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Bryan Havens

CNS 220
Similarly to how I set up my first informational interview, I emailed a few of my dads
colleagues and set up a phone interview with Rathna Davuluri. Mr. Davuluri is an R&S Strategic
Advisor at Exxon Mobil, and I began the interview by asking him about his education and how it
prepared him to get where he is today. Mr. Davuluri received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering
from Illinois Institute of Technology, and said that he always knew he wanted to be an engineer,
but was unsure what he wanted to specialize in. He explained to me that a professor in college
turned him onto chemical engineering, and he fell in love ever since then. When I asked how
being a chemical engineer compared to other engineering disciplines, he said it isnt easy, but
then again nothing [in engineering] is. If youre willing to put in the work, its a rewarding
subject to know and learn. I found this information helpful, as I have previously considered
going to school for engineering after Wake, and hearing this insight will help me when it comes
time to make that decision.
As I continued the interview, I asked about his career path and how he got to where he is
today. Like my first interview, I also asked his opinion on Krumboltzs concept of happenstance
and how it affected his career. To this, he replied that he began his career working for Particulate
Solid Research, Inc., an association of companies that provide funding for research in
fluidization, solids transport, and other fluid-particle areas. With PSRI, he led research programs
that dealt with fluidized bed systems for chemicals and refining processes. While working there,
he said he gained recognition for his work, and marketed himself so that he would eventually
receive a job offer from ExxonMobil. This is where his experience with happenstance came in.
While he said he enjoyed his research with PSRI and worked there for 8 years, he said he had to
seize the opportunity when it came to him. This is when he decided to move from Chicago to
Northern Virginia and make the most of an opportunity with a nationally-recognized company.
Mr. Davuluri began his career with ExxonMobil as a Senior Research Engineer, and has
held various positions since then, including Senior Engineering Associate, Hydroprocessing
Section Head, and R&S Strategic Advisor. When I asked about what steps he took to earn his
current position, he explained to me that he held a strong work ethic and was able to distinguish
himself from others. This reminded me of several discussions we had in class, that you have to
market yourself and make yourself unique to employers. I asked if he ever considered working
for another company, and he said that his research with ExxonMobil has kept him engaged for
almost 17 years. He explained his typical tasks and problems at ExxonMobil to me, which
included assisting in the integration of newly developed technology, providing support for
chemical research activities, developing and implementing methodology for process scaling, and
evaluating competing technology.
I found my discussion with Mr. Davuluri very insightful. As he explained his job
functions and work week to me, his passion for chemical engineering became evident. When I
asked what the best part of his job was, he told me that his love for technology makes his job fun

and easy. He said he liked working with ExxonMobil because his company is constantly
developing new techniques and technologies that contribute to the field. I think that my biggest
take away from this interview was that when I find what I love to do, my career should be fun
and enjoyable. This information and advice that Mr. Davuluri gave me coincided with what
weve been learning in class. As he told me about how he came to be an engineer, I was
reminded of my previous interest in engineering. While my major is currently Math/Econ and
Im unsure of what I want to do with my degree, my talk with Mr. Davuluri reminded me of how
much I liked studying engineering and technological development in high school. I think that
after this talk, I may strongly consider pursuing a post-graduate engineering degree at a different

Bryan Havens

Dear Mr. Davuluri,
Id like to thank you for your time, as I sincerely enjoyed our discussion the other day. I
found our talk very helpful, as I look to develop my career path in the near future. Our
discussion on chemical engineering reminded me of my previous interest in the field, and I found
your advice for studying engineering very helpful. I look forward to keeping in contact, and will
keep you updated on my advances in my job search.

Bryan Havens