Q&A: MBASA president Ravi Maniar

Get to know MBA Student Association (MBASA) president Ravi Maniar (MBA ’16). 

Why did you decide to pursue your MBA?

Ravi Maniar (MBA '16)

Ravi Maniar (MBA ’16)

In my previous role working as a navigator on board Merchant Marine ships, I felt my impact on society was very limited. I decided to get an MBA to broaden the impact I can have on society.

I am inspired by the bottom of the pyramid strategy – research by Dr. C.K. Prahlad and Stuart Hart shows that sustainable innovations for the bottom of the pyramid market will widely affect the environment we live in.

I think consumer health care can make a huge difference in quality of life, especially in emerging markets. For this reason, I chose to intern in the consumer health care field at GlaxoSmithKline. Someday, I would love to start a for-profit social impact venture in the consumer health care field. 

What separates UNC Kenan-Flagler from other business schools?

UNC Kenan-Flagler stood out to me because of the students and how they help each other. I heard the word “collaborative” across schools, but this is where I felt it. The professors at UNC Kenan-Flagler are extremely approachable and helpful. On multiple occasions, I have enjoyed chats with professors over coffee, lunch, dinner or drinks. As an international student, the diversity of the School made me feel like I belonged – more so than any other school. 

What is your favorite memory from first year?

Diwali MBA - blog

MBA students celebrating Diwali. (Photo by Alex Pak, MBA ’16)

I planned a Diwali party to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights. My fellow Indian classmates got together to help me plan the party, and we invited all of our classmates to the festivities. Almost half of our class attended – people from many different cultures were represented. Most of them turned up wearing Indian clothes and everyone completely embraced the culture. That moment, when we were all together having fun, was amazing. We were like a family. 

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first year?

“Right from day one, think about how you are going to leave your legacy. Think about what you will leave behind at UNC Kenan-Flagler to make this place better.”Ravi Maniar (MBA '16)
In the MBA program, you can be who you want to be. You can aspire to things and actually achieve them if you work hard enough.

To my knowledge there had never been an international student elected as MBASA president, but that did not stop me from aspiring to be the president and run in the elections. I believed in it. I worked hard for it, and it happened. If you really want to make an impact, you will get a chance to do that at UNC Kenan-Flagler – but you should want it strongly. 

Why did you run for MBASA president?

Ravi Maniar (MBA '16)

Ravi Maniar (MBA ’16)

This is the first real collegial environment I have studied in. I felt that I wanted to make this bond last forever and be like a family here. I really want to push the envelope and do everything I can to improve the student experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler, especially for every international student who leaves their family and travels to the U.S. I want them to have the best experience they’ve ever had in their lives. 

What advice do you have for incoming MBA students?

As a student, the experience you have is completely your choice. You can sit back and not make the most of it or you can jump right in, be involved and get the most out of your MBA experience – academic knowledge, leadership and teamwork skills.

“These will be the best two years of your life.”Ravi Maniar (MBA '16)
The latter two are the things employers want. You may forget your academics, but you will never forget your leadership and teamwork experiences because they build you as a person. It is critically important to step up and be involved.

Come with an open mind culturally. You will be working with lots of different people from different cultures and you will learn from all of them. Be open and receptive to all of the new experiences and be prepared for a roller coaster ride. It will seem busy and it will seem crazy, but these will be the best two years of your life.

Right from day one, think about how you are going to leave your legacy. Think about what you will leave behind at UNC Kenan-Flagler to make this place better. 

What is your definition of success?

I measure my success by the success of people around me. If people I live with, work with and exist with succeed in what they want to do and I can help them do that, then I am successful.

What are three things we wouldn’t know about you from reading your resume or LinkedIn profile?

  • I am an avid motorcyclist. I spent two months in the Himalayas on a motorcycle, just to be close to nature.
  • I have worked in pirate-infested waters. When I was in the merchant marines, I was on a midnight watch and we saw skiffs coming across the water. They weren’t coming up on the radar, but I could see the pirates and they were coming fast. We had no weapons. I raised the alarm and got the captain up, and we maneuvered away from them.
  • I spent six months working for a nonprofit that aids the mentally disabled. I feel very strongly for people with these disabilities because I’ve worked very closely with them. They are among the most discriminated people in the world.