“Just a Louisiana kid who enjoys discussing the blossoming relationship between business and healthcare.”
Fun fact about yourself: As a kid, I got to pet President Obama’s dog Bo at the White House!
Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana
High School: Caddo Parish Magnet High School
Major: Business Honors
Favorite Business Course: Improving Healthcare Service
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: I have taken on multiple research roles at Texas A&M. To fulfill my love for medicine, I work in a spinal cord injury lab focused on restoring locomotor function through the use of stem cells. I also conduct healthcare services research at Mays Business School with Dr. Leonard Berry. Through that research, Dr. Berry and I have co-authored three papers together, two in Mayo Clinic Proceedings and one in Harvard Business Review, and we are actively working on two more projects. Aside from research, I serve as an ambassador for the Texas A&M Foundation, a hospital volunteer, and previously served as the president of Texas A&M Moderates (nonpartisan political organization) for two years. I write a health policy blog , for which I interview healthcare leaders on pertinent policy issues. I am honored to have received several college-level awards, including a formal nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship, the Gathright Phi Kappa Phi Dean’s Excellence Award, and the President’s Endowed Scholarship.
Where have you interned during your college career? During the Summer of 2021, I served as a health policy intern on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in Washington, DC. Prior to my internship in the Senate, I served as a policy intern for the Texas A&M Federal Relations Office in Washington, DC.
Where will you be working after graduation? I will be attending medical school at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Leonard Berry is unequivocally my favorite professor. He opened my eyes to the business of healthcare and his teachings have been formative in my own understanding of the healthcare industry. Beyond the classroom, Dr. Berry has become a friend and mentor who I enjoy sharing stories with and learning from. He cares about my personal life and my family, and he is tremendously supportive of my endeavors. When I feel I need help to make an informed decision, I talk to Dr. Berry for his guidance. His dedication to his students and to Mays Business School is rare and inspiring.
I want to share just one story to bring my words to life. After we published our first paper together, Dr. Berry invited me to his home and surprised me with a beautifully framed cover page of our article. And at the top of the matting, he wrote a note that said, “To Sunjay, my brilliant student who has become a special friend. I am proud of what we have accomplished together—and we are just getting started.” Dr. Berry is a gift to Texas A&M, and he is a gift in my life.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? In business, values are immensely important. Before my first semester at Mays Business School, I had never properly reflected on what core values I lived by. Reflecting back on my time in the business school, writing down and discussing my values for the first time was a crucial learning. My values are Family, Legacy, Loyalty, and Integrity. Each of these values has been tested multiple times over my undergraduate career. The business school has taught me to value my values, and I will forever be a better person because of it.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Because everyone is capable of doing business, even without a degree in it, I recommend students dedicate significant time to learning the “hard” skills business has to offer, such as accounting and financial analysis. These skills are important to job recruiters, and these learnings will help students realize the tangible value business knowledge brings to companies.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Studying business provides you with the relevant tools for any field, even outside of traditional business. Because business skills are relevant to every industry, you don’t have to take on a traditional business role (consultant, accountant, investment banker) after graduation. I was surprised and inspired by those who took the business skills they learned and applied them to law school, medical school, or nonprofit work.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? So much of business is about people. Although I tried to meet as many people at the business school as possible, I wish I could have made more time to deepen even more relationships. I also wish I made time to participate in case competitions with my classmates. However, I also recognize that there are endless opportunities in college, and I had to make difficult decisions regarding which activities to invest my time in.
What business executive do you admire most? I admire Michael Hole, MD, MBA who is a professor at UT-Austin and a social entrepreneur who has founded programs that address the root causes of societal inequality. While not a business executive in the conventional sense, Dr. Hole has opened my eyes to the world of social entrepreneurship, which has a goal of improving societal ills rather than strictly earning profit. For example, in 2016, he co-founded StreetCred, a nonprofit that helps low-income families file taxes and build wealth while waiting for care in hospitals and clinics. I am beyond inspired by Dr. Hole’s genuine passion for alleviating social issues by harnessing the power of entrepreneurship, and I have had the privilege of working with him during my senior year.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? To create a lasting impact on Mays Business School, I wanted to fortify a fairly new path: a path for business students to enter medical school. It was a confusing endeavor to many. However, I knew that not only was it possible, but it was necessary for confronting the business that healthcare has become. After being admitted to medical school as a sophomore, I co-authored a 20-page comprehensive Business/Pre-Med guide to help other business students gain admission to medical school. I tirelessly work to inspire business students who have an interest in healthcare by hosting “wisdom workshops,” writing healthcare blogs featuring business leaders, and meeting routinely with business/pre-med students to reassure their dreams. I became the first Mays Business School student to publish in a major medical journal, and I have become an ambassador for research to guide other business students who are interested in our university’s tier-1 research opportunities. I am proud of the path I have helped solidify, and I am excited to see healthcare become a greater focus for business schools.
Which classmate do you most admire? Michael Pitonak. Michael and I have had multiple classes together throughout college, and we work together in Dr. Jennifer Dulin’s lab. He is one of the kindest, most selfless friends I have. Michael has spent more hours than I can count to tutor me in challenging courses, and he has been a loyal friend who is always there to celebrate my successes and encourage me in my failures. Michael and I are all about building each other up, academically and personally.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents. Having a strong family foundation has given me the confidence and purpose to achieve everything in my life. My parents have always been there and will always be there for me–through my best and worst. They are the most loving people I could have ever asked to raise me. By immigrating to this country, they sacrificed so much to give a better life to my brothers and me, and I will forever be grateful for their constant love and care. Both of them work extremely hard and are generous with their time and resources. I’m so proud to be their son.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I would be so honored to serve as a White House Fellow one day or become a member of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program.
What are your hobbies? I love to ski, play tennis, hike, and hang out with friends, especially my best friend of 9 years named Robert Brown. I also love board games, particularly chess and scrabble–both of which I used to play competitively. And, I especially love meeting new people. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I met one new person every single day of college, and I have recently restarted this hobby.
What made Sunjay such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“Sunjay is the finest undergraduate student I have taught in 50 years of teaching. I’ve been privileged to teach many outstanding students in my career, but Sunjay is the best. He truly is brilliant but what impresses me most is his character. He not only is intellectually gifted at the highest level, he is mature beyond his years, kind and generous, hard-working, and very determined to use his talents to make a positive difference in the world. His spirit of volunteerism to help others is unrivaled. His integrity is impeccable. Sunjay is the only undergraduate student that I have collaborated with on academic research, and he is the only undergraduate student in the history of our business school to ever publish in a medical journal.”
Leonard L. Berry | University Distinguished Professor of Marketing
Regents Professor, M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing & Marketing Leadership
Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence
Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
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