Hi, I am R.A. Farrokhnia
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Most of my work at Columbia and beyond could be encapsulated by one work: Imagineering. The way this portmanteau (combination of Imagination and Engineering) has been first defined by Alcoa back in 1940’s captures the essence of what I strive to do, both academically and professionally:“Imagineering is letting your imagination soar, and then engineering it down to earth.” One of main underlying principles of my work is that deploying creative thinking with abandon, while an integral component of inventive problem solving, cannot on its own lead to breakthroughs; it must be coupled with a realistic plan of execution that takes into account constraints and then strives to rise above them.


I have designed and developed my Columbia Business School Program and a Master Class on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Applied Creativity in Financial Services, with a special focus on Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Financial Technology. The goals of the Program are to combine the best of academia and practice, educate students in infusing innovation in the full-spectrum of a buyside deal-making process (from due-diligence to acquisition to growth-driven holding period to exit), and train the next generation of business leaders who are multi-faceted individuals, well-versed in financial and operational analysis (in particular from a buyside perspective) as well as adept at creative thinking and connecting the proverbial dots.

The cornerstone of the Program is the Master Class, which is comprised of three modules: 01) class lectures, cases, and notes; 02) guest-speaker series and presentations by leaders in private equity and ventures capital worlds as well as entrepreneurs and professionals from creative enterprises; and 03) structured internship placements at top-tier private equity and venture capital firms in New York and beyond. To learn more, you can view course page here.

Columbia Business School


In the spirit of fostering Imagineering at Columbia with those who do the actual building, my Engineering Program is first of its kind to incorporate a multi-disciplinary approach to product development and launch, where deep design and business disciplines are brought in at the very early stages of the process.

The main component of the program is DAPME Lab, an intensive, project-based seminar in which students will: 01) learn a multi-disciplinary approach to evidence-based product design, 02) agile project planning and execution, 03) rapid and iterative MVP prototyping, and 04) launch strategy formulation and implementation. Within such context, students will apply lean techniques in developing inventive, tech-driven, and design-centric solutions to real business briefs and live corporate/startup projects.

Practical use of design thinking, design studio, and iterative design sprint methodologies (as deployed at Google Ventures, with which I have a long-standing academic collaboration) are heavily used in class, as are systematic approach to Lean User Research, User Experience (UX), and User Interface (UI) design and deployment. To learn more, you can view my course summary syllabus here.

Columbia Engineering School


Nowadays there are few, if any, industries left in the world that have not been impacted or disrupted by technology, some more so than others. Journalism and media have been among those disciplines that have experienced both major upheavals and groundbreaking innovation in how they conduct business.

My main interest and involvement with Columbia Journalism School stems from the desire to contribute to the innovation in the Journalism, in particular storytelling through technology and data, while maintaining the highest journalistic standards and integrity in reporting. Furthermore, as a Board Member of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program, I strive to teach top business and economics reporters that get admitted to the highly-selective program the foundation and nuances of the financial industry (specifically the buyside) so that they would be even more knowledgeable about what they report on. Lastly, I am interested in being at the leading edge of combining Journalism, Computer Science, Data Analytics, and Design (including Data Visualization) to not only increase engagement and impact, but also support and enhance next-gen storytelling techniques and tool (including mobile devices and application).

Columbia Journalism School


I am the Founder and Executive Director of a new (and really cool) graduate program at Columbia. Together with my designer, we are hard at work building the curriculum and related initiatives (including our advisory- and young alumni boards). As such, we are in stealth mode at the moment.

Stay tuned as we will share more details in the upcoming months.


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