Recently named one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” people to watch in education, Vinit Sukhija, MBA ’16, wasn’t always interested in the field. A class he took as an economics major in college first opened his eyes to the true importance of educational equity. “I took a public policy class on wealth and poverty in spring 2009, and it challenged me to grapple with the problem of educational inequity in our country,” Sukhija said.
Sukhija’s interest in the field was cemented when he discovered that a great teacher could significantly increase a student’s lifetime earnings. “[The statistics] for me were mind-blowing and helped me understand how transformative a great teacher could really be,” said Sukhija, citing the work of education economist Eric Hanushek, PhD ’68, who discovered that a talented teacher can raise a student’s lifetime earnings by more than $20,000. Sukhija joined Teach for America after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. Assigned to teach algebra in an underperforming Los Angeles high school, he soon noticed that the best teachers seemed to have something in common.
“The highest performing teachers—the ones winning prestigious teaching awards—had a unique entrepreneurial bent to them,” Sukhija said. “These teachers would analyze the nuanced challenges their students were facing and devise new and creative solutions to address them.” Continue reading on MIT Sloan.