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Student profile: Rahul

Rahul Das
Plan II, Business Honors & Marketing
Certificate in Applied Statistical Modeling
Class of 2021

Hi friends! My name is Rahul Das, and I am junior here at UT majoring in Plan II, Business Honors, and Marketing, with a certificate in Applied Statistical Modeling. I know what you’re thinking – does he have time to do anything else besides schoolwork? Surprisingly, I do! I challenge myself academically because I’m terribly curious and love to learn. Fun fact: my junior year English teacher in high school imposed a daily question quota on me because of how many questions I had. However, it was my inquisitive nature that drew my attention to Plan II. A program that brings together intellectually curious students to discuss the most thought-provoking questions we face in today’s society – count me in!

Back in my hometown, a lot of my teachers defaulted to “just because” or “that’s what the textbook says” in response to my questions. I felt frustrated as I memorized facts without understanding their underlying significance. In Plan II, however, such curiosity is actually encouraged. Because Plan II classes are centered around student-led discussion, your curiosity determines how much you learn, and I love that! The fact that I have such an important role in my own education motivates me to be a better student and to think independently, a skill I’ve seen the value in a countless number of times during my college career. It’s honestly so relieving knowing that I can ask questions without feeling guilty about bothering others. My Plan II professors rarely care about the “what” and instead encourage us to consider why things are the way they are. For example, do we have free will? Even if I say I don’t, I still acted on my own volition to make that claim … so do we all inevitably have free will (#P2Philosophy)? These mind-bending questions have left me perplexed and hungry to learn more after every class, and I’m sure they’ll make you feel the same way.

Plan II’s benefits also extend beyond the program itself. The critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills I have developed in my Plan II courses have affected the way I think in all areas of my life. In my business courses, I now look at my assignments from an untraditional lens that allows me to bring unique insight a lot of my peers often don’t consider. For example, in my management course, we were tasked with ideating our own venture from scratch. With such a daunting task, many of my teammates were confused about where to even begin. However, the problem solving skills I picked up in my Plan II courses helped me structure my thoughts in a very ambiguous space and develop a plan for how we would tackle this problem. While most of our classmate pioneered traditional business ventures, our group created a unique business model that separated us from the rest of the groups and provided for a very rewarding and creative experience. The diversity and nature of Plan II courses have given me so many interdisciplinary skills that I use on a daily basis to supplement not only how I view my education but how I view the world around me.

Despite all the benefits Plan II has to offer as a program, I believe its greatest advantage resides in its community. The people in Plan II are unbelievably interesting and friendly. While it can feel intimidating to make friends on such a big campus of 50,000+, it’s comforting to have a fun and welcoming group of people to go to at the beginning of college. During my freshman year, a couple of my friends in Plan II and I formed an intramural volleyball team, and we were absolutely terrible! But I have never enjoyed losing more than I did with this team because we didn’t take ourselves too seriously and instead focused on enjoying our time with each other. In my philosophy class, I became close friends with three other students. We eventually formed a tight-knit study group (we called ourselves the philosophriends) and now are inseparable both in and out of class.

The amazing community, however, extends beyond the students within it and encompasses the wonderful professors we have as well. My Plan II professors have been some of the kindest and most understanding people I have ever met. My second semester of freshman year was really rough, and I often felt sad and upset because of what life kept throwing at me. I needed an adult on campus to share my feelings with, and my world literature professor, Professor Christian, served as that figure for me. Professor Christian made me feel okay with showing my emotions and understood that life in college was more than just academics. He dedicated hours of his own time outside of class and office hours to helping me during a time when I needed him the most. I genuinely don’t know what I would’ve done without him. Professor Christian is simply a depiction of how compassionate and caring Plan II professors are. They will be there for you both in and out of the classroom, and that’s invaluable to me. Professor Christian, if you’re reading this, thank you.

Plan II provides incredible value to students, even if they aren’t pursuing something directly related to the major. I ultimately want to create my own nonprofit focused on educational empowerment for children in orphanages, but Plan II has adapted my line of thinking to see how I can use business to create social good for others in need. I initially wanted to pursue a long-term career in consulting; however, the courses I have taken have helped me realize that I care more about making the world a better place through the causes I care about than sticking to career more in line with my business education. Through its curriculum and people, Plan II has fundamentally changed who I am as a person and how I view the world around me. I’m so excited for the remaining two years I have in this program and even more for the future of Plan II after I graduate as it continues to transform today’s students in tomorrow’s thought leaders.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    305 East 23rd St
    RLP 2.102
    Austin, Texas, 78712-1250