Full-Time MBA Student Profile Meet Venkat Raman, ’18
Having the flexibility to be intellectually curious taught Venkat to manage risk and tackle difficult business problems.
Hometown: Chennai, India
Education: University of Madras, Channai, India
Before Booth: Assistant Manager, Ernst & Young, Chicago IL
2017 Internship: Boston Consulting Group, Chicago, IL
Venkat Raman: 00:05
My name is Venkat Raman. I’m originally from Chennai in India. Chicago Booth’s culture, it’s really one of intellectual curiosity. When you think about the students here, they’re not just here to get a job. They’re really here to absorb and learn as much as possible. Any classroom that you’re in, you’ll typically see students questioning the professor, not taking anything at face value. I had a very black and white education coming here, in terms of accounting and finance, and I used to always think of life as a binary decision process. Professor Raghuram Rajan was the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, and to be able to have class with him was just phenomenal for me. His case discussions would go so deeply into the art of decision-making when you have such policy uncertainty, and one thing I’ve realized is that no decision can you de-eliminate that risk component, and how do you then think about all the data that’s around you? How do you arm yourself with the level of analysis that you can to make an informed decision?
Venkat Raman: 00:59
I think that’s something that’s really opened my eyes at Booth. During the recruiting process, one of the alumni of the firm that I’m going to told me, “Consulting is really not about knowing the answer to a problem, but sitting and thinking about what could be the answer to the problem, and that’s why clients hire you.” And that sort of intellectual curiosity about decision-making was something that really attracted me. And I think that I’ve sort of taken that to heart and hopefully I can live by that going forward.
Originally from India, the educational experiences Venkat Raman had before coming to Chicago Booth were more traditional. Very early on at Booth, he realized that he would have the flexibility to gain hands-on experience both in and out of the classroom. This freedom to explore allowed him to be curious, teaching him how to use data and develop a strong analytical framework to mitigate risk while solving complex business problems.
Leadership at Booth
When I think about the type of leader I want to be, I know I want to run the course with the people around me, include myself as part of the community, and make decisions that are collaborative rather than unilateral. That’s why I was so attracted to leadership positions at Booth. I’m on the Graduate Business Council and I’m a co-chair of the Management Consulting Group. Both these roles involve decision-making that directly affects all members, and you can’t make those decisions unilaterally. You need to think about what’s working best for them, take the collaborative feedback around you, and then employ it in the best way possible. I feel like the leadership I’ve practiced really resonates with me in terms of the type of leader I want to be even once I leave Booth.
My favorite class was Platform Competition with Austan Goolsbee. The class deals with the strategy and economics of platform industries; industries that connect buyers and sellers with the platform in the middle.This was my favorite class because of how relevant it is in today’s world. With things like the app store, social networks, and market places all rising in prominence, the platform industry is something that’s very important in today’s decision-making. CEOs are constantly thinking what are the economics behind it, and what non-economic factors should influence all the decisions around it. I also loved this class because of Professor Goolsbee’s teaching style. He was previously the chairman of President Obama’s Councilor of Economic Advisors, and a stand-up comedian. He was hilarious, and watching the convergence of those two unique backgrounds in the classroom was amazing.