2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Kabir Mulchandani, University of Maryland (Smith)

Kabir Mulchandani

University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business

Age: 48

Empathetic leader and mentor who strives to make an impact and to drive extraordinary results.”

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

Family Members: Wife and a set of teenage twins (son and daughter)

Fun fact about yourself: I am an avid squash player. I competed for four years on the University of Rochester varsity squad, including as team captain. I later competed in local leagues and tournaments and became an avid runner.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of Rochester, Dual Degree – B.A., Economics and Management of Information Systems

University of Maryland University College, M.S., Technology Management: Information Systems and Services Specialization

Where are you currently working? Managing Director, Global Cybersecurity Managed Service and Asia-Pacific Security Consulting at Synopsys Inc., Herndon, Virginia.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) and as an Information System Auditor (CISA) and Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Mentor, Meliora Collective, University of Rochester Alumni Network 2020-present
  • President, Asian American Business Resource Group (Deloitte), 2008-10
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2008-11
  • Treasurer, Clarksville Elementary School, 2010-11
  • Volunteer, Community Action Council of Howard County, 2013-2016

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I contributed to an initiative involving Agromovil, an app-based platform supporting small-scale agriculture, to develop and launch a pilot aimed at small farmers in the Delaware-Maryland-DC-Virginia area – to connect with new buyers, sell direct, and find optimized transport. Learning about an industry that I had very limited knowledge of was a very enriching experience. I learned a lot from my team members who came from very diverse backgrounds. I was able to leverage my entrepreneurial and technology background to contribute to and develop detailed recommendations for the startup to expand into a new region.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Just a few months before starting my EMBA, I moved from a customer-facing role in my company to an operational management leadership role — assuming responsibility for our global-managed services business. It was a big change. Not only did I have a large and new team to manage, but I also was responsible for transforming the business from a cost center to a profit center. Within a little over a year, and while tackling the challenges of the pandemic, I was able to successfully transform the organization and drive positive results in terms of both revenue and efficiency (the latter by more than 25%). My experiences at Maryland Smith enabled me to lead with confidence, manage a team of high performing individuals, and inspired me to create and execute a clear vision and strategy.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I chose Smith’s EMBA program because of its focus on leadership skills as well as its strong academic curriculum. Of particular interest for me were the “Mastery Sessions” that focused on executive leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, communication skills, and teamwork. These faculty-led sessions engaged my cohort in half-day, deep-dives into such areas as constructive conflict, how CEOs succeed, teamwork, cross cultural management, mindfulness, negotiations, and executive presence. The broader program also provided one-on-one executive coaching that was very appealing for me. 

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? At Maryland Smith we have been encouraged to “Lead Fearlessly” – a concept that has resonated strongly with me and represented the biggest lesson for me during my MBA. I have both embraced this concept’s principles and applied them at work. This has further enabled me, in transitioning from a customer-facing role to operational-management leadership, to create a vision and focus for my organization, provide clarity on purpose, define specific performance objectives and metrics, and develop a concise execution plan to deliver results. The program at Maryland Smith has taught me to be confident and to lead with conviction and passion. The results are evident in my work and through my team achieving spectacular results in a recovering economy.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Maintaining a full-time job, managing family responsibilities, and doing my EMBA seemed like the ultimate juggling act. However, with seamless support from my family and employer, I was fortunate to avoid any circumstances – even through the pandemic – requiring extra accommodation. I was fortunate to not only have a very supportive family but also an outstanding cohort that supported me all throughout. I was also very fortunate to have a great support system at work. This system allowed me to allocate sufficient time to my studies and focus on my classes.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Students looking to enter an executive MBA program should have a clear understanding of purpose and objective in pursuing this degree. Pursuing such a program requires not only a serious commitment at an individual level, but also sacrifices from the student, their family members, and friends. There is a lot of hard work required for success. But if the purpose, intent and commitment are firm, the learning experiences and relationships formed are invaluable. Students should come onto such a program with a sense of curiosity and desire to learn from a set of people with diverse backgrounds.

What was your biggest regret in business school? When I started this program, I was looking forward to the in-person classes and the international project experience. The pandemic put an end to each of these aspirations. My biggest regret was missing out on the in-person collaboration opportunities and working on an “international” class assignment. However, this regret has been offset by the tremendous bonds that have been formed and become stronger despite the pandemic.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire?Kelley Flynn – Kelley is a confident and articulate leader who is always willing to step up and inspire her team forward. She demonstrates strong leadership skills and is eager to share her experiences and knowledge with the cohort. She has a strong work ethic and a sense of humor that makes her a great motivator and leader. She demonstrates the core values of leading fearlessly!

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? Before selecting a program, my goal was to develop my executive leadership and strategic thinking capabilities while strengthening my knowledge of advanced business concepts. I wanted to select a program that would allow me to collaborate and interact with a group of seasoned leaders and executives that would contribute to my learning and development. The structure and curriculum of the Maryland Smith EMBA was an excellent match for my goals and objectives.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to be a leader in an organization, committed to integrity and excellence, while making a positive social impact. I aspire to continue to support the advancement of technology in solving complex business problems. I would also like to continue to further my role in coaching and mentoring others to be successful in their careers.

What made Kabir such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Kabir Mulchandani is the gold standard among executives who are fearless leaders. Kabir’s entrepreneurial vision inspired his classmates to join his startup in the entrepreneurship action learning project in the Maryland Smith EMBA program. Once assembled, he inspired this group to work as a team and create something bold, creative, and innovative.  Kabir was able to leverage each person’s strengths so that they were engaged and in sync with each other.  Kabir led by example though hard work, humility, and ambition.  Moreover, with the help of his team, he was able to integrate the concepts across the EMBA curriculum and show why entrepreneurship requires a holistic approach.”

Joseph P. Bailey
Research Professor, University of Maryland’ Robert H. Smith School of Business


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