Featured: Kenny Groszman (MBA ’22, SM ’22)
MIT, Sloan School of Management
Note: I am enrolled in the MIT Leaders for Global Operations program, simultaneously pursuing an MBA and an MS in Operations Research
“Problem solver, prescriptive analytics nerd, crossword puzzle enthusiast, goofball.”
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina (but also Boca Raton, FL and Houston, TX)
Fun fact about yourself: One of the most rewarding projects I have worked on is collaborating with my grandfather to translate two of his books (Holocaust memoirs) from Spanish to English. The life I am able to have would not be possible without the adversity that he and his family overcame to survive.
Undergraduate School and Degree: Rice University, BA Computational and Applied Mathematics
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Boston Consulting Group– Consultant
Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? ResMed—San Diego, CA
Where will you be working after graduation? Currently interviewing. TBD!
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
- Co-Chair, LGO Seminar Committee
- Advisor to LGO Director on student initiatives
- Drummer for Rolling Sloans (MIT Sloan student rock band)
- Recipient of Jeff A. Wilke Fellowship
- Developed a routing optimization algorithm for non-profit Lasagna Love
- Implemented an interpretable machine learning framework to identify factors leading to Salmonella immune resistance, currently in pre-publication
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my work with the Lasagna Love, a non-profit that helps match hungry families with volunteer chefs who deliver them a warm and healthy dinner. The manual process they were using to match volunteer chefs to in-need families had become a full-time job for 10+ volunteers, and this was only getting worse as the organization grew. I worked with two classmates on an algorithm to make these pairings rapidly and optimally, and they were able to integrate the algorithm into their workflow. As a result, the organization was able to scale into several new countries and delivered over 100,000 meals in 2021. It was so rewarding to use my passion for prescriptive analytics to make a real difference.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At BCG, I led the development of an optimization product to help a large airline deal with schedule disruptions while minimizing customer impact. As a frequent flier myself, I am delighted that the product helps reduce customer delays by over 20% and is still used to this day. But on a more personal note, the project was an opportunity to learn from a team of wonderful and talented colleagues, data scientists, and clients. We had our share of roadblocks along the way, but launching the product and watching it help passengers made it all worthwhile.
Why did you choose this business school? My passion is at the intersection of prescriptive analytics and impactful business problems. MIT Sloan has the only program in the world where I can dive so deeply into both of these topics. The opportunity to take optimization and ML classes at MIT’s renowned Operations Research Center is unparalleled; and getting to do that while taking advantage of all that the MBA experience at Sloan has to offer is a dream come true. It also helps to be part of the wonderful LGO community, and my 45 classmates have become some of my best friends in the world.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Our MBA experience was quite non-traditional with COVID running rampant for the entirety of my time at Sloan. During the pandemic, it was very easy to default to socialization with my 45 (amazing) LGO classmates. Although these are some of my favorite people in the world, I wish I had also devoted energy into branching out into the great communities within and the Operations Research Center.
What is the biggest myth about your school? I do not know what stereotypes are out there about Sloan—maybe that we are all math nerds because we are at MIT? I certainly am, but I would not say that this holds true about the general community. The Sloan community is comprised of hundreds of wonderful people with diverse interests and aspirations, who also love to have fun (whether that means going out dancing or board games, or in my case both). There’s a community here for everyone.
What surprised you the most about business school? Perhaps this shows my lack of foresight, but I have been surprised that the biggest challenge in business school is learning to say “no”. There are countless opportunities to get involved in clubs, take more classes, go on trips, start businesses, plan conferences, or just hang out with friends. Yet, there are only 24 hours in a day and only 2 years of business school. Prioritizing my time based on what I want out of my MBA has been a major learning from my time in business school.
What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? This is hard to answer without peering behind the scenes in the admissions office, but I think what really helped me was articulating a very clear (and genuine) story and value proposition—what do I want to do with my life, how will the LGO program help me get there, and how I can contribute to the program and the school during my two years.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is the toughest question of all, since there are so many amazing and talented people I have met in my time at Sloan. If I am required to pick one, I will talk about Yu Huang, a fellow classmate in the LGO program. Yu is so unabashedly herself: a generous friend, a trusted leader, and a treasure chest of unique and amazing perspectives that make everyone around her a better person. I am so grateful for her friendship.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Many people helped steer me onto this path, and I am so grateful for all of their advice. The most salient conversation that pushed me to apply to business school was one with Mike Lewis, a mentor and friend in the BCG Houston office. He helped me identify what really energizes me: (1) solving problems with analytics and (2) helping people. With that framing, I realized that the best way to solve the largest problems and to help the most people is not as a specialist mathematician, but rather as a business leader who is “fluent” in mathematics but also in business and change management. That’s what brought me to the LGO program to pursue both of these topics.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- Lead an analytics organization to revolutionize and streamline a company’s operations.
- Build a product from scratch that uses prescriptive analytics to solve a large problem with societal impact (inefficiency in logistics / airlines, improving public transport, managing fleets of autonomous vehicles).
How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? First, COVID has shattered some stereotypies about what it takes to accomplish one’s career goals. Because of the innovations that came about during the pandemic, I have experienced that it is possible to succeed in a work environment remotely. Because of that, I am much more likely to prioritize living in a location that is best for me personally, versus just a location that happens to be where my company is located. Secondly, it has reinforced my belief in innovation as a driver of change. Change is hard, and one will always encounter resistance in implementing something new and innovative. However, COVID gave us a great case study in the importance of innovating quickly and in the impact that innovation can have. It is certain that without outside-the-box thinking and perseverance to overcome hurdles and resistance, the toll of the pandemic would have been much worse. I want to ensure that I bring this lens with me wherever I go in my career.
What made Kenny such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“Kenny Groszman co-chaired the LGO Seminar committee for LGO course 15.792 – required for all LGO student’s curriculum. His leadership revitalized this weekly speaker series with purposeful focus on impactful themes and developed a playbook of collected insights gathered from the class to take forward in reflection on the lessons learned. Kenny is also a supportive and trusted peer, who consistently and professionally represents the interests of his class in discussions of program changes and improvements informally and as a member of the LGO Director’s Advisory Committee. His insights are valued and impactful across the LGO program experience.” – Thomas Roemer, Director of the MIT Leaders for Global Operations