In terms of non-traditional MBA backgrounds, motocross racer is certainly high up on the list—but that’s exactly where MBA applicant Ruchir Singh’s passion lies.
“I had a lot of uncles and they had a lot of motorcycles,” Ruchir recalls. “The first time one of them took me out for a ride I was probably five or six years old, and that got me hooked.”
A passion for racing ended up turning into a skill for it, and Ruchir spent any chance he had taking part in races in India—some of them illegal and unlicensed.
But motocross racing is certainly not without its risks, and tragedy struck while Ruchir was studying for his undergraduate degree in construction and civil engineering. At a local championship in New Delhi, Ruchir had a crash that almost proved fatal—“I was close to losing my leg, and it took me around three years for me to recuperate,” Ruchir says.
Despite the trauma, Ruchir resolved to take his motocross career further, and, after completing his undergraduate degree, turned his sights to Australia, where he enrolled on an MBA at Deakin University. However, with Ruchir’s biggest love still racing, his focus was less on his work and more on the track.
“In actuality, I was not giving it my all,” Ruchir admits. “I was trying to connect with people in the motocross industry and I missed out on a lot of networking in class.”
Afterwards, Ruchir’s motocross career took a hit after he was unable to gain enough sponsorship to compete at a higher level, and decided to focus on his business career.
Now, after almost eight years in sales and marketing, Ruchir wants another chance at an MBA—this time, in Europe.
A European MBA
Despite falling application rates, the US remains a popular destination for international MBAs—but not for Ruchir. He’s looking towards Europe for his second MBA—more specifically, France and the UK—and this stems from a practical reason.
“You have a lot of motocross technology in the UK,” he explains. “Triumph is the biggest company that is going into MotoGP. If I do get into a good business school, these universities will probably help me network with the right kind of people."
In France, Ruchir is targeting top-ranked INSEAD to truly get the most out of his second MBA. "There are also a lot of French companies in two-wheel motorsport," explains Ruchir, "and a lot of small firms in France in the technology sector that specialize in niche engineering technology."
In terms of the specifics of an MBA program, Ruchir would like a curriculum that focuses on entrepreneurship—he has already launched a product in the motocross industry in India, but the business wasn’t successful. For Ruchir, focusing on entrepreneurship, with the aim to go into management consulting after his MBA, will give him the boost he needs to make his business a success in Europe.
“I know why I failed,” Ruchir admits, “and probably if I work in a consulting environment, it will help me improve and fine-tune what is required in my business.”
Looking to the future
At the moment, Ruchir is concentrating his efforts on the GMAT and polishing off his application—”I want to make it by round three,” he says—but is finding that test prep is certainly a question of patience.
“The content is not very challenging,” Ruchir says, “but it’s about how much I can fine tune my schedule to preparing for this kind of exam.”
“I do a minimum of 30 minutes every day—I’ve already covered the entire syllabus, so I’m just brushing up on my weak areas to see where I can improve.”
Despite his previous setbacks with the motocross industry, Ruchir is insistent that he’ll continue with his passion in the future, after getting his second MBA. In the future, he hopes to inspire others to pursue the sport.
“I have devoted a lot of years of my life to this thing, and from a very young age,” Ruchir states. “In my part of the world motocross is not valued very much, and I had to struggle a lot. My family could support me, but a lot of people over here who have the skills and talent are not able to make it.
“If I can succeed and help anybody from India to reach the same level, that would be really good.”