2018 Best EMBAs: Amarpreet Singh, MD, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Amarpreet Singh, MD

U.C.-Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Hard-working, focused, quick learner, not afraid of a challenge.”

Age: 40

Hometown: Napa, CA

Family Members: My wife, Tina, and three sons, Jaivir, Ryan, and Shaan

Fun fact about yourself: I once bought a basket-case motorcycle and learned to rebuild the motor from the ground up.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • Government Medical College, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery)
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, MD, forensic psychiatry
  • State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine (residence, psychiatry)

Where are you currently working? California Department of State Hospitals in Napa, assistant medical director.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Motorcycle enthusiast: I ride, work on, and consult with fellow Royal Enfield Motorcycle owners.

Cricket: Leading wicket taker for The Lumberjacks 2008, Pittsburgh Cricket Association

Awards:

  • National Association of Physics Teachers Award
  • National Talent Search Exam Scholar
  • Merit Scholarship to Medical College
  • Dean’s Fellowship, Haas School of Business

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The “A” I received in data analytics was certainly one of my proudest moments in school. After two decades, I got an opportunity to study advanced math. I was hesitant initially, but I took it on as a challenge and did well. It was very rewarding.

I also arranged a morning of cricket at a country club lawn during the Leadership Communication immersion week.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I co-authored a chapter of the Oxford American Handbook of Psychiatry.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? It’s really hard to pick form such an accomplished and inspiring faculty. Prof. Andy Rose’s passion for Macroeconomics and especially the history of macroeconomics stood apart clearly. His teaching style, where he connected global geopolitical events to basic macroeconomic principles, left a major imprint on the way I now view the world.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Data & Decisions and Macroeconomics were two of my favorite subjects. Whereas D&D helped develop a foundation to separate signal from noise, Macro gave me a new lens to view the world.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I interviewed at a couple of really competitive and sought-after business schools. When I visited Haas, I felt like I belonged here. The students live the Defining Leadership Principles. I met some badass people who were also very humble and helping. That did it for me.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The camaraderie in the cohort was a standout feature. My classmates brought real-life business problems to class, and the cohort took a deep dive with them. The culture was supportive, not competitive. I really enjoyed learning from folks with a wide array of backgrounds and training.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The most successful leaders, in business and otherwise, treat people with respect, even when they fire them. I learned that “Emotional Quotient” is perhaps more important than technical expertise for a leader.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? In the middle of the most intense term, term three, my father needed major surgery. I spent the day in class, and the nights sitting by his bedside. My wife, mom, and sister took turns being with him during the day. I was unable to focus in class, or after. The EMBA program recorded all lectures and made them available for viewing. My friends offered to take copious notes for me and I was able to pull through.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program?

  • Get ready to be pushed to beyond your limits, i.e. rediscover your true limits.
  • Make time in your schedule to read, socialize, and network.
  • Get ready to temporarily sacrifice some time with family and friends. You will end up with new friends who you will call family.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Before starting school, I wondered if I was too old, and if I would be able to keep up with the pace and pressure. It turns out I was not alone in feeling this way—and that I wasn’t too old. Most of my classmates juggled work, family, and school at the same time. I also realized that a lot of my classmates did not have only one desired outcome in mind. They came to explore and were completely open to a truly new career.

What was your biggest regret in business school? More than halfway through, I have not engaged with the career management group as well as I should have. This is something I plan to focus on with the time I have left.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I was lucky enough to have been in the same study group as Jim Griffin. He brought a sense of calm to an otherwise hectic, and sometimes frustrating situation. He is, in a true sense, deep and brief. While he was popularly known as “the math guy,” I found him to be very well rounded academically and interpersonally.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…a few months into my first job I realized I was nothing more than a source of revenue. That’s not the kind of leader I want to be.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…trying to get into business school. Having been in business school I shall admit that there have been a couple of moments when I thought to myself, “Did I really need to put myself through this?” The answer has been easy: “Yes, it’s worth it.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To lead a healthcare system and have a well-balanced work and personal life.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d like to be remembered as someone who got s*** done. That’s the person I try to be.

Favorite book: Man’s Search for Meaning

Favorite movie or television show: Life is Beautiful

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. To spend a week in the Alaskan wilderness.
  2. To learn flying.

What made Amarpreet such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“All students have to balance classwork with other commitments. But Amar Singh takes this to a whole new level. As a full-time doctor and assistant medical director at Napa State Hospital, Amar would sometimes spend the entire night at the hospital, then drive to Berkeley just in time for class. Somehow, with a cup of coffee in hand, he would still manage to ask many of the most insightful comments during class.

It all paid off too, with Amar earning an “A,” one of the very highest grades in the class. Amar is one of those rare students who is deeply curious about life. He often flagged me down after class with additional questions and ideas, and he is clearly highly driven to understand, to contribute “beyond himself,” and to be a “student always,” two of the Haas Defining Leadership Principles.”

Associate Professor Lucas Davis
Haas School of Business

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBA GRADS OF 2018