Hello! My name is Karam Katariya, and I’m a senior at Duke University. I’ve grown up moving around, and consider Miami, FL, New Delhi, India, and Tucson, AZ as my homes. Moving as much as I did instilled in me a love to travel and learn about new cultures. It also resulted in my inability to sit still and a longing for a dynamic lifestyle.
When not at school, I love talking and learning about politics, hiking, skiing, and eating; one of my favorite things to do during my four years at Duke has been discovering new downtown Durham restaurants.
Coming to Duke was probably the best decision I’ve made. While it was a semi-last minute choice as I decided between different schools, I chose Duke because it seemed to, more than any other institution I was considering, prioritize its undergraduate students. Classes were small and students were given an overwhelming amount of support from advisors, faculty-in-residences, and student mentors starting on day one. Students had access to world-class facilities at their finger-tips. Most of all though, what I gauged from everyone I spoke to at Duke and the vibe when I visited was that Duke students were happy. They were incredibly driven and ambitious, but not cut-throat. They valued relationships and loved each other.
What do I Study?
In addition to my Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate, I am pursuing a Bachelor of Sciences in Economics with a Concentration in Finance. Coming to Duke, I had just completed a high school economics course and was fascinated by macroeconomic theory, and how it explained so much about broad-based consumer behavior. I had just begun learning about the financial markets and enjoyed how they combined the quantitative models with global current events.
Because of my study in Economics, the outside experiences I had in my Innovation and Entrepreneurship certificate largely looked at the world of established business and finance.
How Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fits into My Long Term Plans:
Coming to Duke, I thought the way that startups were disrupting established industries was incredibly cool, and was intrigued by the idea of building a company from the ground up. I, upon finding out about the I&E Certificate then, immediately knew I wanted to check it out. However, I, after beginning my coursework and outside experiences, learned so much more than how to create a groundbreaking product, from managing client and customer expectations and relationships to strategic team building to marketing.
I will use the skills I have obtained through my certificate in any career path or project I work on going forward. After graduation, I will be working at Goldman Sachs in New York, on a fast-growing team that was founded just a few years ago and values creative idea generation, even in junior people. The team utilizes and embraces new financial technology products developed across the firm, and actively sources and trades with new clients. Within the team, I will specifically be working in interest rate and structured products, where I will constantly be interacting with macroeconomic financial markets, and hopefully be pitching creative investment strategies within these asset classes to clients. What I’ve learned from my I&E certificate, about how to find new customers and how to creatively think of new ideas, will definitely come in handy as I begin my professional life.
My Work with the Entrepreneurial World
Prior to arriving at Duke, I interned at Rokk3r Labs in Miami, which is a hybrid accelerator incubator. It opened my eyes to the world of startups for the first time and was a big motivator behind me becoming interested in the I&E Certificate. Thanks to the Certificate on campus, I was also able to get exposure to the startup world in Durham, having, for one of my experiences, worked with Duke Community Consulting as a team leader to conduct market research and guage potential student engagement for a local startup’s platform.
Perhaps my biggest and the proudest entrepreneurial venture was having launched a 501c3 organization, the Indian Children’s Aid and Nurture Charity, in my senior year of high school. The organization partnered with an established non-profit in New Delhi, India, to raise funds for impoverished children (of families who make less than $150 a month) with heart disease. I hope to continue this venture as I begin my career.
In my Capstone course, which I’m currently enrolled in, my group is working to provide a solution to urban parking. I look forward to presenting our final deliverable soon.