22 Jan 2018
The First Five Years: ‘30 Under 30’ EditionForbes
recently honored three young HBS alumni. We check in to see what they’re up to.Topics:
In this special “First Five Years” post, three alumni recently named to the Forbes 2018 “30 Under 30” list—Jeet Guram (MBA 2015), Meghana Dhar (MBA 2016), and Shiv Gaglani (MBA 2016)—talk careers, HBS, and why a strategy of procrastinating can be a good thing.
How did you find out you had been named to the 2018 “30 Under 30?”
Jeet Guram: “Via an email from Forbes, which I opened right away.”
Meghana Dhar: “Friends started texting me and posting on my Facebook page the morning it was announced—it was a delightful surprise!”
Shiv Gaglani: “I learned I was nominated and a finalist during my honeymoon in Costa Rica, and then two weeks later I received an email from Randall Lane, editor at Forbes, welcoming me to the class of 2018.”
Jeet Guram (MBA 2015)
Meghana Dhar (MBA 2016)
Shiv Gaglani (MBA 2016)
What does this honor mean to you both personally and professionally?
Jeet Guram (MBA 2015)
Meghana Dhar (MBA 2016)
Shiv Gaglani (MBA 2016)
Guram: “Clearly it means that I should continue my strategy of procrastinating right up to a deadline; I turn 30 in May. But on a serious note, to me it means that people believe that the work that my colleagues and I are doing is important. It’s a vote of confidence for us to keep pushing forward in our efforts to improve America’s healthcare system.”
Dhar: “Any recognition of your hard work is gratifying and exciting. For me, it's a push to keep doing what I love: e-commerce and retail.”
Gaglani: “I am most excited about what it means for the Osmosis team (Editor's note: Shiv is cofounder and CEO of Osmosis) and the work we are collectively doing to improve how we educate current and future health care professionals. This recognition would not have been possible without the contributions of dozens of our teammates, from our animators to our engineers. It’s also been nice to hear from so many of our advisors, investors, and alma maters, including HBS, who have reached out since the announcement.”
Can you tell us about your current work?
Guram: “I advise Seema Verma, the administrator, or head, of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is the government agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid, programs that provide health insurance to more than one in three Americans. Due to our size, our actions impact the entire health care system. I collect input for the administrator from stakeholders on the front lines of medicine, work with our leadership team to design our strategy, and then partner with staff across the agency to execute on our priorities.”
Dhar: “Most recently, I ran the store-in-store business at b8ta, which drove about 60 percent of the company's revenue. My job involved everything from sourcing retail partners to ideating and negotiating the deals. I'd also execute on the look and feel of the physical store post-deal. It was a hands-on management role and I absolutely loved the high-intensity nature of my day-to-day. I'm excited to share that I recently joined Facebook to help bring retail onto the social media platform.”
Gaglani: “We are on a mission to educate the world’s health professionals. There are clinician shortages across the professions and globe, from primary care physicians in West Virginia to frontline health workers in Rwanda, and these shortages are expected to grow from 7.2 million globally in 2013 to 12.9 million by 2035. Our clear and concise educational videos—most of which are freely available on YouTube and Wikipedia, as well as our personalized learning platform—provide a strong didactic foundation for trainees so that they can more efficiently learn and retain information as they enter the clinical environment.”
How do you use what you learned at HBS in this work?
Guram: “My health care classes provided me with incredibly valuable background information about the different components of the US health care system. And more broadly, class discussion under the case method helped me learn when to jump into a debate, and what kinds of evidence to use to be most effective in different situations—skills I draw on when advising the administrator on whether to support or oppose a policy.”
Dhar: “HBS figures into my day-to-day constantly, whether it be referencing old finance models or discussing strategic frameworks. I find myself using courses that taught us about EQ and people management the most on a daily basis. Classes like ALD and Founder's Dilemma helped me understand my own leadership better and cultivate ‘management languages’ that optimize for both my own and my employees' strengths.”
What is your favorite HBS case and why?
Gaglani:“One that I find myself referencing frequently is on Polyface and the way it focused on economies of scope versus traditional industrial farming, which leverages economies of scale. It opened my eyes to both an industry I was unfamiliar with––agriculture––as well as a concept that will be important for sustainability moving forward. I also have used it as an example to educate some of our team, advisors, and investors about economies of scope and how we can leverage them to produce more value for our users and, in the process, increase our customer lifetime value (e.g., our successful decision to repurpose our video content into textbooks).”
Guram: “I remember that the TOM case on Cincinnati Children’s Hospital was really interesting. It brought up a question that I’ve come across several times since then, including at CMS: which processes in health care should we try to standardize, versus which ones should be allowed to vary?”
Who was your favorite HBS professor?
Dhar:“Shikhar Ghosh. Professor Ghosh had an incredible way of building life lessons into his curriculum. Though ostensibly he taught us about entrepreneurship, Professor Ghosh explored difficult and personal topics with us in his classes, such as depression and failure in the framework of being a leader. He encouraged us to share our stories and extrapolated from them on how best to lead and manage. Many of us joked that after our weekly two-hour class with Professor Ghosh, we felt like we had gone to church and confession for the week.”
Guram:“Regina Herzlinger. Her belief in the power of entrepreneurship and market innovation to improve health care comes through in her teaching, her writing, and her convening of students and alumni from around the world who are excited about health care.”
Gaglani: “Many left a great impression on me. I am biased though, since a few HBS professors and staff have since become angel investors in Osmosis. These professors include Jeff Bussgang, John Kim, and Mark Roberge—all of whom also taught excellent courses that have influenced my work. In addition, I have really appreciated the work of the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and in particular Jodi Gernon, who has introduced me to many helpful people. My section professors also have a special place in my education journey, in particular Joshua Margolis, Shikhar Ghosh, Meg Rithmire, and Michael Toffel.”
What did you enjoy doing at HBS when you weren’t studying?
Dhar: “Two words—Shad Hall!”
Guram: “Safari dinner parties were really fun, I hope those still happen. Everyone would break into groups and dress up as safari animals—or some other costume, depending on the theme. Half the groups would stay put in apartments and cook, and the other half would travel from apartment to apartment for a big rotating dinner party.”
What advice do you have for current HBS students interested in pursuing a career in your field?
Guram: “If you’re interested in health care, take all the HBS health care courses. There are, I think, two schools of thought on this: 1) Don’t take any health care classes because you’ll be in this field for the rest of your career so use the chance to learn something different, and 2) Take all the health care you can because it’s a complicated field and you can learn from experts at HBS. I followed the second path and it’s one I recommend.”
Dhar: “Never give up and continue to be resourceful: scrappiness and grit have gotten me some of my best opportunities. And don't be shy to leverage the HBS network—it's amazing and we're all here for you!”
Gaglani: “I balanced HBS coursework with running my company, which was challenging but a great way to apply principles I was learning in the classroom to real issues I had some control over. I highly recommend taking advantage of valuable resources such as the Rock Center, i-Lab, and neighboring schools.”
Can you finish this statement? “My HBS experience was…”
Guram: “….transformative. I’m so grateful to have been able to attend and get to know and become friends with such an incredible group of classmates.”
Dhar: “…truly transformational. Thank you, HBS.”
Gaglani: “…incredibly valuable to my current work as well as to my personal development.”
Class of MBA 2015, Section H
Class of MBA 2017, Section J
Class of MBA 2016, Section B