and develop my skills in a way that best suited me. Additionally, the “Chicago Approach” of using analytical rigor and data-driven decision-making resonated with my engineering and consulting background. I was also impressed with the diverse student body and the collaborative and supportive culture at Booth.
Why did you decide to run for Booth’s GBC President?
I decided to run for GBC president for several reasons. Firstly, I had a great experience serving as a student representative during my undergraduate studies. It was an opportunity to make a difference, and I enjoyed being able to help my fellow students. So, when I got to know about the chance to run for student president at Booth, I knew it was something I wanted to do.
Secondly, I wanted to leave my mark on the institution and help it grow further. As a student, I faced some problems myself when I came here a few months back, and didn’t want to be the one complaining. Instead, I wanted to become an agent of change and help make things better for everyone. It was a chance to be proactive and take action, rather than just sitting on the sidelines.
As a minority at Booth, I also recognized the importance of representation. I wanted to be a voice for those who might not always have one and help make the institution more inclusive and diverse. I saw this as an opportunity to serve the larger community and help make a positive impact on the institution as a whole.
I knew that running for student president was going to be a big responsibility, but it was also an exciting opportunity to make a real difference. And I am ready for the challenge.
Tell us about your teammates?
Mike, Laura, Katie, Elise, and Menbi are extremely driven and action-oriented leaders. Their passion for improving life at Booth is both humbling and inspiring. Each and every one of them has set personal goals for themselves for the change they want to drive at Booth and as a group, we keep each other accountable. On top of that, they are all extremely enterprising yet grounded individuals. We understand that we have mountains to move, but if someone could do it, it is these people. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.
What are you hoping to achieve during your time leading GBC?
As a slate, we have several goals that we hope to achieve during our time in the office. One of the key things that we want to focus on is breaking down the silos that exist within the student community. We’ve noticed that people tend to form groups and don’t always get the chance to meet and interact with others outside of those groups. We want to change that by organizing different programming and events that bring students from different backgrounds and fields of study together. Additionally, we want to take the cohort cup further through increased engagement from all students.
Another area that we want to focus on is helping international students. As someone who has experienced the challenges of being an international student myself, I want to ensure that other international students have the support they need to succeed. Specifically, we want to help get visa sponsorships for students wishing to startup here in the US. Additionally, we want to make the New Venture Challenge accessible to 1Y internationals who were left hanging by the sudden change in rules this year despite getting selected. Further, we want to connect students with more companies that sponsor international students in niche domains. We also want to help students find on-campus jobs so that they can earn some extra money while studying.
Ultimately, our goal as the GBC executive board is to make sure that every student at our institution has the support they need to thrive academically, socially, and professionally. We believe that by working together and supporting each other, we can achieve great things and create a vibrant and inclusive student community.
What do you love most about Booth?
“Never be the smartest person in the room. You will end up learning nothing.” – this was the advice given to me by a Partner at Kearney very early in my career. Not once have I been the smartest person in any discussion with Boothies. Be it the group work for classes or meetings with my slate or with other GBC members. The people here are so accomplished and down to earth. I have been learning from everyone around me since the day I arrived and have really broadened my horizons from the multi-cultural exposure I got as a student here.