Three Indian-Origin Students Named Leadership Fellows at Harvard Business School

Top Row: Sarika Mendu, Leonardo Leal, Alexxis Isaac, Rebecca Hansen, Andrew Baxter, Wendy Ying Middle Row: Sam Fell, Mimi Disipio, Akash Gupta, Christine Keung, Mikal Lewis, Ratnika Prasad Bottom Row: Liz Su, Perri Smith, Jade Enns, Mark Molewyk, Stefanie McDermott

BOSTON—Three Indian-origin students have been named 2020-2021 Leadership Fellows at Harvard Business School. They are: Akash Gupta, Sarika Mendu and Ratnika Prasad.

The Leadership Fellows Program at Harvard Business School (HBS) is based on University Professor Michael Porter’s vision of developing a network of HBS graduates with cross-sector experience who are committed to addressing societal issues throughout their careers.

The fellowship is a two-way commitment in which graduating students are offered once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to experience high-impact management positions in nonprofit and public sector organizations for one year at a competitive salary. At the same time, the hiring organizations leverage the experience, energy, and strategic and analytical skills of MBAs in roles that produce immediate results and build long-term capacity.

Since its inception in 2001, the Leadership Fellows Program has placed 240 fellows at organizations such as the City of Boston Mayor’s Office, Harlem Children’s Zone, Mercy Corps, Whitney Museum of Art, World Wildlife Fund, and the U.S. Department of Education.

“The HBS Leadership Fellows Program offers a special opportunity for a group of highly talented graduating MBAs to work in and also to observe the workings of the leadership team in front-line organizations involved in social change,” notes Herman B. (“Dutch”) Leonard, the Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the George F. Baker Jr. Professor of Public Sector Management at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “Having a chance at this early stage in their careers to work with CEOs and senior executives in these important organizations and to make a meaningful and measurable impact on some of society’s most challenging social problems can materially influence their personal and professional choices for their whole lifetime.”

Whether fellows stay on with their sponsoring organizations, move to another social enterprise, enter the private sector, or launch their own new venture, past participants agree that the Leadership Fellows Program is critical to their ongoing development as leaders who make a difference in the world.

The 2020-21 HBS Leadership Fellows will work at a wide range of organizations across fields like education, healthcare, impact investing, and the public sector. They are as follows:

ANDREW BAXTER, Environmental Defense Fund
MIMI DISIPIO, Whitney Museum of American Art
JADE ENNS, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
SAM FELL, Sesame Workshop
AKASH GUPTA, Juilliard School
REBECCA HANSEN, Boston Planning and Development Agency
ALEXXIS ISAAC, City of Boston, Mayor’s Office
CHRISTINE KEUNG, City of San Jose, Mayor’s Office
LEO LEAL, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
MIKAL LEWIS, Connecticut Governor’s Office
STEFANIE MCDERMOTT, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
SARIKA MENDU, City of Detroit, Mayor’s Office
RATNIKA PRASAD, Environmental Defense Fund
PERRI SMITH, Boston Medical Center
ELIZABETH SU, Boston Children’s Hospital

Hear from the fellows in their own words about why they are excited about their upcoming opportunities.


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