Faculty Feature: Prahalad Venkateshan, PhD, visiting associate professor of operations | Weatherhead

Faculty Feature: Prahalad Venkateshan, PhD, visiting associate professor of operations

Posted 3.3.2017

Faculty Feature: Prahalad Venkateshan, PhD, visiting associate professor of operations

What are you looking forward to this semester? What challenges do you anticipate?

I am excited to be teaching two courses - an undergraduate course on statistics and an MBA course on operations management. The challenge in the statistics class is being able to teach the right amount of material. There is large content available in statistics but not everything can be taught in the classroom. This course is also a pre-requisite for other advanced courses in Weatherhead and hence it is important that students get to understand the fundamentals clearly. In the MBA class, the challenge is being able to tie in what is practiced in industry with the theory available via case studies. The MBA class also tends to be more diverse in terms of the prior work experience of the participants and their future career goals.

How do you feel about returning to your Alma Mater? What brought you back to Case Western Reserve and how is it settling back into Cleveland?

It is always a good feeling to be back at the place that played a crucial role in shaping your future career. Case Western Reserve is that place for me since I obtained my doctoral degree in operations research here. I am on a sabbatical at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and also knew that Weatherhead was looking for a visiting faculty member in operations.

 What are some of your favorite things about Cleveland?

There are quite a few things that I like about Cleveland. In addition to doing my PhD here, I also worked downtown at a bank after my PhD for three years. I particularly like the fact that you get all the benefits of a big city without the hassles of one like heavy traffic and other downsides. 

What are your specific research interests and what are you currently working on?

My research work is in the broad field of optimization and I am currently working on a telecommunication network design problem with some faculty at Case Western Reserve and elsewhere.

How does your industry experience shape the courses you teach or the research you are involved in?

I worked on developing and maintaining quantitative models for a bank to help manage a variety of its risks (interest rate risk, operational risk, etc.). That work experience is useful in being able to cite relevant examples and applications to motivate the academic theory discussed in class.

How has your Weatherhead education impacted your professional life?

Since Weatherhead was where I obtained my terminal degree, clearly it has played the most important role in my professional life. When I used to work downtown, I continued to be in touch with the faculty members here and working on research problems. Even after moving to India, this collaborative spirit prevails due to the prevalence of internet communication tools. Learning from the many great teachers I had here at Weatherhead helps me prepare myself better for class.

What do you enjoy doing in your personal life? Family? Travels? 

My family is back in India currently since it is the middle of the school year for my six-year-old daughter. I am looking forward to them joining me in the summer when we plan to visit national parks around the U.S.

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