“I cannot draw a straight line between an idea in the physics lab and that vexing meta-ethics seminar at Stanford, or between a successful policy negotiation and an honors thesis. But following pure curiosity, making decisions when faced with ambiguous information, and tolerating and embracing the feeling of always being the outsider in my field du jour—that’s what a well-rounded liberal arts and science education taught me. I’m not afraid to switch sectors or secure employers, and I’m happy to leave silos to the missiles.”
Varun Sivaram is the Chief Technology Officer at ReNew Power Limited, a multibillion-dollar renewable energy firm that is India’s largest by installed capacity. He is also a senior research scholar at the Columbia University Center for Global Energy Policy. A Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar, and a member of the World Economic Forum Council on Urbanization, Varun was previously a consultant with the Cleantech Practice at McKinsey & Co, and the Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Los Angeles on Energy and Water Policy, an engineer with solar startups Nanosolar and Twin Creeks Technologies. At Oxford University Varun earned his Ph.D. in physics after graduating Phi Beta Kappa and with honors from Stanford University with degrees in engineering, physics, and international relations.