Student Spotlight - Varshu Karumuri
Written by: Timiro Mohammed
Photographed by: Levi Soprovich
As seen in the December 2019 issue of Lazy Faire magazine
This month Lazy Faire sat down with Varshu Karumuri, a third year business student in Operations Management. Varshu is extremely active on campus, and he gave us some insight to his journey as a student at ASoB.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, what major are you pursuing? Why did you choose it?
I chose OM because I wanted to learn hard skills while I was in school. OM is kind of a watered-down version of data science. I don’t entirely know the stats and math behind it but it’s cool to have a basic understanding of its limitations and when it can be used. I was an MIS major before; it was a good program but I wasn't learning as many skills as I wanted to, so I switched to OM.
What extracurriculars are you involved with?
In terms of extracurriculars, my biggest would definitely be the Alberta International Business Competition (AIBC). I became one of the co-chairs last year, and the past year has been a journey. It has involved everything from building a team to finding corporate sponsors, organizing, and inviting case competitors from all over the world. It was a lot of work and just seeing everything come together was very validating, emotional and rewarding. At the gala speech, I stated that this is a bittersweet time because I love university but it’s coming to an end. I have a lot of friends here and hopefully they all stay in my life. AIBC has been a part of my journey all the way to the end it’s something I'll always remember.
How have you been able to balance work and school?
Well, in my first year of business I was pretty gung-ho about getting involved; I was in four courses and doing cases but I wasn’t overextended. In my second year, the summer job I worked at asked me to come on part-time, working 20 hours a week. I was also a part of JDC West and the MIS club. I thought, “I can sleep eight hours a night, I can still hang out with friends, and I can still eat healthy,” but I quickly learned about the rule of three. It goes as follows: you can only commit to three things at once. I didn't really consider that in my second year but I’ve since learned my lesson. This year I decided to focus on school, JDC, and AIBC, and I'm still trying to figure it out as I go.
What makes you so passionate about the things you do?
In terms of AIBC, what really motivated me was the team. The one thing I’m extremely proud of is the way the other co-chair and I selected the team. Each and every member is unique; each person is motivated, cares a lot, and is highly passionate. Every now and then I question why I’m doing something, but seeing how passionate my team is about AIBC as an organization, each other, and their own learning motivates me.
I think I also learned that I'm kind of selfish- I want to learn things for myself. I saw my progression and how I improved over the year and I’m really proud of that. I can look back at myself now and recognize that I’m better than where I was before - and that is what keeps me motivated.
What’s one of your proudest achievements as an ASOB student?
That would easily be AIBC. This is my first time being in a leadership position where myself and Kim were not only responsible but accountable. I've learned and grown over the past year. I've talked to a lot of my old managers about leadership and how they found their leadership journey. I’ve worked for some great leaders and some not so great leaders and I'm taking cues from both. The reason I'm proud of AIBC is that it somewhat kickstarted my leadership journey. I’m not saying that I know I'm going to be a leader, but now I have an appetite for it. I am very proud of AIBC - not to mention all the people that I've met along the way. I’ve got friends in Rotterdam, South Carolina and all over the world now.
What would you tell your first-year self?
The biggest piece of advice I would give myself is to not take things too seriously. I was someone who was serious about most things and would over-prepare. Make sure that you don’t undermine others; don't be too serious about things because in the end, things work out the way they're supposed too. Honestly, be the person that you'd want to grab a beer with - just be a good person.