Tiku Raval
 

Tiku Raval

Current Employer: Ironshore Insurance, a Liberty Mutual Company
Title: SVP, Strategic Development and Planning
Hometown: Woolwich, NJ
Undergraduate School: Boston University

The value of our degrees will be how we perform in the 'real world' in the coming years and decades.

Why did you choose Cornell?

I’m about 20 years into my career with about 20 more to go, and I knew I wanted to continue learning and that I could do that by pursuing an MBA. I considered programs in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. I wanted an Ivy League school with a team-based, residential component.

In my research, I was surprised to learn that Cornell had a weekend-based, NYC-area program—a format that is ideal for my work schedule. I also really wanted this experience to be a networking opportunity and a chance for me to meet new people and make new friends, which the residential format of the EMBA program enables you to do. As I researched the program, met the students, and worked with the admissions team, it felt like a great fit.

What is your favorite class or elective?

I have several, so I won't pick just one: accounting, economics, statistics, and strategy. Each class was different, but the common thread was professors who had a passion for teaching and challenged each of us to think about real-world issues.

What advice do you have for anyone considering applying to your program?

It may never feel like the "right time" to pursue an MBA when you consider your personal and professional life, but as the Chinese philosopher Laozi once said, "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." Taking the first step and committing to pursue the degree was the most difficult choice.

I’m on the more experienced side of my class and I worried, “Would I be too old to go back for my MBA?," but there was a great mix of ages, which reinforced the fact that it is never too late to go back.

However, after I decided to take that step, I was able to develop ways to balance a full-time academic program with a full-time job and family. This experience has given me incredible confidence.

What is your favorite event or gathering you’ve participated in?

I attended a football tailgate event between Cornell and Columbia in New York City. Our stats professor was a big advocate for it, and it was nice to see many of my classmates outside of our weekends in the Palisades.

The reason I remember it so much is that there were many Cornell alumni—some who graduated 40-60 years ago—who attended. Their ties to the school were remarkable, and I was impressed by the strength of the alumni network.

What is the legacy you’d like to leave behind at Cornell?

If each of us excels in their profession and takes on visible leadership positions, it will reflect well on the program. The value of our degrees will be how we perform in the “real world” in the coming years and decades.

What do you hope to accomplish with your Cornell degree?

I would ultimately like to run a company with full profit-and-loss accountability. I'm in a senior-level role right now, but in the middle of my career. As I think about the next ten to 20 years, I believe the MBA helps to round out my business skills and distinguishes me from other candidates.