Here is an accidental IT specialist

What do you do when you set out on a path and life takes you in another trajectory? If you were Dr N Raghavendra Rao, you would become a master in the new field.

Raghavendra, who holds a Ph.D degree from the University of Poona in the area of finance, always dreamed of being known as a financial expert but he has made a name for himself as an information technology specialist.

Nevertheless, he incorporates his financial wizardry in whatever he writes and lectures.

Raghavendra also always wanted to become a professor, inspired by Dr Sharma, an IIT professor who taught him.

This was the reason he worked for the doctorate, he says. Though he got drawn into the corporate world, the chance to lecture came his way as he taught in many institutions and still teaches at LIBA.

In the first instance, the change happened when he was working in Hindustan Motors. He was pushed into the deep end of the pool by the management and he learnt to swim.

“My dissertation project publication, related to ‘working capital’, in a financial management course impressed the finance manager at Hindustan Motors. He transferred me from the finance department to newly set up EDP (Electronic Data Processing) department for writing manuals in the area of organisational methods,” recalls Raghavendra, who has a string of diplomas as well.

The change gave him a chance to delve deep into software and there was no looking back after that.

He served as technical advisor to the board of directors of Penta Soft Technology Ltd, and has been involved in managing many software projects related to healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing and finance sectors.

Raghavendra ramped up his IT knowledge to the extent that he is sought after by foreign publishers like IGI Global, USA, to write articles, edit volumes and now, he has written a research chapter – Staying Ahead in Business Through Innovation – that has been included in the fourth edition (different from reprint) of the 10-volume Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology that was unveiled at Chicago, USA, recently.

He proudly acknowledges the influence of his wife Meera Raghavendra Rao (a journalist and renowned author) in taking up writing and that he has contributed to several journals and newspapers about cutting-edge technology.

Raghavendra’s ambition of becoming a teacher also came true when he started lecturing at LIBA (Loyola Institute of Business Administration). But, again, he was asked to lecture on software and not his pet subject, finance. Despite his family’s apprehensions, this reticent IT specialist was able to win the appreciation of his peers and students not just in LIBA but also all the other institutions – SSN School of Management, VIT Chennai campus, L&T Institute of Project Management – he taught at.

I enjoy riding two horses, grins Raghavendra, a native of Nellore who has spent the best part of his life in Chennai.

But everywhere he went as IT specialist, people looked askance at his age. “People expect to see a 20-something or 30-year-old to be an expert in software and not such a senior person. At one company, even after I entered the chairman’s room, he was looking beyond my shoulder.

I asked him if he was waiting for someone. He hesitantly said he was waiting for the IT specialist. You should have seen his face when I said I was the specialist,” laughs Raghavendra.

Stating that agri-scientist, Dr M S Swaminathan, is his role model, Raghavendra firmly believes that knowledge never retires.

Blurb: Raghavendra Rao always wanted to become a professor, inspired by Dr Sharma, an IIT professor who taught him. Though he got drawn into the corporate world, the chance to lecture came his way as he taught in many institutions and still teaches at LIBA

         

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