When Raj Ratnakar, WG’05, began Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives, he was an entrepreneur running a successful software business in Kansas City. His primary goal coming to Wharton was to learn about best business practices and gain skills that he could use to grow his company.
He chose Wharton for its reputation and rigorous curriculum. “I’ve known about Wharton as a top business school since I was a child in India. While I did look at other EMBA programs, they just did not compare. Wharton is the only EMBA program that offers the same MBA curriculum and breadth of learning options as the full-time program,” he said.
Since graduation, Raj’s career has accelerated in a new direction. He explained: “I wanted to apply the strategic and analytic tools I gained at Wharton to something bigger than my business. So, I sold my company and joined McKinsey’s telecom and tech practice, where I helped global corporations with problems in strategy, marketing and sales, M&A, and private equity.”
Four years later, he became head of strategy at Tyco Electronics and later joined Danaher (a $20B revenue conglomerate), as vice president of strategy and M&A. At Danaher, he was responsible for driving portfolio transformation. He led the effort to spin-off the industrial portions of Danaher into a separate NYSE-listed company called Fortive. He shaped the strategy for the newly created spin-off and led portfolio moves into faster growing markets in Industrial Software and Medical Technologies, delivering best-in-class stock market performance.
He recently took on his current role of chief strategy officer for DuPont, just as the company is getting ready to spin-off as a new entity. He will be responsible for driving organic growth, portfolio evolution, and best-in-class operating system for the company.
“Wharton made all the difference in my career,” Raj said. “Without Wharton’s EMBA program, I wouldn’t be in this position. My Wharton MBA gave me a solid business foundation and opened doors to new opportunities.”
Since graduation, Raj has been returning to campus several times a year to mentor current EMBA students and engage with the School. “When I was a student, I was not clear on career possibilities for the long run and how an MBA program would help. I didn’t have a lot of family with successful careers in the U.S. to get advice from. Wharton brought in many business leaders to speak to students throughout the program and hearing their stories was very valuable. I enjoy coming to campus and helping students by telling my story and providing coaching at career mentoring events.”
Raj also attends admissions information receptions, where he shares his experiences at Wharton with prospective applicants. The top two questions he gets at those receptions are:
How has Wharton impacted your career?
“I explain that Wharton has made a huge impact on my career — from the education to the world perspectives to the networks. It was the building block for everything else that I have achieved in my career — it helped me get to where I am today.”
What is the return on investment (ROI)? Is Wharton worth it?
“Nothing is more valuable than education. The ROI is infinite. In addition to the credential on your resume, Wharton gives you the knowledge and tools you need to succeed. You come out significantly richer than when you entered in terms of knowledge, network, and perspectives.”
— Meghan Laska
Posted: June 11, 2019