Pragnya Pendyala has always loved numbers. As a child, her father gave her bills and accounts to file, so it was perhaps a natural step that she would study to become a chartered accountant.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce from Osmania University and completing her Chartered Accountancy from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Pragnya joined Deloitte and was soon promoted to Deputy Manager. But after few years, she started to get demotivated and lost interest. She wanted to learn something new and move into a role where she could have a bigger impact on society. She decided to take a break and reassess her career to move into strategy consulting.
“What interested me were the analytical processes – figuring out what happened and giving insights to the client,” she said.
Hoping to hone her general management skills, Pragnya was attracted to IMD because of its strong focus on leadership and unique structure that would allow her to understand herself as a person better. The relatively small class size and the fact the program takes only one year were also significant draws.
When she arrived in Lausanne in January, it was the first time Pragnya had ever lived and worked away from her home city of Hyderabad in southern India. While the first few weeks were daunting, she quickly made friends and was surprised by the warmth she received from her fellow classmates, especially those she worked with on her startup project.
So far, a standout moment was during the experiential week in January, where students were put in uncomfortable situations to see their reactions. “For me, it was really insightful to understand myself and see how different personalities impacted the team’s performance,” she said.
A further highlight was the Personal Development Elective (PDE), where students receive 20 individual sessions with a psychoanalyst. “Every week, I learn something new about myself,” she said. “These sessions challenge me to think about how and why I react in a certain manner and my analyst asks questions that really help me understand myself better.”
As a result of this greater awareness and the daily interactions with her MBA class – made up of 104 students from 39 nationalities – her career aspirations have also evolved. “Every time I talk with someone, I learn something new, about what they did in the past, or the country they came from. This inspires me a lot.”