Originally from India, Vinay Venkatraman is a full-time international student enrolled in the M.S. program in Construction Administration. Previously, he worked in the construction industry in India and Dubai. He tells us, “I became interested in the program when I realized that there was a need to synchronize the tremendous progress in the computer industry with the construction industry. Now based in New York, I am expanding my skill set and my network at Columbia.”
We spoke with him via email about his experience in the Construction Administration graduate program as well as his experience in New York.
What were you doing before the program? What attracted you to this graduate program?
I’ve always wanted to focus my career on project management. I come from India, a developing third world country with lots of potential. There is tremendous opportunity there, as the construction industry is very nascent by international standards. However, India is among the world leaders in the computer field. There is a huge potential to integrate the two industries by synergizing and incorporating the technology capability of the computer industry into the evolving construction industry. Since the volumes are large and the population is high, the benefits multiply many fold on improving the efficiency of the system.
Reading about this graduate program online, I thought that it was the right program for me. I realized this program would give me a very solid background in project management and green building. It will position me to pursue a career in the industry as a project manager in the USA or in Asia by helping me develop a strong foundation in my area of focus.
Why did you choose to come to Columbia?
Columbia’s reputation precedes it. It’s one of the world's most prestigious universities and will position me well globally. At the end of the day, graduate school is an important investment of time, effort, and money, and you have to make sure that it is the best investment for you.
Columbia focuses on the skills of the future, and for people who understand the importance of looking at the big picture, it is the ideal place.
What do you think will be the most valuable part of the program for you?
I feel everything that Columbia has brought into the curriculum looks toward the future of the industry. For instance, I am studying green building and sustainability to get insights into the future. By integrating concepts of sustainability with Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), we can ensure implementation of green building in the most cost-effective manner.
Have you been able to network in the program?
Absolutely. The students are connected to the industry, getting a feel for what hiring managers are expecting from us. During networking events, I have had the chance to make connections in the industry. People always appreciate the knowledge I have gained at Columbia. They’re eager to give me advice for career opportunities and personal growth.
Any other thoughts about the program and how it fits into your career goals?
I want to emphasize that this is a brilliant program. By going through this program, I am fully confident of my ability to manage any project by applying my lessons effectively and efficiently. I wish to reiterate the huge contribution that has come from the faculty. It’s very challenging, it’s a lot of hard work, and it’s a lot of information about the modern-day construction industry to prepare modern-day construction managers. Columbia truly brings out the best in its students.