May is Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi and Asian American Heritage Month. Throughout the month, The Daily will highlight members of the university community who are of Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi and Asian American heritage to celebrate their accomplishments as members of the campus community and shed light on their experiences at CWRU.
During his Master of Business Administration program at Weatherhead School of Management, Srinivas Rao (MGT ‘99) interned at a technology startup in Silicon Valley. He credits that experience for kick-starting his career—and giving him exposure to the then new wave of internet companies.
After receiving his MBA, Rao worked for a technology startup once again in Silicon Valley, and then went on to join Amazon as a senior product manager in 2005.
“Based on the solid foundation [I received at CWRU], I have been fortunate enough to have different experiences that allowed me to develop my general management skills in startups—and now at Amazon over the last 17 years in various roles,” Rao explained.
Now, Rao, who is president of CWRU’s Alumni Association Board of Directors, manages payments for Amazon’s Consumer Division in emerging countries across Latin America, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region. The product- and technology-management role requires him to collaborate with team members spread across 13 countries.
“I am passionate about solving customer problems in e-commerce and payments, [and developing] new products and technology to make it easier for large numbers of customers to get access—and financial inclusion—in emerging countries,” Rao noted.
Rao chose to chase that passion at Case Western Reserve to not only learn about all aspects of business management from the Weatherhead School’s distinguished faculty—but to do it among a “diverse international study body.”
He especially appreciated the various multicountry and multicultural experiences he was able to take part in, such as cultural days hosted by students from India, China, Indonesia and Latin America.
A native of Mumbai, India, Rao believed it to be imperative that he studied at a university that celebrated all cultures of its students, faculty and staff. He found that first at the University of Maryland, where he obtained his master’s degree, and then at Case Western Reserve.
“I [recently] saw some photos [of] Holi, ‘the Festival of Colors,’ that was celebrated [at CWRU],” said Rao. “Events like this do bring out the best in people—and expose students and [the] CWRU community to [the] rest of the world.”