An Interview With Karthik Varada

by Arasu Arun


Who is Karthik Varada?

Only this year’s freshers wouldn’t personally know who Karthik Varada is – but nevertheless, most us have heard of him. He was the President of the Gymkhana 2013-14. Being very responsible and visionary, Varada gained immense respect from the student community here as not only a good manager, but a great leader as well.

He is currently pursuing a Masters in International Technology Management for Innovation at the University of Tokyo.

The Interview


Me: Hello and thanks for agreeing to the interview! It’s election time here and there’s obviously a lot of hype and commotion around campus. So, we at LitSoc decided to do an edition dedicated to the elections. Instead of a cliche criticism and analysis of the current Gymkhana and candidates, we wanted something that’ll spark thoughts among the student body here. For that, we needed insightful opinions and your name popped into our minds immediately.

KV: Well, thanks and no problem. (Well, he said something on those grounds)

Me: I’m not gonna ask you any lame questions like “Why did you become the President?” or “What did you learn from your experiences?”. It’s gonna be a quite abstract discussion regarding some relevant topics.

KV: Haha… fine, sure.

Me: Before we proceed, I know that you are studying at UTokyo, but what exactly are you studying there? And why did you pursue it?

KV: I’m pursuing a Masters in International Technology Management for Innovation here. I took it up because I really like the course and I got a sweet scholarship, as well. People consider me an insightful man with many ideas. I want to devote myself to the ideas I have and UTokyo is giving me a great opportunity for that.

By the way, I did my B. Tech. in Mechanical.

Me: Cool! And how do you like the culture there. And while we’re at that topic, are you an anime or manga fan, by any change? 

KV:  Uh.. no. I’m not a manga or anime fan. In fact, I didn’t know much about Japanese culture until I came here. But I really like the people here, now.

Let me tell you one thing. I’m taking up this class, where there are students from 20-30 different countries. As I talk to more and more of them, they all tell me that they love Japan, both the land and the people here.


The interview was a 2.5 hours long Hangout and many many topics were covered – both formally and casually.

As I can’t put all of it into one article, I’ve decided to split it into 5 modules – ie. separate articles in this blog. The headings will give the broad topics discussed, which are:


  1. Communications and Interactions
    • Varada discusses how he feels communication between the Gymkhana and the students must be
    • He also talks about his proposals and idea for a Student Senate, which would bridge many gaps
  2. Budgets, Funding and Managing
  • Varada discusses the system of getting funds and budgets for the Gymkhana and the fests
  • Also, he makes comparisons to the system in older IITs and how the system here should evolve
  1. Academic Reforms – the Grand Vision
  • Varada talks about his Gymkhana’s vision for the students
  • He tells us about the Academic Advisory Council (AAC), which was formed as a result of his initiative
  1. The Clubs and Social Reforms – a New Vision
  • Varada talks about the clubs and how he feels they should improve
  • He also discusses the CET, which was an initiative to improve the performance of the clubs






Me: Wow… talking with you was very enriching! You really are not only knowledgeable, but very insightful, as well.

KV:  Haha.. Don’t flatter me, too much. I had a nice time talking with you, as well.

Me: Before we finish, do you have anything to say to the coming Gymkhana? What would your advice to them be?

KV:  Hm… there are quite a bit of things to say. But the most important of them all is – have a grand vision and stick to it, always.

By vision, I don’t mean trivial things like repairing everything in time. I’m referring to abstact and important things that will take years or maybe even a decade to fulfill. For me, my conviction was Academic Reforms. This sort of vision should be the guide for the Gymkhana.


Considering the length of the interview, I had to cut down a few points here and there. If you want any enunciation on what Karthik Varada told me, feel free to contact me.  

NOTE: If you want any more information regarding the proposed Student Senate, documentations of the Academic Advisory Committee, or the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, drop me an email.

— Arasu Arun


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