Journey from rural India to Ivy League

Abhishek Agarwal
2 min readJun 2, 2020

My commitment to developing and using my leadership to make a difference in all areas of my life — professional, academic and in the community — is what matters most to me and has enabled me to bring such significant impact to others at a young age.

Abhishek Agarwal in East Rock, New Haven. Yale University.
Abhishek Agarwal in East Rock, New Haven. Yale University.

Growing up in rural India, I experienced the impact of inadequate infrastructure, limited access to affordable quality care and low-quality healthcare and education services. There were many people who claimed that a child like me, raised in such community could never make it to any college, let alone to IIT, one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Most never advance to higher education. Despite these circumstances, I began to dream big at a young age — a career dream that has become more defined over time. I became determined not only to develop my skills to make a difference in all areas of my life, but also to develop my skills so I could specifically transform access for people around the globe.

With hard work, I became the first among my family to complete college, earning an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur. My academic and leadership successes at IIT opened the door to Unilever’s Future Leaders Program, one of the top leadership programs available in India. I have enjoyed making a difference for others through this work. Last year, I led the launch of a new detergent powder as a brand. It was exciting to oversee a product launch in diverse regions, leveraging and adapting best practices — international experience that would serve me wonderfully in the future. I have learned how to design a product, reach a mass market, and innovate everyday products to help prevent disease and improve people’s health and well-being.

My time at Unilever provided an outstanding example of how to make a great social impact while also making a profit. These experiences form a wonderful foundation for my future career. While my experiences have helped equip me to be a highly influential, pioneering business leader in the future, I want to take some time to cultivate a global network and deepen my business knowledge. I can’t imagine a better place to learn the fundamentals than Yale School of Management.

Around the world, particularly in rural and developing areas, many people lack access to doctors and quality healthcare, and 150 million people per year face catastrophic healthcare costs. I am committed about using my skills to bring significant, positive impact to healthcare, helping to provide access to under-served populations.

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Abhishek Agarwal

Expert in data analytics & AI, driving global-scale platform development. Amazon Sr. Product Manager. Yale MBA. AI/ML leader.