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MBA Program Alumni Profile and Spotlight: Prathap Gangadhar

"With proper training, persistence and commitment, anything is achievable."

Prathap Gangadhar, MBA '09

Prathap Gangadhar, MBA '09
Bangalore, India

An undergraduate degree in engineering prepared Prathap Gangadhar, MBA ’09 for a successful career in software development. But after working for many years in the technology sector, he sought a faster-paced environment – one that was people-centric and that would help him see the world from a much broader perspective. At Brandeis International Business School (IBS), he found the perfect fit for his personal and professional aspirations, learning from a faculty with a reputation for academic excellence while expanding his horizons through the school’s international curriculum and community. 

Since graduating, Prathap has made smart decisions to keep his career moving forward, shifting from a small brokerage firm to John Hancock to his current role at Liberty Mutual Investments, where he works as a senior investment strategy and risk analyst. 

Tell us the motivation behind getting your MBA and where that paid off most.

In getting my MBA, I wanted to understand the planning and strategy that goes into a business and to be part of the overall decision-making process. I also wanted a chance to refocus and reinvent myself. In the program, learning from the students around me was critical. Surrounded by people with a variety of professional and life experiences, I was challenged, motivated and inspired on a daily basis. Working on team projects and events with classmates from multicultural backgrounds helped me to think globally and to develop the ability to adapt resourcefully. The network of friends and colleagues I now have, even many years after graduation, is a testament to the excellent program and inclusive culture at Brandeis IBS. 

What lessons do you carry with you from your time at Brandeis IBS?

It is essential to be able to adapt in order to be an effective leader. I learned this by participating in group projects and by leading clubs with diverse classmates, and in a fast-paced and constantly evolving investment industry, it has helped me become more productive while working with both internal team members and external clients. 

Tell us more about your current job. What makes it both interesting and challenging?

My team is responsible for various investment portfolio and risk management activities that include developing strategic and tactical asset allocation scenarios, portfolio risk analysis, asset/liability modeling and building analytical tools to help formulate investment strategies across our multi-asset class portfolios. My current work entails building complex models that analyze the risk and impact of various stress scenarios on our portfolios, helping to answer “What if?” questions that will result in enhanced economic returns and enable us to improve portfolio management. Given the low-yield environment, helping to navigate through a constantly changing investment landscape is extremely rewarding and challenging. 

How do you define success?

It’s about being able to accomplish small wins on a regular basis and to celebrate the progress. There is something powerful about visibly seeing progress toward our goal. When you start small and build momentum, you can use that to work toward the next win, and the one after that, and so on until there is a significant breakthrough. As a bonus, the act of positively reinforcing your own success allows you to reap more enjoyment and satisfaction out of the process.

What advice do you have for current Brandeis IBS MBA students?

I am an avid runner and believe that running a marathon is the greatest metaphor for life. Running has taught me about persistence and commitment and has shown me that with proper training, anything is achievable. The solid technical foundation and creative problem solving techniques that I obtained through my education have been the primary driver for my professional accomplishments to date. However, I have learned through my experience that to take that to the next level, to become respected at work, it is vital to build your personal brand and to be very clear about the unique value you provide to help the team or company’s mission.