2017 Best & Brightest: Ishani Ummat, University of Washington

Ishani Ummat

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

“Part-time finance student, full-time avocado aficionado and hopelessly devoted to the outdoors.”

Fun fact about yourself: One time, I climbed a mountain in the Himalayas and the view was better from the bottom.

Hometown: Seattle, WA

High School: Lakeside School, Seattle, WA

Major: Finance, International Business

Minor: Global Health, Comparative History of Ideas

Favorite Business Courses: Entrepreneurial Finance, Competing in the Global Economy

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Managing Partner: Montlake Consulting Group
  • GlobeMed at UW: Director of Finance
  • Roots Homeless Shelter: Volunteer
  • USAID Global Health Fellowship
  • Mareta Havens Endowed Scholarship in Business, 2016-2017
  • Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship, 2014-2015
  • 1st Place, UW Global Health Business Case Competition, 2016
  • 1st Place, Global Business Sustainability Case Competition, 2016
  • 2nd Place, Russell Investments Case Competition
  • 3rd Place, Business Ethics Case Competition 2015
  • Global Business Center Scholarship, 2015
  • Emma Michael Bigley Scholarship, 2014
  • Annual Dean’s List 2014-2017

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Investments: Investment Analyst Intern in Kirkland, WA
  • USAID Global Health Fellowship: Fellow at the MINDS Foundation in Vadodara, India
  • Washington Council on International Trade: Policy and Communications Intern in Seattle, WA
    • This summer internship turned into a part-time job where I became the Policy and Communication Manager at the Washington Council on International Trade

Describe your dream Job: My dream job sits at the intersection of business and social impact – a job that offers value by solving real, tough business problems that have a positive impact on global development and sustainable change.

Who is your favorite professor? Kathryn Dewenter: Kathy is intimidatingly intelligent and a brilliant educator. She, more than any teacher or professor I have ever had, made me want to learn. She made me want to learn so much that in addition to the case studies she assigned, I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about the business environment and relevant macroeconomic concepts. Perhaps most importantly, I continue to apply to lessons I learned in her class and her approaches to problem solving every single day.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? Majoring in business affords a variety of opportunities that many others here at the university don’t have access to. Most of all, I enjoyed the ever-changing and adapting landscape of the business classroom, to the outside business world. More concisely: it’s current.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I’m working at Bain and Company, as an Associate Consultant.

What are your long-term professional goals? Long term, I’d like to work at the intersection of the private and public sectors, working to solve business problems that make a sustainable difference on the lives of those who need it most. After consulting, I’m interested in work at the World Bank, or even starting a social enterprise focused on marrying these two traditionally polarized disciplines of business and social impact.

 “I knew I wanted to major in business when…I worked for my first client and loved it.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…lost and unsatisfied.

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…teams make better decisions. Be a team player and work hard to prove yourself.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? The happiest moment of my life was stepping outside a log cabin in the middle of Iceland, hours away from any city, around 11:30 pm on September 23, 2016. I stepped outside to see the stars and when I looked up, it was as if Aurora Borealis had put on a show just for me. The entire sky was dancing green and purple. Once I calmed down, I lay in my sleeping bag watching the best light show I’ve ever seen, and for a brief moment, heard the Aurora in the sky.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m most proud of my work with UW GlobeMed, for which I received a Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship. As a finance major, I was able to really begin the work of intersecting business with global health, and social change. During my tenure, we had the most successful fundraising campaign in GlobeMed’s national network, grossing over $15,000 in one night. Perhaps even more importantly, the group is becoming increasingly literate in finance – a skill oft-overlooked by public and global health. My finance committee is exceptionally popular. In addition to working on the organization’s finances, we give lessons on a broad range of topics from macroeconomic forces, to individual investing.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? A lioness. I’m partially biased because my high school mascot was a lion, but I think that a lioness offers a gentle prowess that is unparalleled.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would be remiss to attribute my success to anyone other than my parents. They are my biggest mentors, my loudest cheerleaders and my best friends. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve read about the Tiger Mom and my parents embody that spirit of hard work. Yet if I didn’t have the push from them to constantly become a better version of myself, without ever compromising my integrity, I would never be in the position I am today. Both my parents are exceptional in this regard: they inspire me to be better every single day.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I want to be known as someone who stood up for what I believed in no matter what, and I never settled for less than my best.

Favorite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Favorite movie: Inception

Favorite musical performer: U2

Favorite vacation spot: Whistler, BC.

What are your hobbies? I’m an avid skier, an amateur photographer, and a self-proclaimed adventurer constantly looking for a new route to backpack. I love discovering new recipes, making granola and eating it on top of a mountain. If I can string up my hammock somewhere, I’ll inhale a book and swing away. Stargazing after a midnight game of basketball outside Seattle is ideal, and if I don’t mention drinking wine with good cheese my French host family will have my head.


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