Varenya Rao

Varenya Rao
Class Year
Areas of Interest
Previous Education
Jain University

What brought you to business school? Why did you choose Columbia?

Prior to starting graduate school, I was working with Deloitte in India in their financial advisory sector. My time there allowed me to interact with investment bankers, corporate finance teams, and other advisors, which not only increased my understanding of finance but also sparked my interest in pursuing a master’s degree.

The MSAFA program at Columbia is one of the few that combines the rigorous curriculum of doctoral and MBA courses. It affords a perfect marriage of a strong academic foundation and practical learning.

Finally, Columbia Business School is located in one of the financial capitals of the world and has a great network of alumni.

What is it like going to business school in New York City?

I haven’t heard of anyone who doesn’t like New York City! It is the heart of business, food, and culture. Going to business school in NYC is everything positive. Studying here gives us a unique advantage of access to organizations and professionals in various fields.

Favorite faculty/courses so far?

While it is too early to have a favorite course, I personally enjoy the MBA courses I am taking this semester. The structure of the courses and the emphasis on practical knowledge by going through multiple case studies and not just theory is refreshing. One cannot take away the learning and value added to being in a class with MBA students who come from a diverse set of backgrounds.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the courses, Accounting for Consultants by Professor Tim Baldenius and Accounting for Value by Professor Stephen Penman and look forward to these classes as the semester progresses.

How has the expertise of your professors impacted your learning?

Most of the professors have decades of experience as they serve as advisors, board members, and consultants to large funds and organizations. Every professor brings something new to the table as they draw heavy influence from their professional experiences. The opportunity to listen to, understand, and maybe even challenge their perspectives has made the process of learning that much more interesting.

What do you want to do next? How has Columbia uniquely prepared you for your future?

In the short-term I intend to go into corporate strategy. However, over the course of my career, I aim to pursue a position that will help shape the distinctive financial solutions for the social world. The commercial realm of transactions pervades every facet of our lives and has vast repercussions on our society. I believe it is imperative to find an intersection between the social and commercial business sectors.

What will you take with you?

What I will take away from Columbia is a great network consisting of extremely intelligent and capable academics and future leaders — ideas and learning that will form the foundation of my own personal and professional growth in the future.

I am more than sure that I will continue to grow as I interact with people from diverse backgrounds and countries while studying in one of the most vibrant cities of the world.