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Known as “the Happiness Guru” Dr. Srikumar Rao is an expert in personal development and the creator and teacher of the acclaimed MBA course “Creativity and Personal Mastery,” which was associated with Columbia University until 2005. The former executive for Warner Communications and McGraw Hill infuses his experience in the corporate world with respected spiritual philosophies to effect personal transformation in business students and senior management internationally.

Dr. Rao has authored two books, Are You Ready to Succeed? and Happiness at Work, as well as the audio course The Personal Mastery Program, all of which are bestsellers and have been translated into a number of languages. He has received wide media coverage and acclaim, including features in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The London Times, The Independent, Time, Financial Times, Fortune, Business Week, The Guardian, and Forbes; he has also been a speaker for TED, Leading@Google, and Thinkers 50 interview. Dr. Rao has been a contributing editor for Forbes and a featured author for many other publications.

Full Profile

Dr. Rao has helped thousands of executives and entrepreneurs all over the world discover deep meaning. His methods have enabled them to achieve quantum leaps in effectiveness. Graduates of his workshops have become more creative and more inspiring leaders. He conceived the innovative course Creativity and Personal Mastery. Students found it so overwhelmingly powerful that it remains the only business school course in the world to have its own alumni association.

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Marketing from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
  • Degree in Physics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University
  • An MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

    Conducted Workshops for executives of:

  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Merril Lynch
  • Mc Donalds
  • Chubb
  • IBM
  • United Airlines
  • Allstate
  • Johnson & Johnson

    Contributing Writer:

  • Forbes (Contributing Editor)
  • Inc.com
  • CEO.com

    Consulted for the following Companies:

  • RCA
  • Reuters
  • Citicorp
  • GTE
  • Pan Am
  • Diner’s Club

    Member of:

  • American Society of Journalists and Authors

    Taught at:

  • Columbia Business School
  • London Business School
  • The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
  • The Haas School of Management at the University of California at Berkeley

  • Srikumar Rao Speaker Videos Back to top

    Dr. Srikumar Rao, Happiness and Creativity Speaker: Keynote


    Pointing out that life is too short to be unhappy, Dr. Srikumar Rao makes the case that anyone can live a life that makes “their blood sing” at the thought of being who they are and doing what they do. He presents powerful exercises taken from the teachings of history’s most influential leaders to combat obstacles that we constantly allow to get in the way of our happiness.

    He begins by addressing mental chatter, that rambling inner monologue that starts off from the moment we wake up, drowns out other people’s voices when we should be paying attention to them, and sometimes keeps us tossing and turning late into the night.

    “We construct our life with our mental chatter,” Dr. Rao states, explaining how it leads us to choice certain emotional states over others. “There are dozens of times everyday when you face such a decision point in your life, and in many of those, perhaps the majority of those, you choose to occupy a domain which leaves you angry, frustrated, rejected, and in a not very nice place, and you never recognize that you have chosen to occupy that domain.”

    Dr. Srikumar Rao, Happiness and Creativity Speaker: Keynote


    Dr. Srikumar Rao, Happiness and Creativity Speaker: TED Talk



    Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


    Dr. Srikumar Rao shows audiences that we live in “a reality” rather “the reality,” meaning that the world we experience has been constructed by us. Therefore we have the power to deconstruct the parts we don’t like and rebuild them into something fulfilling and enjoyable.

    Influenced by his Eastern philosophical roots and the greatest spiritual teachers of history, Dr. Rao’s programs and methods focus on breaking out of the “I’d be happy if…” model, and embrace the happiness for which our brains are “hard-wired.” As he stated on the original course syllabus, from which his programs and exercises are based, “This course will profoundly change your life, and if not, both of us have failed.”

    Creativity and Personal Mastery
    Creativity and Personal Mastery is a booster rocket that will lift your career to a trajectory that you cannot even conceive. It will improve every aspect of your life – personal, professional, spiritual and civic. Your relationships will flourish and new ones will develop. There will be markedly less stress in your life. Serendipitous good fortune will stalk you.

    Additional Programs:

  • Happiness in the Workplace
  • Unconventional Strategies for Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life
  • Your Job with a Capital J
  • Freedom and Happiness
  • The Nature of Work and Life


  • Srikumar Rao Speaker Testimonials Back to top

    “Professor Rao, words cannot express my gratitude for what you have given me…your course ABSOLUTELY changed my life… I have been with my company (Marsh) nearly 8 years now and I'm certain that the longevity has to do with you and the course helping me SEE my work and my existence in a totally different perspective!...Just learning that there are many perspectives and I get to choose!!! So I chose the good one, the most beneficial one…this is a journey that goes on and on…I send much love.”
    - Rose Puerto Vice President, Marsh USA Inc.

    “Professor Rao's teachings are transformational. Intrigued by the promise of a happier way of life I started doing the exercises with a small group of peers. It changed the way I view the world. Am more content and fulfilled, much happier and have tools to handle adversity. I highly recommend Professor Rao.”
    - Matthew Weiss CEO of Weiss and Associates

    “Thanks to CPM there are so many areas where I have experienced and am experiencing positive change. I have received tools that help me not sweat the small stuff and think more holistically about the big stuff. Thanks to the course and its amazing alumni network I have certainly become a more peaceful, patient, open and inclusive person. I know this sounds like a cliché but CPM has changed and moved me for the better.”
    - Manu Aannd MBA, Haas School of Business, 2008, Product Marketing, Adobe Systems Inc.

    “There has been so much learning…the noise in my head on random topics has slowed down…days are more peaceful and productive…have powerful tools to use when I hit a stumbling block…the keys to my happiness rest with me…I am migrating from a life where patterns are predicated on past experiences and habits to a life where only possibilities exist. This is HUGE…the retreat experience was an incredible gift…CPM had a profound impact on me.”
    - Neeraj Garg Director, Epoch Investment Partners

    “Creativity and Personal Mastery (CPM) is a course that is clearly focused on the values, needs and future of its students. Many MBA courses focus on creating great technicians. CPM is helping to create great leaders and (even more important) to create great people. Dr. Rao's course helps ensure that students have a clear view of who they are and what they want from life. CPM is a great step in helping graduates live a life that is both personally meaningful and makes a contribution to our world.”
    - Marshall Goldsmith Marshall Goldsmith Partners, LLC




    * Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    “Professor Rao, words cannot express my gratitude for what you have given me…your course ABSOLUTELY changed my life… I have been with my company (Marsh) nearly 8 years now and I'm certain that the longevity has to do with you and the course helping me SEE my work and my existence in a totally different perspective!...Just learning that there are many perspectives and I get to choose!!! So I chose the good one, the most beneficial one…this is a journey that goes on and on…I send much love.”
    - Rose Puerto Vice President, Marsh USA Inc.

    “Professor Rao's teachings are transformational. Intrigued by the promise of a happier way of life I started doing the exercises with a small group of peers. It changed the way I view the world. Am more content and fulfilled, much happier and have tools to handle adversity. I highly recommend Professor Rao.”
    - Matthew Weiss CEO of Weiss and Associates

    “Thanks to CPM there are so many areas where I have experienced and am experiencing positive change. I have received tools that help me not sweat the small stuff and think more holistically about the big stuff. Thanks to the course and its amazing alumni network I have certainly become a more peaceful, patient, open and inclusive person. I know this sounds like a cliché but CPM has changed and moved me for the better.”
    - Manu Aannd MBA, Haas School of Business, 2008, Product Marketing, Adobe Systems Inc.

    “There has been so much learning…the noise in my head on random topics has slowed down…days are more peaceful and productive…have powerful tools to use when I hit a stumbling block…the keys to my happiness rest with me…I am migrating from a life where patterns are predicated on past experiences and habits to a life where only possibilities exist. This is HUGE…the retreat experience was an incredible gift…CPM had a profound impact on me.”
    - Neeraj Garg Director, Epoch Investment Partners

    “Creativity and Personal Mastery (CPM) is a course that is clearly focused on the values, needs and future of its students. Many MBA courses focus on creating great technicians. CPM is helping to create great leaders and (even more important) to create great people. Dr. Rao's course helps ensure that students have a clear view of who they are and what they want from life. CPM is a great step in helping graduates live a life that is both personally meaningful and makes a contribution to our world.”
    - Marshall Goldsmith Marshall Goldsmith Partners, LLC


    Are YOU Ready to Succeed?: Unconventional Strategies for Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life

    This book draws from the teachings of the world’s greatest Masters and can thus lead you to both material success and spiritual growth. The secrets revealed and exercises provided can propel you to levels of success that you perhaps only dreamed about.


    Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful - No Matter What

    Learn to create resilience and happiness no matter what’s going on in your life.
    In these tough times, there are few people who are completely happy with the current conditions. From business executives to the everyday Joe or Jane, everyone seems to be going through a rough economic and personal crunch. But acclaimed business school Professor Srikumar Rao says that we can learn to create joy no matter what else may be going on around us.

    Rao shows you that it isn't the negative thing that happens to you that causes your unhappiness, it's how you see it. Happiness at Work is a thought-provoking new title that moves the mind away from negativity and forces you to resist labeling situations as "bad", but rather seeing them as neutral.

    Creativity and Personal Mastery
    Creativity and Personal Mastery is a booster rocket that will lift your career to a trajectory that you cannot even conceive. It will improve every aspect of your life – personal, professional, spiritual and civic. Your relationships will flourish and new ones will develop. There will be markedly less stress in your life. Serendipitous good fortune will stalk you.

    Additional Programs:

  • Happiness in the Workplace
  • Unconventional Strategies for Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life
  • Your Job with a Capital J
  • Freedom and Happiness
  • The Nature of Work and Life

  • Dr. Srikumar Rao, Happiness and Creativity Speaker: Keynote


    Pointing out that life is too short to be unhappy, Dr. Srikumar Rao makes the case that anyone can live a life that makes “their blood sing” at the thought of being who they are and doing what they do. He presents powerful exercises taken from the teachings of history’s most influential leaders to combat obstacles that we constantly allow to get in the way of our happiness.

    He begins by addressing mental chatter, that rambling inner monologue that starts off from the moment we wake up, drowns out other people’s voices when we should be paying attention to them, and sometimes keeps us tossing and turning late into the night.

    “We construct our life with our mental chatter,” Dr. Rao states, explaining how it leads us to choice certain emotional states over others. “There are dozens of times everyday when you face such a decision point in your life, and in many of those, perhaps the majority of those, you choose to occupy a domain which leaves you angry, frustrated, rejected, and in a not very nice place, and you never recognize that you have chosen to occupy that domain.”

    Dr. Srikumar Rao, Happiness and Creativity Speaker: Keynote


    Dr. Srikumar Rao, Happiness and Creativity Speaker: TED Talk