Carnegie Mellon University

Varun Deshpande

Hometown: Mumbai, India
EST&P Concentration: Engineering & Public Policy
B.S. Electronics Engineering, Veermata Jijabai Technology Institute

Varun completed his undergraduate studies in engineering with a major in electronics from Mumbai. Immediately after, he started working with Texas Instruments in India in the sales & marketing team as a key account manager handling global accounts.

Owing to his growing interest in the energy domain, he moved to an energy analytics startup in Mumbai; where he got acquainted with energy markets, renewable power producers and cloud based analytics platform design & implementations.

To expand his knowledge and consolidate his understanding of the energy domain, he chose to apply for a fitting master’s programs in the US and choose EST&P as the step forward. His view on EST&P-

“Looking at the trisected structure of core courses, disciplinary concentration & breadth electives immediately gave me a sense of flexibility that most other programs lacked. It seemed liked the apt program to allow customization to the skillsets I was interested in mastering at the same time allowing me to broaden my scope“varun2

What surprised Varun about the EST&P program was the number of social events that were held for the students. He felt it gave many opportunities to interact with other students from the cohort, with the professors and staff.

Learning about energy and analytics from professors who are at the cutting edge of their research is an enriching experience. At the same time, being able to give time to health and indulge in hobbies is what he values most at Carnegie Mellon.

Apart from extra-curricular activities, Varun is always looking to attend interesting seminars on energy and sustainability which are offered frequently at CMU. He's on the planning committee of the Energy Club; where he helps organize readings, energy documentaries and skype calls with interesting energy companies.

Varun is also a part of the CMU Hyperloop team, participating in the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, which seeks to build a new type of transportation system- where a levitating pod moves at incredible speed in a partially evacuated tube.

On the social side, he is actively engaged with the Ballroom dance team at Carnegie Mellon, where he learned the Waltz, Tango and Salsa.  He recently became a member of Humanist league at CMU where members engage in deep philosophical discussions, as well as, Pugwash, where students get together to discuss issues at the intersection of technology and ethics. Once in a while, you will find him on the CMU lawns with the Juggling club when it’s nice and sunny!

When Varun first came to Carnegie Mellon, he wasn’t exactly clear about which area to focus on within the scope of energy. By coming to CMU, he was able to experience and understand the breadth of energy. Within the first semester, Varun decided to set his focus on developing the skills in machine learning, analytics and optimization.

His favorite class at CMU was “Introduction to Sustainable Engineering”, within the Civil Engineering department taught by Professor Jeanne VanBriesen. This course expands an engineer’s perspective and adds different lenses dealing with planetary resources, life cycle of a product, embodied energy and  the connectedness of things. It especially helps energy professionals when designing or consulting new energy engineering systems.

After completing two full-time semesters, Varun landed an internship with SparkMeter, a Washington DC based startup.  They manufacture smart meters for developing nations. Upon graduation, he hopes to be a full-time data scientist; building data models that help bring insights into energy use, which can help design effective energy efficiency measures.