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Murdered GSM Student Identified, Remembered

Kanagala Seshadri Rao recalled as a gentle soul, excellent student

Kanagala Seshadri Rao, Boston University student murdered in Allston

Kanagala Seshadri Rao was found shot to death on April 19 in Allston.

Kanagala Seshadri Rao was a kind-hearted and gifted business student who loved computer games—especially Counter Strike—and seemed happiest when he was writing computer code.

Friends of Rao, a 24-year-old native of India and a student in the Graduate School of Management, offered these recollections as they reeled from the news that he had been found shot to death on an Allston street early Thursday morning.

“He excelled in the classroom,” says Kenneth Freeman, the School of Management’s Allen Questrom Professor and Dean. “He was admired and respected by his classmates. It’s a tremendous loss for his family and for BU. He had a bright future.”

“Sesh,” as his friends called him, attended the same undergraduate school in India as Lokesh Amarnat Ravindranathan (ENG’11), who remembers Rao (GSM’13) as one of the nicest people he knew. “He was very kind,” says Ravindranathan. “He was the kind of person who tries to network and makes others happy. I can’t believe that he is no more.”

Rao was one of several international students who organized a GSM team to compete in February at a students’  international commodity trading competition in Toronto. “I was impressed by Sesh’s knowledge, determination, and willingness to engage in a challenging task,” says associate professor of finance Marcel Rindisbacher. “To see him work and succeed in a multicultural team of students is the best a graduate program has to offer.”

Rindisbacher, who just weeks ago agreed to be a reference when Rao applied for a summer internship, says that “his tragic death is incomprehensible. I will miss him and remember an exceptional person.”

Assistant professor of finance Rodolfo Prieto, who also served as a reference for Rao, recalls the first student email he received for his fixed income securites course this semester, a full month before the first class: “It was Sesh, asking for a detailed list of book references and recommended reading.”

“One would always find him smiling and talking with fellow students,” Prieto recalls. “I am very saddened by his loss.”

Susan Antlitz, assistant director of graduate programs at SMG and adviser to the mathematical finance program in which Rao was enrolled, cited another example of his enterprising spirit: He was one of the few students who volunteered to assist with Commencement.

Police knocked at Rao’s apartment, a few minutes from the murder scene, at about 8:15 a.m. on Thursday to notify his two roommates, according to one of the roommates, who requested anonymity. “I’m in a state of shock now,” he says. While he didn’t know Rao well, he says, “We went out a couple of times. He’s from a good undergraduate school in India. He was obviously a smart guy.”

Friends from India set up an online tribute page after Rao and his classmates graduated from their undergraduate school. Peppered with internet shorthand (“u” for “you”) and affectionate nicknames (“Geekgod”), the page poignantly bids farewells that are now final in a way the writers didn’t imagine at the time.

“He is an absolute connoisseur when it comes to gadgets, be it computers, phones,” wrote Saurabh Sharma. “And he has legacy of an exceptional knowledge in that field. He is an avid gamer…aims high, plans big and puts in matching efforts to achieve something if he really wants it…altogether a kind-hearted, adorable friend, there for you when u need one the most.”

Lalatendu Patra recalled a computer whiz who always had time to share his knowledge and also enjoyed badminton and swimming. “I will cherish all the moments that I have spent [with] him, especially those in Kolkatta during summer training, where I had to jump from a running train because of him. lol. I will miss all his highly technical explanations of extremely nontechnical things.”

“Thanks, Shesh, for all your support these years. I am really grateful to have you as my friend. May God fulfill all your dreams and desires.”

In a letter sent Thursday to the Boston University community, President Robert Brown wrote that the University is deeply saddened at the loss of one of our students. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family and friends,” Brown wrote. “And we are outraged at this crime.”

Police have not announced suspects or a motive for the killing. Boston police and the Boston University Police Department are investigating.

Leslie Friday can be reached at lfriday@bu.edu. Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.


28 Comments on Murdered GSM Student Identified, Remembered

  • Friend on 04.22.2012 at 1:21 pm

    RIP Seshadri !

  • anonymous on 04.22.2012 at 8:08 pm

    Can the author please share the link for his online tribute page.

  • Jake on 04.23.2012 at 9:42 am

    This guy sounds like he was the most harmless person ever. What drives individuals to go out and end someone’s life in such circumstances??

  • robin on 04.23.2012 at 10:13 am


  • bu student on 04.23.2012 at 10:14 am

    rip sesh

  • another bu student on 04.23.2012 at 10:27 am

    rip, sesh.

  • student on 04.23.2012 at 10:58 am

    I would really like to know the motive. Allston always seemed like a safer area of Boston. They say “isolated incident”, by the sounds of this, it seems like a random occurrence. Now a killer is out there

  • Pam on 04.23.2012 at 11:02 am

    What a sad sad event. I hope his family knows how many others grieve with them. This is a terrible loss. At this time, I’d like to believe that we are all reincarnated and that our karma continues. But in any case, his spirit will not be forgotten.

  • Grace on 04.23.2012 at 11:32 am

    sad. RIP.

  • SMGPEMBA on 04.23.2012 at 11:46 am

    Poor kid; no official motive yet, but this looks like a random act of violence. Came to America, to one of its safer cities, to better his chances of making it, but ended up getting killed buy some degenerate, probably over some ridiculously low dollar amount…RIP

  • smg alumni on 04.23.2012 at 12:09 pm

    incredibly sad & quite a loss for his family and the school of management. to all current students – please stay safe and try to stick with a buddy no matter where you live (boston, brookline, allston, etc.) especially when coming home late at night or early in the morning. it is absolutely heartbreaking to hear of these stories.

  • Surya on 04.23.2012 at 12:16 pm

    It seems that this boy was innocent and kind, I am shattered to know that he was murdered. I simply don’t understand why his life had to end this way! RIP and I pray for his friends and family.

  • Iris on 04.23.2012 at 12:24 pm

    R.I.P. It sounds like we lost a wonderful human being.

  • PALINEE on 04.23.2012 at 1:23 pm


  • Everly on 04.23.2012 at 2:05 pm

    I didn’t know Sesh, but reading about his life and his spirit is inspiring. Makes me want to work harder and do better.

  • Alumnus on 04.23.2012 at 2:15 pm

    So incredibly sad. RIP Sesh

  • Kinnar shah on 04.23.2012 at 5:59 pm

    RIP Sesh. He will always be remembered. Feel very sad for him and his family.

  • LJ on 04.23.2012 at 6:17 pm

    RIP Sesh

  • Undergraduate on 04.23.2012 at 7:29 pm

    This sucks ass! How can someone do this and just slip away into the night? It’s infuriating to even think that no one will be brought to justice. Deepest of thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends.

  • alumni on 04.23.2012 at 9:29 pm

    My deepest condolences to his family. The world has lost another innocent and a guilty monster must be found. Please keep a moment of silence to honor Sesh life. He will Stay always alive in our shared BU soul that is now mourning his loss. RIP friend!

  • Diego on 04.24.2012 at 4:29 pm


  • Chris on 04.24.2012 at 4:37 pm

    God I hope they catch whoever killed him. This is so unfortunate.

  • Jeff Lambe on 04.25.2012 at 6:42 pm

    Hopefully this tragedy will make the Police patrol the Allston area more frequently and thoroughly so that this kind of cold-blooded violence never happens at BU again. Sesh, his family, and friends are in my thoughts and prayers; may the waste-of-life scum who did this face swift justice.


  • Noemi on 04.27.2012 at 5:02 pm

    My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  • MK on 04.27.2012 at 11:31 pm

    RIP Shesh

  • Cindy on 03.08.2014 at 12:36 pm


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