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IIM Americas Newsletter a 501c(6) not-for-profit organization

Q4, 2015 Vol. 8

IIM Kashipur

CONTENTS Editorial Message from the President Meet an Entrepreneur Nik’s Column Photo Gallery Chapter Contacts

Trivia Nuts & Bolts Life after IIMs Trivia Solution

editorial Hello fellow IIM alumni

Greetings!! It gives us immense pleasure to bring to you the eighth newsletter of IIM Americas. The objective of this newsletter is to be a platform for everyone to interact with the IIM alumni based in the Americas. As part of Meet an Entrepreneur Series we interviewed Anand Adaya, Founder & CEO of Greenlight Technologies.

Sonali Rathi-Pramanik

With this issue, we have also started a new “Nik’s Column” brought to you by Nik Dholakia. If you know an IIM alum whom we should interview, please do let us know. This newsletter thrives on contributions from its members.

Sameer Mittal

We hope that you will enjoy this edition. Thanks and happy reading!!! IIM Americas Editorial Team

Namrata Poddar

Hello fellow alumni,

Message from the President

Greetings! On behalf of the Board of IIM Americas, I am delighted to share with you the highlights from Q4 2015 and our upcoming events. •

Change is our newsletter leader Goodbye Tarun: After several years of dedicated service, Tarun Mehra rolled-off from the position of IIM Americas newsletter leader. Thank you Tarun for your leadership. Welcome Sonali: We are delighted to welcome Sonali Rathi-Pramanik as our new newsletter team leader. Sonali is an IIM Lucknow alum based in Dallas, TX and member of the IIM Americas board.

Nik’s Column Our quarterly newsletter will carry a new column by Nikhilesh “Nik” Dholakia. Nik is an IIMAhmedabad alum based in Rhode Island. Welcome to the team Nik.

Q4 Events • IIMagine 2015 – IIM alumni Conference in Boston was held on Saturday October 3, 2015 @Boston University, MA. Theme of the conference was “Inspire, Develop, Connect”. The conference was attended by a record number of alumni. • IIM-Connect 2015 - IIM alumni Conference in New York/New Jersey on Saturday October 17, 2015 @BNY Mellon, Manhattan, New York. Read more about this event in “Nik’s Column” in this issue. Link to the video recording of the event is here.

Ashima Jain President

Upcoming Events • Pinnacle 2016 – IIM alumni Conference in San Francisco-Bay Area on Saturday April 23, 2015 @Googleplex, Mountain View, CA. You can find details here.

Message from the President

• IIM Americas board • Office bearers: • Ashima Jain (President & Director) • Jayant Swamy (Treasurer & Director)

• Dr. Beena George ( Secretary & Director) • Other board members: • Suresh Madan (Chairman & Director) • Hazurasingh Siviya (Webmaster & Director) • Tarun Mehra (Director) • Harish Narasimhan (Director) • Sonali Rathi-Pramanik (Director) • Social presence: Do take a minute to check out and sign up: • Our website ( • Our LinkedIn group ( my_groups-b-grp-v) • Our Facebook group ( • Our Facebook page ( • Our YouTube channel ( sts) • Our twitter hashtag @iimamericas Stay tuned for announcements and information about our forthcoming initiatives! With best wishes On behalf of IIM Americas board Ashima Jain (President)

Ashima Jain President

I migrated to the U.S. within a year of graduating from IIM Lucknow (Batch of 1992). I was extremely fortunate to work with some incredibly gifted and talented technologists on the planet at AT&T Bell Labs during my initial years here. Thereafter I did a couple of consulting stints with PW and Andersen Consulting in Financial Services. During the dot-com era, I ventured into entrepreneurship and founded two successful technology start-ups prior to starting Greenlight Technologies. I also completed my MBA program at The Wharton School during this time. During my second year at Wharton, I did a thesis on “Impact of SOX (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act) on long term shareholder value�. This was very contemporary during those days. During my research with various companies and stakeholders in the compliance process I saw a huge opportunity to introduce automation in the area of risk and compliance management. Majority of compliance and controls activities were largely manual and were based on limited sample testing. I set out with a vision to create a technology platform that will allow companies to detect and prevent compliance violations by monitoring 100% of business transactions across all business applications in real time. Greenlight Technologies provides software solutions to help organizations quantify risk exposure and vulnerability in dollar terms across various domains— cybersecurity, regulatory reporting, operational risk and access management. Our unique ability to integrate with and correlate data across multiple business applications, coupled with powerful analytics aimed at business users, delivers enterprise visibility of risk exposure and regulatory compliance from a single platform.

MEET AN Entrepreneur

Anand Adaya Founder, CEO

While we have evolved as a company to provide increasing business value across various operations, it is this platform that provides a foundation for scalable, sustainable solutions for SOX, as well as regulatory compliance mandates across industries.

MEET AN Entrepreneur

Today we are helping over 300 global Fortune2000 customers and their boards comprehend their Cyber Governance posture and take corrective actions regarding cyber risks. We have 14 sales offices across the world, while our engineering offices are at New Jersey, U.S.A. and Pune, India. I was attracted to entrepreneurship as I believed it gave one the ability to define their own career and destiny, while having complete freedom to create something that helps solve a particular problem. The infectious euphoria of the success of many of my friends during the dot-com era provided the ultimate impetus for me to jump in with both feet. There's nothing more exciting and challenging than having a vision and then actually building it from the ground up. It's humbling, rewarding and a learning experience to build a team of people who are dedicated, talented and have signed up to make your vision successful. The most gratifying experience is interaction with happy and satisfied customers. Today we are helping some of the top companies in the world deal with the most critical issue of our times – Security, and I am very excited and privileged to be associated with some of the brightest minds to help tackle this problem. Every day is different and this keeps me on my toes and helps me enjoy life by keeping it exciting. My previous experience at Bell Labs and more so my consulting days helped immensely. Bell Labs had the same environment as a technology start up, but the products were built for internal consumption. Consulting allowed me to be a part of a practice that was built from ground up, both these experiences

Anand Adaya Founder, CEO

shaped the company I built. The difference being that earlier the companies funded these initiatives, but as an entrepreneur I was on my own.

MEET AN Entrepreneur

The biggest challenge with having your own start up is being directly responsible for strategy, customer success, execution, growth, and making sure that you manage all the financial aspects of the company in time and successfully. I remember making timely payroll in the early days was really nerve-wracking! But by surrounding yourself with the right people having a capable and trusted team - helps a lot. The most exciting part of my journey has been interacting with the senior most executives of large companies, domain experts and accomplished investors. It is a humbling experience and I am always awestruck by how approachable some of these personalities are contrary to what one may think based on their profiles. I vividly remember my first interaction with the CEO of a Fortune 50 company, after the first 5 minutes of our conversation he asked me how he could help me be successful and he was being genuine. He did every single thing he promised me. And they have been our best customer since then. The biggest lesson I've learnt has been - Listen, listen and listen. Be ready to course correct. Validate your hypothesis every second month by meeting a few employees, customers and partners. Never ever stay away from customers—before, during and most importantly after sales. My advice to anyone considering taking the plunge into entrepreneurship would be focus on an area that you are passionate about. This means you have to have a deep commitment to the products/services you plan on providing because this is something that draws in the best employees and inspires them to help you move your vision forward.

Anand Adaya Founder, CEO

IIM-Connect 2015 at NYC If you’re not curious, you’re dead – Tiger’s Eye-view of the Brave New World From a thematic viewpoint, to reflect on a “Brave New World”, the setting for IIM-Connect event in NYC on October 17, 2015 could not have been more apt: the BNY Mellon building is a 2-minute walk from the World Trade Center memorial and the brave new Freedom Tower that has arisen in place of the fallen twin towers. If a Brave New World has arisen anywhere in the world, it has most certainly arisen here – a spectacular gleaming new tower arising from the grimmest of tragedies – at this location at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. After a nice ‘desi’ lunch and a social mixer in the lobby outside the 10th floor conference room of the BNY Mellon building, and with a welcome from co-emcees Kiran Nair, Director of Pershing, BNY Mellon and Harish Narasimhan, CEO and Co-founder of the start-up Adcuratio, the event was out the start-gate and running. Gracious host Suresh Kumar, CIO of BNY Mellon, recalled the three successful years of hosting IIM-Connect in NYC at this corporate home of the bank. BNY Mellon is a 230 year old bank, and Suresh outlined the challenges of remaining fresh and relevant for such an established financial house. In essence, with Suresh’s spurring, the bank tries hard – and continually – to “disrupt itself”. Examples include creating the first Mobile App for banking, the first innovation center in the Silicon Valley, and many overseas tech-innovation initiatives. The monster challenge ahead, according to Suresh – not so much for start-ups but for big, established corporate giants – is how to move the ‘disrupt-innovate’ action beyond mere small investments and small talk, and into the mainstream DNA of a mega-corporate entity. Indeed this dilemma, this tension between the imperative need to disrupt-innovate and the cozily satisfactory operating procedures and systems of large firms, resurfaced time and again in the discussion throughout the day.


Nik Dholakia

Ashima Jain, Managing Director of PwC, the heartand-soul of IIM Americas, added her welcome to those of the early speakers and reported on the past, present, and future of IIM Americas. She surprised most of the 100+ attendees with the spectacular growth figures of IIMs as well as IIM Americas: 19 IIMs and counting, 13 and growing number of chapters of IIM Americas covering nearly 7000 alumni in USA and Canada, 10th year of the organization and the one-decade-anniversary of the first IIM-Connect in New Jersey, and dozens of regional meets occurring annually. Despite facing some tough few years of agony and loss in her personal life, Ashima continues to inspire everyone by not only soldiering on but also always striving to make IIM Americas a better platform for the alumni. True to its billing, the conference keynote talk by NV “Tiger” Tyagarajan,President and CEO of Genpact struck the key melodic as well as melancholy notes that kept playing during the rest of the day. Genpact, headed by Tiger, is itself a great example of the transformational feats that need to occur throughout large global corporate entities. Formerly a division of GE Capital, Genpact is now a $2.3 billion engine of disruption and innovation. Tiger pointed out the relentless rapidity of change in the contemporary world: Blink, and the world changes, he told the attendees. The world, therefore, is segmenting fast into two kinds of executives: the small (but hopefully growing) minority of those who can change, transform, turn, and pivot on a dime; and those who cannot, the majority that is in jeopardy. The comfortable, reliable and successful strategic and operational principles, tools, and techniques taught at business schools – including the IIMs – are still of value; but only until that point in time when pesky (typically outsider) disrupters start attacking the


Nik Dholakia

established business models of ensconced large firms. Tiger urged the folks in the room to plunge into, and indeed enjoy, the murky waters of VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This requires a fundamental change in the MBA-style executive mindset. Sure, at b-schools they teach ways of dealing with uncertainty and risk; but the whole VUCA barrage – including scary volatility, mind-numbing and overwhelming complexity, and disconcerting and tenebrous ambiguity – is something that neither the typical freshly minted MBA nor the grizzled, fieldtested MBA manager has learned to face up to and deal with. The cultural change that is imperative – both at personal and organization level – is to become constant learners: “If you’re not curious”, Tiger exhorted the attendees “you’re dead”. Yale School of Management professor and dean Anjani Jain brought out some interesting paradoxes of the world of higher education. In India, a country otherwise rife with political corruption, the elite IIM-IIT admission systems have remained lily-pure and essentially meritocratic, driven mainly by test scores. In USA on the other hand, a country otherwise free of daily-life corruption, the elite Ivy-style institutions have been gradually reducing the role of the dry meritocracy of test scores in the admission process and adding a wide range of subjective criteria in evaluating applicants. While he did not claim whether one or the other system was better, Anjani did acknowledge the deeply influential role of the testmeritocracy in his own personal rise via IIMs and more; but he also realized the very different context of and the need for multi-dimensionality in the American settings. Anjani was also appreciative of the fast-rising Brave New World pockets in Bangalore, Shanghai and Seoul. In these and similar exciting Asian settings, the desire to emigrate to the U.S. – that motivated older


Nik Dholakia

generations– is being replaced rapidly by the opportunities to root new ventures Asia. As the presentation by Kanya Balakrishna, daughter of an IIM alumnus and a Yale graduate, and founder of The Future Project made amply clear, the “Brave New World” emerging today is multifaceted. Like private businesses, nonprofit work – the so called “NGO stuff” – is also changing. The Future Project, her bold initiative to redefine and reenergize schools, using inspiring “Dream Directors” to lead teams of eager students, is turning the target schools into hothouses of social entrepreneurship and engaging students in completely novel ways. The change she is catalyzing is propagating virally – to schools, to city and state administrators, and to private sector supporters and funders. A high-powered panel of marketing experts – Suresh Divakar, Founder and President of SD Consulting; Debra Bass, President, Global Baby Franchise Organization of Johnson & Johnson; Ranjan Damodar, Vice President 2.0 of Keurig Green Mountain; and Mukul Deoras, Chief Marketing Officer of Colgate Palmolive explored the emergent “Brave New World of Marketing”. Suresh Divakar focused the panel on the impact of technology and globalization on traditional marketing. A main running theme of the panel was the way Big Data is changing marketing. Some argued, and rightly so, that marketing strategies and offers – based on real-time, location-based, instantly- analyzed data – is turning marketing into a computerized cybernetic process. Others countered, again rightly, that the more cybernetic marketing becomes, the greater the need for creative human interventions. For example, Ranjan claimed that


Nik Dholakia

Keurig’s ability to tailor its K-cups to any beverage is motivating dozens of small beverage makers to innovate and use social media creatively to launch mini-revolutions in consumer tastes. Debra Bass of Johnson and Johnson emphasized the role of technology in disrupting brands developed so painstakingly over the years in a heartbeat with the power of the social media. Summing up the Big-Datavs-Human-Judgment issue, Mukul Deoras of Colgate Palmolive felt that messaging is being democratized and business is being disintermediated in a way that is shifting power and the creation of better data analysis platforms is only accelerating this shift in unpredictable ways. Ashima orchestrated the last in-room event where each attendee gave a 30-second video introduction about herself or himself, emphasizing some uniquely personal and memorable aspects. Hidden foodies, brewmasters, chefs, skiers, drummers, skydivers, singers and other passion-followers came out of the woodworks during this segment of the program. The last part of the program, with nice wines and beers flowing freely and a range of cocktail snacks, was a rousing success, a great mixer and unwinder; but there was a 7 PM deadline to close up the building. So, with fond memories and visible reluctance, the participants spilled out into the chilly-but-lovely New York night. ______________ Nikhilesh Dholakia (IIMA 1971 PGP) has taught at IIMA, IIMC, University of Rhode Island, and KelloggNorthwestern, among other places. He watches the Brave New World from the shores of Pettaquamscutt Cove in Rhode Island.


Nik Dholakia

Photo gallery

Chapter contacts Chapter




Ketan Kumar Kulbir Singh


Ajat Dhawal


Tarun Mehra


Ranganathan Chandrasekaran Akhila Rey


Sonali Rathi-Pramanik


Mohan Natarajan

Los Angeles

Sandeep Walia Prakash Grama

New York/New Jersey

Harish Narasimhan


Uday Patki

San Francisco/Bay Area

Hari Katla Sudha Ranganathan


Jayant Swamy


Suresh Madan

Washington DC

Tarun Sen Anil Chandramani

If you would like to get involved with the chapters in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to the chapter contacts.

trivia Across 2An official referendum in New Zealand resulted in a majority of its citizens deciding not to change the current ____ 5This Mexican Grill filed a trademark for the name "Better Burger", hinting that the burrito chain is looking to open a new line of hamburger restaurants 7Facebook made this Rift available to consumers at $1500 this March. With a headset, camera and game controller, the system when bundled with a powerful computer, is the first virtual reality product of its kind to reach consumers, before similar ones coming this year from HTC and Sony. 8Following President Obama's historic visit to Cuba, - Stones was the first American band to hold a concert in Havana 9China's this Insurance Group has walked away from plans to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in a surprising move that comes only two days after it submitted a revised $13.9 billion offer for the hotel company. Down 1Rumor has it that this state will be the latest state to raise minimum wage to $15. 3Recently unveiled its $35000 electric car, making clean technology more accessible to consumers 4Now offers over a 100 dash buttons to its Prime customers for brands across various categories like grocery, baby, pet care, personal care and even office supplies 5___is switching from AmEx to Visa cards for its customers by June, which will lead to huge losses for AmEx. 6Football star is suing Samsung for $30m over lookalike use in ad

Nuts & bolts Opportunity for Sponsorships Thank you all for the continued support towards your IIM alma mater and the energized participation in alumni activities and events. As we are all aware, IIM Americas is a non-profit organization, and sponsorship is a key source of sustenance towards meeting our objectives. Obtaining sponsorship for ongoing activities and/or specific events is a continuous journey and your help in every way is much appreciated. If you have contacts or leads and would like to help in obtaining sponsorship, please reach out to Jayant Swamy, IIM Americas Board Member ( who is championing this effort. Block your Calendar IIM Americas invited you to its San Francisco/Bay Area Annual Conference “Pinnacle 2016”. The theme of this conference is “The Next 3 Years”. Registration link :

Stay tuned to to learn about more events.

LIFE AFTER IIMs Ishu (Arun Isukapalli) is an IIMI ‘07 graduate who infrequently blogs at He is a Business Analysis Manager near Washington, DC

Across 2Flag 5Chipotle 7Oculus 8Rolling 9Anbang Down 1California 3Tesla 4Amazon 5COSTCO 6Pele

Trivia solution

Iim americas newsletter dec 2015 full  
Iim americas newsletter dec 2015 full