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Sugandha Mahajan Profile 2023

Sugandha Mahajan




Master in Business Administration, Class of 2021


Associate Consultant
McKinsey & Company, Stockholm, Sweden

“Becoming a Hinrich Global Trade Leader is not only a generous financial contribution to my education and future but also a validation for the numerous women entrepreneurs striving to make a mark in India.”

Scholar background

Passionate about driving sustainable change in business and society, Sugandha is a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, based in Stockholm, Sweden, where she focuses on corporate restructuring, transformation and sustainability. She works with some of the largest industrial clients in Europe on environmental, social, and governance topics, as well as organizational health.

Previously, Sugandha was Head of Business Development and Strategy at Ashoka Internationals, a manufacturer and exporter of military, safety and professional footwear based in Uttar Pradesh, India. In this role, she gained insight into the importance of strong leadership and effective organizational design in making a business successful. This experience inspired her to continue her education in international business and trade at INSEAD.

Sugandha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Delhi University and completed her MBA at INSEAD through the Hinrich Global Trade Leader Scholarship Program in 2021.

Personal statement

I started my career as an investment banker, working for Japan’s biggest investment bank for 4 years. This experience was my first window to international trade and how structured businesses can transform economies. Wishing to see a similar impact closer to home, I joined my family-owned business in 2017.

Since joining the firm, I have strategized our participation in multiple international trade fairs and built a team of eight global distribution agents which has added to our client network by 35%. I have also digitalized the traditional operations to allow greater transparency and ease of access, resulting in development of cost optimization strategies. One such strategy enabled us to restructure 90% of our raw material sourcing to primary producers, thus eliminating middlemen and reducing the cost by 25%.

Last year, while researching ways to sustainably dispose of leather scraps from our production process, I was inspired by the Hinrich Foundation’s impeccable research on Indian leather trade and on-going sustainable efforts. As a result, I ideated re-using the scraps to create new products, resulting in elimination of 80% of our waste. Additionally, by actively pursuing women to do higher-skilled jobs and providing facilities to make their work environment safer, I have been successful in increasing our female employees from two to 12.

The safety equipment industry is expected to grow to US$86 billion by 2026 with higher demand for environmentally conscious products. I hope to harness this growing market with Hinrich Foundation’s support and expertise coupled with an MBA from INSEAD. The prolific network of peers and leaders that I intend to build due to this award will be crucial in accelerating my progress as an Asian female entrepreneur.