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As an engineer with considerable tech skills and an MBA, Shankar Venkataraman takes a comprehensive view of business. And he credits his time at Haas as a crucial part of developing this capacity.

“At Haas I got exposure to classmates who were on the product management side and a chance to participate in entrepreneurship competitions, both of which helped me get a better sense of business,” he says. “I went from being a pure techie to being someone who can see the bigger picture—the forest and the trees.”

The combination has served him well throughout his career. In September, Venkataraman became CTO at marketing consulting firm EverString. Previously, he served as chief scientist at Marketo and as a distinguished engineer at IBM, where he managed that company’s Big Data and analytics platform. And he’s worked in various leadership capacities at a variety of other firms, including Remedy, Outride, Yodlee, and Epiphany.

At EverString, Venkataraman is helping apply machine learning to marketing to help better understand customers. “We’re trying to get to the point where we marketers and salespeople can create ‘play lists’ of leads and opportunities similar to the way you get the music you’re seeking on Pandora,” he says.

Fully knowing one’s target market means toggling between macro and micro, between industry trends and individual customer needs, a challenge when something needs to change, Venkataraman says. But the skills he gained at Haas give him the confidence to solve any problem.

“If you get too comfortable, you’ve got to find a way to make things uncomfortable—because innovation comes from the need to seek order from disorder,” he says. “The ability to be flexible keeps us creative.” —Kate Madden Yee

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Shankar Venkataraman, MBA 00

Shankar Venkataraman, MBA 00

Chief Technology Officer, EverString
San Mateo, Calif.