New Chief Marketing Officer Takes Strategic View

Divya Varshney. Photo by Lloyd DeGrane

While Divya Varshney attended the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, earning her master’s of business administration in 1999, she was not even aware of UChicagoTech. Recently named to the new position of UChicagoTech’s chief marketing officer, Varshney now has the opportunity to continue to improve the awareness of the University of Chicago’s Office of Technology and Intellectual Property – along with the University’s groundbreaking research – for both internal and external audiences.

Varshney has many goals in her new position going far beyond just building awareness. “I am working to position the office as a catalyst and leader in bringing together stakeholders to advance innovation at the university,” she says. “For every asset at any time, we want to have an active set of people or companies to connect with in order to move the portfolio forward.”

She intends to bring a more deliberate and strategic marketing orientation to UChicagoTech. By that, she means keeping a better pulse on the various markets with which UChicagoTech is engaged; being more partner oriented; packaging or bundling assets together; and making it extremely easy for others to work with the office, whether they are from the University or the business world, whether they are faculty, alumni, investors or entrepreneurs.

“We have to keep the relationships with our partners foremost in mind and actively maintain the relationships and understand our partners’ ongoing needs, rather than trying to shop around one license, idea or invention at a time,” she says. “By developing these relationships, we will have the opportunity to turn them into long-term, strategic partnerships.”

Varshney also intends to strengthen the working ties between UChicagoTech and the Booth School and to increase the capacity of UChicagoTech several fold by scaling up the number and quality of partnerships inside and outside the University.

Corporate ties
Having evaluated early-stage technology from universities while working in the corporate world, Varshney is well positioned to assist UChicagoTech work that equation from the other side of the table. She has a broad, diverse background working in the corporate world, primarily in the life sciences. She has held senior marketing positions at MasterCard, Medtronic and the Sorin Group.

As Vice President of the Customer Group at MasterCard, Varshney managed a Top Ten account and developed a number of marketing strategies and partnerships. As Marketing Director at Medtronic, where she began her career in life sciences, Varshney worked in several strategy and marketing roles in the cardiovascular and neurological businesses. And as Vice President of Strategy and Marketing at the Sorin Group, a European medical technology firm, she led the strategy, marketing, medical education and technical services functions for the United States.

In addition Varshney has experience as a management consultant and helped formulate a number of turn-around and growth strategies, most recently with companies in healthcare.

“One thing that attracted me to this new position at UChicagoTech was the chance to bring my corporate experience to an academic setting,” she says. “Also, I wanted to be in the center of innovation and entrepreneurial activity.”

Other things that attracted her are her fondness for Chicago Booth and her high regard for the University of Chicago. “Just like the University, I want to have an impact and make a difference in the world,” she says. “An idea is only as good as the change it can make in the world.”

“Divya will make more people aware of the cutting edge research coming out of the University of Chicago and the prominence of the University,” says Alan Thomas, director of UChicagoTech.

By Greg Borzo

*UChicago Tech is now the Tech Commercialization team at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in recognition of a $50M gift from Michael Polsky in 2016 to expanded the Polsky Center in order to unify and enhance UChicago’s leading venture creation initiatives. Learn more about this transformational gift. >>

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