Name: Karan Verma
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Degree Program: Master of Public Administration
Concentration: Government Information Systems Management (GISM)


Volunteer Activities/Service to the University:

  • Leadership Development Graduate Assistant in the Center for Leadership and Service.
  • Created the H20 zone, which was a sustainable movement to help the University promote water bottle refilling stations across campus.
  • 2017 NASPAA Simulation at Columbia University – placed first locally and second internationally.
  • Independent study with Kim McKinney, CTO of NYS Thruway Authority.
  • Participated in PAD 699: Urban Innovation and Creative Problem Solving. Helped the City of Schenectady and City of Albany fight urban blight.
  • University’s Blackstone LaunchPad Fellow.
  • Built and enhanced public private partnerships between the University, Blackstone LaunchPad, and IgniteU (a Troy accelerator backed by NYSTEC).
  • President of UAlbany Toastmasters International.
  • Resident Assistant and Housing Manager for Residential Life.

What are your post-graduation plans?
I’m humbled to say that post-graduation I’ll be working at KPMG in my hometown of Chicago as an Advisory Associate for State and Local Government where I’ll support my team on projects to help state/local governments integrate new technologies. Along with this, I intend to continue to pursue my passion for relationships where my older brother and I are developing a project to help couples track the health of their relationship. We’ve been able to have initial success and took first place at Startup Weekend 5 Competition, powered by Google and the 2017 Blackstone LaunchPad Business Plan Competition where we took third place in the social entrepreneurship track. We are creating the Fitbit of relationships to help couples track and improve upon their relationship. Overall, my post-graduation plans will be to find balance in working hard, getting involved in communities, and live a life that is worth loving!

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time at Rockefeller?
During my five years at Rockefeller College I have been able to think critically, positively influence new cultures, and enhance my personal and professional growth. The accomplishment that I am most proud of has been my balance in commitment to academic excellence, community involvement, and championing a learn by doing attitude. This balance had led me to achieve accolades such as the 2016 Chancellor’s Award and 2016 President’s Outstanding Senior Award.

Who was your most impactful mentor at Rockefeller?
I am lucky to have met multiple thought leaders at Rockefeller who took a personal interest in my trajectory. The most impactful mentors at Rockefeller during the BA/MPA program has been Anne Hildreth, Professor David Matkin, Professor Gang Chen, and Professor Ramon Gil-Garcia. Each mentor has helped me refine my ability as a dynamic leader and has encouraged me to cultivate my own path.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those considering graduate school?
The best piece of advice I can give is to learn by doing. See everyone is here for their own reason. Find your reason, let it fuel you forward, and challenge yourself to find opportunities outside of the classroom to put your knowledge to the test. Go above and beyond when making meaningful relationships and keep a close group of friends who will hold you accountable towards that reason. Push yourself to read between the lines and become a critical thinker that understands the value of education is not what to think, but how to think!

Visit Rockefeller's 2017 Commencement website.

Visit the University at Albany's 2017 Commencement website.