Participant Story

Rachita Atal

Rachita Atal

Accelerating leadership development

  • Role

    President and Director, Pentaur Technology Pvt. Ltd.
  • Industry

    • Engineering

The program has made me reflect a lot on the way I strategize, organize, and run my business.

The founder of Pentaur Technology, Rachita Atal is a trailblazer in both India and the United States. After becoming the second woman in India to earn her undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering, Atal moved to the United States to complete her master's in environmental engineering and computer science. After a successful career in software programming and management, she pursued her dream of becoming an entrepreneur by starting her own software company in India. Passionate about her education, Atal recently completed Harvard Business School (HBS) Executive Education's Senior Executive Leadership Program—India (SELPI).

You've completed five educational programs in the United States and India. What distinguished the Senior Executive Leadership Program—India from the rest?

Being here is totally out of this world! It’s so mentally stimulating to learn from the world's best. I'm a perpetual scholar, and attending the program was both motivating and transformative.

In other programs that I've attended, we covered a few HBS case studies. However, there's nothing like learning about these cases from the faculty members who wrote them. They know the background of each case, when and how it was written, and what happened to the company before and after. It adds a whole new perspective.

Among other things, this program has taught me to practice leadership, strategy and innovation using a unique and effective approach.

How did the faculty contribute to the learning experience?

It was my privilege to learn from top global experts in these subjects. Their deep insights, perspectives on the case studies, and tools and frameworks were invaluable. In addition to using many examples to drill the points home, they also led thought-provoking classroom discussions. Because of this thorough approach, I gained a comprehensive understanding of the program material.

How has the program transformed the way you work?

The program has made me reflect on the way I strategize, organize, and run my business. I've already started applying what I've learned to achieve better business results and develop myself as an authentic, effective leader. About a year ago, my company went through a major change, and this program helped us through that transition.

The course provided key leadership tools and frameworks, and I used the two-month gaps between modules as an opportunity to "pause and reflect" as well as begin piloting and applying best practices. Plus, the personalized coaching sessions were very helpful as I progressed in my leadership development journey.

SELPI gave me greater insight into the world economy, financial analysis, value drivers, service excellence, creating value for customers, innovation in design and thinking, negotiations, leadership styles, and leading strategically—just to name a few!

How did you feel when you completed the program?

Before this program, I didn't have any formal entrepreneurship training. I didn't have business partners, so I did most things all by myself and trusted my instincts. This program has helped validate some of things I've done—and highlighted key areas where I could be doing better. I feel like I can excel at whatever I choose to do because I now have a greater level of experience and confidence. I wish I had taken this program five years ago, but better late than never.

What would you say to other woman executives who are considering the Senior Executive Leadership Program—India?

I would encourage them to apply! Each woman leader here is very accomplished in her own way. We don't often get opportunities like this where we have a platform to work with and learn from other female executives. I feel so blessed to just be here.

Featured Program

Senior Executive Leadership Program—India