2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Keerti Rao, University of Houston (Bauer)

Keerti Rao

University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business

“Responses from asking friends: optimistic, talkative, constantly napping, dog lover, motivated, and world traveler.”

Fun fact about yourself: I speak four languages (if you include high school Spanish and one semester of Italian).

Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas

High School: William P. Clements High School

Majors: Finance and Accounting

Minor: n/a

Favorite Business Course: Introduction to Marketing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Bauer Honors Student Advisory Board
  • Honors College Ambassador
  • Finance Association
  • Financial Executives International/Ted Bauer Undergraduate Business Scholar
  • Ted Bauer Leadership Certificate
  • Metropolitan Volunteer Program

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Bank of America- Los Angeles, CA, Credit and Wholesale Banking Summer Analyst
  • Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, CPAs and Advisors- Houston, TX, Administrative Intern
  • Osgood Center for International Studies- Washington, D.C., Summer Extern

Where will you be working after graduation? Citi- San Francisco, CA, Corporate Banking Analyst

Who is your favorite professor? Emilia Carvalho. I had Professor Carvalho my second year of college for Business Principles in a Global Economy. I really enjoyed the way she structured the class, incorporating research articles, presentations, and books in addition to the textbook material. While learning important international business concepts, I also learned how to form good habits, command a room when presenting, analyze research studies, and effectively negotiate. Through her class, I grew as a student, professional, and person.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? In order to succeed, you will need to work with others and learn from them. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Do it! In my opinion, no other major provides the variety of career options that business does. I used to think that an accounting degree meant being a CPA and filing taxes. Although I have met several tax and audit advisors throughout college, I’ve also spoken to accountants who work for NASA, the Houston Rockets, and Disney. With a business degree, you can truly work in any industry of your choosing.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? In high school, my classes mainly focused on content. I didn’t recognize the importance that interpersonal communication plays in a professional setting, and I appreciated that soft skills such as how to build a LinkedIn profile, write emails, and start conversations were taught in college. During these past four years, I found numerous classes and workshops that have helped grow these peripheral skills in order to help students acclimate to the professional environment.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? In retrospect, I wish I had been more active outside of the business school. Throughout college, the majority of classes I took, organizations I was involved in, and friendships I formed have been part of Bauer. Although I made an effort in my final semesters by being an Honors College Ambassador, volunteering, and studying abroad, I still think being involved in other fields on or off campus in my first two years would have been beneficial.

What business executive do you admire most? About two years ago, I attended a book signing held on campus for Tilman Fertitta’s new book, Shut up and Listen! I didn’t know much about him before attending this event, except from the fact that he owned the Houston Rockets and had the basketball arena on campus named after him. Throughout the event, I was impressed by Fertitta’s several accomplishments, including being a self-made billionaire, owning and managing several restaurants and casinos, writing a book, serving as chairman for the UH System Board of Regents, and having his own TV show to name a few. After attending this event as well as reading his book, I was impressed at all Fertitta has accomplished and his desire to share what he had learned to help others succeed.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The achievement that I am most proud of is my academic success throughout college. In high school, my grades were often not a priority and my GPA and ranking suffered because of that. I knew this was something I wanted to change during college, and four years later I can proudly say that I have. I made the Dean’s List every semester thus far, and plan on graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Which classmate do you most admire? Leonard Wang. I met Leonard during my freshman year of college because he confused me with a girl in his biology class. Through that chance encounter and many more intentional ones to follow, I have gotten to know what a driven, insightful, and empathetic person he is. Leonard is part of the University of Houston’s BS/MD program, and is now in his first year at UTMB. In an academic setting, he is an eager learner, efficiently manages his time, and has several published articles. Outside of school, he leaves a positive impression on everyone he meets, pays copious attention to his health, and is always willing to lend a hand. From his unsatiable capacity to learn to his ability to work out six times a week, Leonard is one of the most admirable people I know.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my family, friends, peers, advisors, and mentors for being a constant source of support for me. Still, the most influential has definitely been my older brother, Hunar Rao. At times, Hunar was the third parent I never asked for. He taught me how to not immediately give up, like when I wanted to quit playing flute because my arms were hurting. He taught me how to properly study, even monitoring me to make sure I wouldn’t get distracted. And he taught me how to be comfortable speaking to elders, often bringing his friends to the house and introducing me. He set a consistent example of working hard, enjoying free time, and being successful.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Earn an MBA after working for a few years.
  2. Temporarily live and work outside of the United States.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy biking, listening to podcasts, and swimming. Most recently, I have also started scrapbooking!

What made Keerti such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Keerti Rao is in Bauer Honors, a business program with a rigorous liberal arts foundation, with the added demands of her double major in finance and accounting, while earning a GPA of 3.94.  As the 2020-2021 recipient of the prestigious Financial Executives of America – Ted Bauer Undergraduate Business Scholarship, she has built a network of C-suite connections.  Her internship at a CPA firm and research for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have prepared her for her career. During her Learning Abroad in Rome she expanded her global awareness.  Through her engagement with college activities and volunteer activities, she has given back.  She represents the best in values and brightest in academics that make Bauer College proud of her and some many other students like Keerti.”

Frank Kelley
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Business Programs
C.T. Bauer College of Business




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