MBA student Riya Yadav ’24 has an intense interest in women’s equality and diversity within the business world. Before enrolling at UCR’s A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management (AGSM), Yadav worked at Quantum Data Engines, a company specializing in fraud management and anti-money laundering software for financial institutions.
“We worked with the purpose of preventing heinous crimes, such as human trafficking and modern slavery,” she says. “I went to work every day taking deep pride in my work.”
Equality, diversity, and inclusivity are central were ideas both elusive and illuminated for her while growing up in India.
“India is a massive country and the contrast between people from different regions is extremely prominent. Growing up in an army household meant that we relocated to a new city every two years, and our entire neighborhood changed.” Every new station had people from all over the country, and the diversity was staggering, she adds. “And I quickly discovered that diversity and inclusion do not always go hand in hand."
“Many times, I felt out of place, as if I didn’t belong there, and now I’m on a mission to make sure that no one else feels the same way I did. While at work and at school, I make every effort to connect with everyone and engage them in discussion and activities.”
With all that she has done and plans to do, Yadav’s mother has provided inspiration. “I will be eternally thankful to my mother for being a role model. She worked for the rehabilitation of war widows, which included assisting them in acquiring industry skills; finding them opportunities or assisting them in starting their businesses; providing them with resources; and locating suitable partners to collaborate with,” Yadav says.
“My mother always went above and beyond to ensure they were treated as ‘warriors rather than victims,’ and that is a lesson I take with me wherever I go.”
Yadav adds that it’s critical to be a part of an organization or community committed to establishing equal opportunities for women while also ensuring that they are not treated differently, and in 2022, Yadav participated in the month-long United Nation’s Young Leaders summer program in Switzerland, an opportunity that was also homegrown.
“As a kid, seeing my father contribute to the military and United Nations inspired me to work with the UN. Participating in the program is one of my most significant accomplishments and my first opportunity to make the world a better place,” she says.
“Being in the UN headquarters along with participants from 23 nations has altered the way I look at things and how I act. Watching decisions being made, I realized the contributions we each can make to the world and how they affect others. Attending live sessions as countries debated their positions on specific issues was intriguing, and sitting in the cafeteria with officials and talking about their climate-change skepticism was remarkable.”
At UCR, Yadav is currently co-chief ambassador of the AGSM Student Ambassador program, and this is her second year serving within this program representing the school, networking with professionals, and helping current and prospective students. “As a student ambassador leader, I champion diversity within our organization. My personal mission is to actively integrate a wide range of perspectives into our projects and overall initiatives.”
Last year, former AGSM Women in Business (WIB) President Renuka Kulkarni ’23 and former Chief Ambassador Franchesca Jefferson ’23 tapped Yadav to helm the execution of the successful 2022 WIB UC Collaboration event for International Women’s Week. “My involvement in WIB has also been an incredible experience to discuss and address related issues in the business sector,” says Yadav.
This year, she was appointed a global ambassador with Women in Technology International, where she’s been a member for four years. “I network with women and students interested in a career in technology, like me, and educate them on the Women in Technology resources.”
Yadav could see the potential for herself and others with her involvement in MBAchic, an online network and platform for professionals dedicated to making education and jobs more accessible to women. “While researching and applying to business schools, I used MBAchic as my bible,” she says. “After receiving my offer letter [from UCR], I contacted the MBAchic founder to express my gratitude, and she asked me to provide social media coverage about my MBA experience. I share information and answer questions for students interested in pursuing an MBA.”
Yadav earned a bachelor’s degree in management studies with a concentration in finance and marketing at Jai Hind College in Mumbai. After earning her UCR MBA with a concentration in data analytics and management with a focus on strategy, she plans to work in financial technology in a client-facing role and for United Nations Women, which is focused on gender equality and empowerment. “Even though I want to work in the corporate world, I will always promote diversity and different perspectives within the financial landscape.”
This is the first installment of a three-part series exploring the many ways Riya Yadav ’24 MBA exemplifies the deep involvement of our AGSM master’s students in the many professional enrichment opportunities on and off campus.