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This Executive MBA alumna is using her leadership skills to manage Toronto Hydro’s supply chain, and joining boards while she’s at it

February 21, 2023

A lot can change in a year — that’s the unanimous message from recent graduates of the One-Year Executive MBA program at the Rotman School.

After completing the fast-tracked MBA program tailored to senior and executive professionals, Sushma Narisetty, Christophe Bernard and Scarlett Zhang say the experience gave them new leadership tools and insights to deepen their impact at work.

In the first story of this three-part series, Sushma Narisetty shares her motivation for pursuing an Executive MBA coming from an engineering background, and how timely it was as she took on a crucial leadership role in her organization in a time of change.

Sushma Narisetty (Executive MBA ’22), Director, Standards and Procurement, Toronto Hydro

As an engineer, Sushma Narisetty is used to solving problems with confidence.

Since she joined Toronto Hydro in 2011, her work has touched various areas of the city’s power infrastructure, from projects on smart grid and electric vehicles, to construction and maintenance, to supply chain and operations.

In 2020, she began the Executive MBA program with encouragement from her mentors and entered with three goals: to enhance her skills in finance and corporate governance to tackle pressing issues; use those skills to join boards for causes that she values deeply; and model the importance of lifelong learning to her young daughter.

“As I became more concerned about climate change — especially having a young child — I realized that in order to contribute to the solution, I needed to work at the intersection of technology, policy and business,” says Narisetty.

She felt comfortable with the technical and policy side — Narisetty has years of engineering experience in the energy sector, and in 2017, she was selected to be an Action Canada Fellow as part of a national policy engagement program.

“How all of this comes together in a business context was very much lacking,” she says.

Following a year of courses on strategy, finance, leadership and more, Narisetty says she has more clarity and confidence in herself as a leader who can make a difference in her work setting, and beyond.

“During the program, I was able to test what I had learned in a safe space with my peers and in an accelerated manner, which helped me build confidence in myself and in my judgment and decision making.”

—Sushma Narisetty, Executive MBA ’22

It also helped her navigate a new role leading supply chain and procurement for Toronto Hydro, which she started in December 2020 amid an ongoing crisis in global supply chains.

“When you're applying new ideas or theories to real life, you're often extra cautious and looking for validation that you're doing the right thing. During the program, I was able to test what I had learned in a safe space with my peers and in an accelerated manner, which helped me build confidence in myself and in my judgment and decision making,” she says.

Narisetty also joined several boards, putting her networking and corporate governance skills to good use. She currently serves on the board of Volunteer Toronto, The Mississauga Food Bank and Nellie's Shelter.

“It’s very rewarding and I learn so much from my peers on the boards I serve on. It all feeds back into my day job, where I have growing teams and more complex problems to solve," says Narisetty.

And on the climate change front, she remains optimistic.

“There's so much I want to do,” she says. “I now have more tools to make in impact in my current capacity and in the future, as well."

Written by Jessie Park | More Student Stories »