Sarita Nayyar

"They were truly supportive, not only in a financial sense but also in an emotional sense."

After obtaining her MBA from one of the top management institutes in India, 1986 CEW+ Scholar Sarita Nayyar moved to Ann Arbor in 1984 accompanying her husband. The couple had moved to the United States in order for Sarita’s husband to pursue his fully-funded Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Sarita’s plan was to resume her career, but when that wasn’t possible due to her visa status, she decided to earn an MBA at the Ross School of Business at the suggestion of the late U-M Professor C. K. Prahalad. Without knowing exactly how she would pay the tuition for the MBA, she applied and was accepted. Due to the status of her student visa, Sarita could work only at the U-M. She hunted down jobs within the U-M community and at one time held 5 part-time positions simultaneously. Throughout her time as a student, she worked in a student-led consulting group and became both a teaching assistant and a research assistant. She was also a residential community assistant in North Campus housing. These jobs brought her in contact with the diverse and vibrant community in and around U-M.

Sarita first came into contact with CEW+ as she searched for scholarships to help pay for her studies at the Ross School of Business. Once accepted as a CEW+ Scholar, she attended a few CEW+ events and learned that the Center was run by women who wanted to help international students like herself. They were truly supportive, not only in a financial sense but also in an emotional sense. As she rapidly adapted to a completely new environment, Sarita at first found it hard being without many family and friends she had back home. But, her resolve to pursue her career via a U-M MBA, drove her to juggle a busy schedule and overcome any obstacles. The Center’s support was essential to help pay for her course books, professional clothing, and tuition. She graduated in 1987 with an MBA with Distinction.

Sarita went on to develop a successful twenty-year career within marketing and general management at Kraft Foods (Now Mondelez). She joined the World Economic Forum in 2007 and today is on its Managing Board. Looking back at her experience at the University of Michigan, Sarita encourages students to use their time to explore different areas of study and take full advantage of the wide variety of opportunities offered at U-M. She states that students at U-M are in a relatively safe environment to stretch themselves and try as many things as possible in order to discover their dreams and passions before stepping into the workforce and making their mark on the world.


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