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Sakshi Ghai

Research Coordinator, Wharton People Analytics

Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences, University of Pennsylvania ‘18
Young India Fellowship, Ashoka University ‘15
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, ‘12

A graduate of the inaugural class of the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences (MBDS) at Penn, Sakshi Ghai seems to have an instinct for first-class education. She also belonged to one of the early classes of Young India Fellows at Ashoka University, which she says introduced her to the beauty of what a liberal arts education has to offer. She then took a role as a founding team member with the Vedica Scholars Programme for Women, a post-graduate management program. During her two years there, Sakshi became interested in organizational behavior and leadership. “I want to use behavioral science to inspire some of the best organizational practices,” she says.

After what she calls a “transformative” year in the MBDS program, Sakshi will spend the summer assisting members of Penn’s faculty with behavioral science and organizational behavior research as she positions herself to move her own academic career forward. “After coming to Penn, I can see myself as an academic,” she says. “When I was back in India I would often dream about doing a PhD, but now I’m coming so close to seeing it as a reality.” Sakshi credits the program's attentive faculty of world-renowned scholars with nurturing her academic ambitions. "I cannot think of even one faculty member who didn’t mentor me," she recalls. "I have had amazing mentors here, and I think their investment in my success is what transformed me." With the support of her professors, including Dr. Nazli Bhatia who encouraged her to present her research on gender and workplace negotiation at The International Association for Conflict Management, Sakshi plans to continue exploring the intersection of organizational behavior, behavioral science and gender in her future doctoral studies.

“I don’t think there’s another program like this in the world,” Sakshi says; what makes it unique, in addition to the faculty and tight-knit student cohort, is its interdisciplinary and customizable approach. “We all come from very different backgrounds and we all have very different aspirations,” she reflects. “Behavioral science is your grounding, but you have an incredible opportunity to curate your own experience.”

In 2020, Sakshi won a Researching Injustice and Social Equality (RISE) Award at the APS 2020 conference for her research with MBDS Founding Director Dr. Cristina Bicchieri. Read more about her research >