Portrait of Rain Therapeutics CEO Avanish Vellanki

Executive Spotlight: Avanish Vellanki

Friday, April 8, 2022

Avanish Vellanki

Avanish Vellanki, '04 MBA


CEO and co-founder




Avanish Vellanki and his company, Rain Therapeutics, are at the forefront of developing new technologies that may better treat cancer patients.


After working in investment banking in New York City, Vellanki, ’04 MBA, has since pivoted to working in the biotechnology field. Vellanki spoke to the Carlson School about what motivates him in his work, how he approaches leading others, and what recent graduates can do to adapt to the changing work environment.

What drives you in your day-to-day work?

Rain Therapeutics is a cancer drug development organization, so we are developing therapies for patients with cancer that don’t really have other therapies. These patients are dying and dealing with some of the most serious forms of cancer. On a day-today basis, we interact with patients and families who have seen a loved one deteriorate. 

I think what gives me, and so many people in this industry, motivation is our work has a very tangible benefit and result. We’re directly developing a drug to help a patient, and that gives us motivation every single day.

Are there leadership principles you try to stick to?

I think you have to articulate your vision. I think many people who come and work for a company want to work for a team that has a shared vision and a leadership team that can show that they will continue to hustle, that they’re not removed from the day-to-day grind, and that they’re leading by example.

For Carlson School graduates who are entering the workforce today, what advice would you give them?

Dream big. There’s nothing to be gained from moderating your expectations or your ambitions. Make sure you hustle, be resilient, and are creative in your strategy and how to invest in yourself in a career.


Spring 2022 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Spring 2022 alumni magazine

Strength is determined by how we rise in the face of challenges. 

The Carlson School community remains an unstoppable force. 

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