2023 MBA To Watch: Charanya Krishnan Rao, Texas A&M (Mays)

Charanya Krishnan Rao

Texas A&M, Mays Business School

“I trust in the power of being myself and believing in myself.”

Hometown: Allen, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I once swam with a dolphin

Undergraduate School and Degree: Masters in Economics, Department of Economics, University of Mumbai, India; Master’s in Business Administration, Texas A&M University

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? UTI Mutual Fund, Mumbai, India; Role: Chief Economist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Bank of America, Addison, Texas

Where will you be working after graduation? Associate Vice President, Bank of America

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I believe in the idea of servant leadership. I was glad to be entrusted with tasks by the school and also by my team.  These included representing my school at the Leadership meeting with the President of Texas A&M University, generating ideas to strengthen different aspects of the full time MBA program, and working with my team to achieve tasks assigned to me and holding the team together in stressful moments. All these tasks were learning experiences in leadership for me and helped me contribute my bit. In terms of community work, as an Intern, I participated in a food camp organized by the Bank of America. I helped in distributing, stocking and packing food for low-income family groups.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Getting into the final round of the Venture Challenge Contest. The VC contest gave ample opportunity to work effectively with my team under stressful situations, learn about a totally new area of business, pitch for another firm as if it was my own venture and to present our views, and receive feedback from a diverse audience.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It was winning the Asia’s best of best award for floating the Most innovative investor education campaign for two consecutive years. The campaign was a first of its kind program that spanned over 100 days, covered 15,000 investors spread across 300 cities all over India. I was glad to have the opportunity to influence investors to invest with the organization through the campaign. I designed, executed, and canvassed actively for the campaign. I was particularly happy to be able to garner the confidence of several women investors into the idea of investing in the stock market.

Why did you choose this business school? Texas A&M University and the Mays Business School are bound by a very strong value system. I have always felt strongly about the values I stand for and therefore felt very aligned with the thought process at the school. This was the only school which asked me to spell out the values that are important to me in my during my application process. Since enrolling, I realized that the school meant what was said – the school greatly values virtues such as integrity, selfless service, honesty among other important virtues. A student of the Texas A&M school is fondly called an Aggie. And all Aggies are bound by the Aggie Code of Honor. I am proud to live by the code which is simply defined as “an Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do”.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr Rogelio Oliva for Operations Management. Dr Oliva awakened my ability to think critically and shaped it. He would often say that when you look at a business, ask a fundamental question: “How does this business make money, where is the money coming from”. While these are very basic questions, in the busy corporate world, they are often forgotten. Dr Oliva’s coaching helped me ask the right questions, gain deeper and thorough understanding and also be a more alert participant in business decision-making.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? I enjoyed Corporate Finance Part II taught by Dr Paolina Medina. The course focuses on valuation and how different stakeholders – debt and equity investors – have the potential to increase the value of the firm. The course also taught me different techniques used to find the value of a firm. In terms of investing, this is a key skill that the course helped me acquire.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? There are many favorite traditions to list about our school. One key traditions is, the tradition followed inside the Memorial student center (MSC) building in the school. The MSC was built to honor those who have served the country and laid down their lives to protect the country.  Nobody is allowed to wear caps or hats inside the building and also nobody is allowed to walk over the grass around the building as a mark of respect for the those who sacrificed everything to keep the rest of us safe.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I wanted to be part of the case competition groups. I was unable to due to paucity of time. That is something I would like to have been part of.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I cannot recollect any such myth.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? It is a small college town and it is possible to get acquainted with the whole town in limited time. It has a young and fresh feel to it. I grew very attached to the town and did not feel like leaving the place after my graduation.

What surprised you the most about business school? It was the fact that we had classmates from very diverse backgrounds but everyone worked together, socialized together, and stood with each other through different moments of the program.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Aligning my values with those of the school I wanted to be part of helped me streamline my thoughts and make a sound choice. For me, the chance to pursue the MBA program was not a matter of privilege. Rather, it was an opportunity to be a more valuable contributor to the community.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I have a few classmates whom I admire greatly. One of them is Andrew Kazlow. He was most helpful and respectful. Even at odd times of the day, he was willing to clarify my doubts related to our courses and also guide me in every possible way to clarify concepts.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to transition into Buy side financial analysis and I also want to work on opening my own financial advisory start up.

What made Charanya such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Charanya Krishnan is the boss you dream of hiring because she seeks to rise with others, not above them. According to fellow students in the Full-Time Class of 2023, Charanya’s presence guarantees excellent, on-time results in a culture that values respect, accountability, and growth opportunities for each person. Collectively her peer feedback reads like a neon sign to employers: run, do not walk, to make Charanya part of your organization.

Peers describe her as “the most dedicated person I know,” “extremely reliable while being easygoing and fun,” “comfortable taking the lead and allowing others to lead,” “proactive in delegating tasks according to teammates’ skills and motivations,” and “able to help others view the big picture and maintain a well-rounded perspective.” The words drive, diligence, and determination appear multiple times in her feedback, as does the sentiment that Charanya is an “all-hands-on-deck person” known for patience, boundless stamina, and the rare ability to “crush tasks” while balancing work and family and understanding others’ needs.

An accomplished economist with significant investment experience in India, Charanya will begin her post-MBA career with Bank of America, where her colleagues will treasure her for the qualities discussed above. Her colleagues will also be lucky recipients of her compassionate heart, her positive spirit, and her unparalleled gift for storytelling. In my fifteen years teaching MBA students, I have never seen a student hold an audience in the palm of her hand the way Charanya does. From the opening case competition during orientation to her final capstone presentation on tokenization in global real estate, Charanya integrated clarifying, engaging stories worthy of a master class on Aristotle’s logos-ethos-pathos. In addition to sharing stories, Charanya was known for lending a helping hand by explaining difficult concepts, hammering out first drafts, writing encouraging notes, and preparing homemade meals. Arriving last spring at a faculty retreat focused on innovation, I was delighted to find Charanya at my table as one of the two current students invited to participate. In the decades to come, Charanya will continue to be an outstanding leader because putting people first is her key to achieving first-rate results.”

Dr. Janet Marcantonio
Executive Professor, MBA Programs

“Charanya was an incredible student in our MBA Program, and she set an example for her peers of exceptional performance, maturity, and living out the Aggie Values. Charanya was confident yet approachable, direct yet caring, and opinionated yet open to new ideas. She worked incredibly well with her peers, faculty, and program staff, and adeptly navigated the differences between each group. Her personal brand was well-respected, and that brand, coupled with her level of professionalism often meant we called on her to represent the program as a brand ambassador in various meetings or events.

During her time in the program, Charanya was able to not only do well in an academically rigorous and fast-paced program, but she took on additional learning opportunities by pursuing a Chartered Financial Analyst designation and even receiving a scholarship to do so. She successfully managed multiple high-stakes priorities with finesse and focus, which is extremely difficult given the demands of the program.

I am confident that Charanya will be one of the top women CEOs in the future because of the qualities described above. She has both the business acumen and emotional intelligence to guide an organization and its people to achieve its goals. Charanya has already made a substantial impact on her peers and those she interacted with during her time in the MBA program, and I am excited to see her continue that impact on a larger scale as she continues her career in business.”

Dr. Sarah Jaks, Associate Director
Full-Time MBA Program

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF MBAS TO WATCH IN 2023

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