PhD returns to alma mater to share his experiences


Tony Quattrochi, Faculty Member

Dr. Ravi Rao, Class of 1986, St. Joseph High School, has the benefit of having two professions, channeled by one discipline – neuroscience. He shared his preparation and experiences in both pediatric brain surgery and business consultation to a group of students on November 16th. Ravi, whose post-secondary education included degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University, shared his three essentials for success. “First, you must be able communicate with numbers. You don’t have to reach advanced calculus, but you have to be able to interpret and discuss data. Second, significant opportunities don’t often occur because of ability. They happen because of the relationships you develop from the time you enter graduate school. These are the people you will be working with or for in the future. Third, you have to understand the culture you’re in. You need to relate to everyone and everything in the environment in which you wish to work.”

Ravi, who has published a novel on the finances of baseball (Seven Lives, Seven Games) also spoke about writing, publishing, and his current career as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. “I essentially go around the country and assist businesses and organizations who need to move forward, sometimes solving significant problems to do so. I use my insights into how the brain works to achieve some of the goals the leaders of these businesses have designed.” In response to several questions from students, Ravi gave advice he thought was important. “You have to know that failure is often part of the experience of growing toward success. I failed in a number of ventures. You may have to as well. Get use to it. Learn from it. Keep trying.” When asked if he was a perfectionist, Ravi responded, “I was. But then I learned I could achieve great success without being perfect. One of my favorite quotes is ‘Perfection is the enemy of good enough.’ You can do good things, and even great things, without being perfect. You may waste time if you strive for perfection in completing a task.”

Some students remained after Ravi’s general remarks to specifically ask him questions about neurosurgery. Ravi took students through his residency and clinical experience at the Harvard Medical School, including his work in the operating room. He then spoke to those students about possible schools to pursue degrees in neuroscience.

After having attended the 25th Alumni Reunion two weeks before, Ravi enjoyed returning to St. Joe’s to witness the changes since he had been a student at the school and to offer his assistance to helping the Chargers shape their futures. Thank you, Dr. Ravi Rao!