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In honor of Women’s History Month, MBA Class of 2025 students Aastha Bhardwaj, Whitley Cargile, Briti Ghosh, Veronica Chua, and Eunjin Lee discuss women leaders and case protagonists who have inspired them.


Veronica Chua (MBA 2025): Being a true leader doesn't come from having a specific title. Meaning, what you say is what you do.

Eunjin Lee (MBA 2025): Empathy, integrity—

Aastha Bhardwaj (MBA 2025): Mentorship, effective delegation—

Whitley Cargile (MBA 2025): High emotional intelligence—

Briti Ghosh (MBA 2025): Resilience—

Veronica Chua: Fortitude—

Whitley Cargile: And humility, sharing credit where credit is due, and taking more than your share of the blame.

Aastha Bhardwaj: The former CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi—

Veronica Chua: The first woman of color and immigrant to run a Fortune 50 company.

Aastha Bhardwaj: My very first case at HBS was on PepsiCo. And I was the first cold call in my section. So, my excitement was on another level talking about her.

Whitley Cargile: Sandra Horbach, the Americas co-head of corporate private equity at Carlyle. I chose to join Carlyle to work with her. I also trusted her advice to go to business school to improve my judgment and learn how to voice my opinion eloquently.

Briti Ghosh: Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. Entering such a male-dominated industry, getting to the top with her leadership style of being assertive while also being empathetic with her employees.

Veronica Chua: Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, Advanced Micro Devices. She has the unique combination of both technical genius, as well as business acumen. She led an incredible transformation and turnaround of AMD into one of the fastest-growing semiconductor companies in the world.

Whitley Cargile: The female protagonist that left an impact on me was Debbie Lovich, partner at Boston Consulting Group. Her case focused on how you balance a demanding career, as well as commitments at home.

Aastha Bhardwaj: Cynthia Carroll of Anglo American Mines in South Africa. The case was about the safety of the mine workers. Everyone in the class thought it was her fiduciary duty to the shareholders, so she could not shut down the mine. But—

Eunjin Lee: She made the hard decision to close down a mining plant.

Aastha Bhardwaj: She still paid the salaries to the workers. She said, we wouldn't open back until it was very, very safe for my employees.

Eunjin Lee: Even at the cost of a lot of money to the firm, she prioritized their health and safety.

Aastha Bhardwaj: She followed through, and I have huge respect for that.

Briti Ghosh: Being empathetic or being sensitive, I feel, is not a reason for people to think that you cannot be a powerful decision maker.

Whitley Cargile: I learned the importance of listening to others and encouraging quieter voices to speak up within a team setting.

Briti Ghosh: People think that women can have it all. And they're pretty much at the same level that men are, and things have finally become equal. However, I would like to mention that it may not be the case, especially in all parts of the world. And there are lots of demographics where this is still very far from the reality.

Eunjin Lee: The small, incremental changes that we make as MBA graduates and as leaders in the world, it's going to be very important to pull generations of other women forward.

Veronica Chua: I actively seek out opportunities to mentor and uplift others, especially young women entering male-dominated fields like tech, operations, and finance.

Whitley Cargile: As incoming co-president of the Women's Student Association, I'm forever grateful for those first women who stepped foot on HBS's campus and paved the path for those of us here today.

Aastha Bhardwaj: Can I talk about my grandmother? Women who inspire me or who have changed the way I think? I was brought up by my grandmother, who was never given the opportunity to go to school. And I learned egalitarianism from her. I learned the value of education from her. But most importantly, I learned to be bold from her. Remain ethical, remain bold, and remain kind.

This video was originally featured on the HBS Newsroom page.