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IIM Americas Newsletter Q1 2014


Vol. 1



Editorial Hello fellow IIM Alumni, Greetings and Happy Spring !! It gives us immense pleasure to bring before you the first newsletter of IIM Americas. The objective of the newsletter is to be a platform where everybody gets a chance to interact with the wider IIM alumni based in the Americas region. We want this to be everybody’s medium to share their thoughts, experiences and achievements with the IIM alumni family. As part of ‘Meet a Thought Leader’ series we were

Sameer Mittal Editorial Team

privileged to interview Ms. Debjani Mukherjee Biswas. Ms. Biswas is

an IIMB alum and the author of “Unleash the Power of Diversity”. She is an author, international public speaker and change agent. Principal of Coachieve ( , she specializes in diversity strategies, executive coaching and leadership effectiveness. She has an eclectic combination of executive and corporate experience. Further in this edition IIM Americas President, Ashima Jain introduces the board of IIM Americas and outlines the

roadmap for 2014. Please feel free to reach out to the IIM Americas Newsletter team if you would like to share your feedback or contribute with an article. If you know an IIM alumni and feel we should interview him/her for the ‘Meet a thought leader’ section do write to us. The newsletter thrives on contributions from its members and hence we request your active participation in this forum. We hope that you enjoy this edition. Thanks and Happy Reading !! IIM Americas Editorial Team

Deepti Thomas Editorial Team

Contents  Message from the President  Meet a Thought Leader  Photo Gallery  Chapter Contacts  Trivia  Nuts & Bolts  Campus Update  Life after IIMs

Aiming to build a stronger community network

Hello fellow alumni,

Message from the President

On behalf of the Board of IIM Americas, I wish you and your families a very happy and prosperous 2014. As we look back fondly on the year gone by, and look forward to another exciting year, I am delighted to share with you the highlights from 2013 and our plan of action for 2014. Looking back… In August, 2013 we incorporated IIM Americas. IIM Americas reflects and brands our all-Americas pan IIM alumni presence. We spent 2013 in building the IIM Americas infrastructure. Here are the highlights. • 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: Our footprint on the Internet is quite impressive. Do take a minute to check it out and sign up: • Our new website ( • Our LinkedIn group • Our Facebook group • Our Facebook page • Our Twitter hashtag @iimamericas

Ashima Jain President

Looking ahead…

Message from the President

2014 promises to be an exciting year for us. We have several activities and initiatives already planned for this year, with many more in the pipeline. Some of our focus areas are going to be as follows: • Professional and social events in various chapters all year round (check out details here) • Intensifying outreach to IIM alumni in the Americas (please sign up on our LinkedIn and Facebook groups and “like” our Facebook page) • Quarterly newsletters • IIM Americas Entrepreneurship group • Events organized in Q1 of 2014: We organized several professional events in Q1 of 2014 which saw exciting participation from alumni: • IIMpulse 2014 - Conference @Houston, February 22, 2014 • Summit 2014 – Conference @Chicago, March 8, 2014 • Keynote speakers – We had wonderful keynote speakers at our events in the first quarter of this year who made the gatherings an engaging experience for all alumni. The keynote speakers in Q1 of 2014 were: • Dr. Robert Ivany, Major General (Retd.), President, Univ. of St. Thomas • Prof. Vijay Mahajan, McCombs School of Business, UT Austin • Ashoke Dutt, CEO, Semantifi, Investor, Philanthropist • Events planned for Q2 of 2014: We have planned the following professional events in Q2 of 2014. • Pinnacle 2014 – Conference @San Francisco/Bay Area, April 26, 2014 (you can find more details and can register here) • IIMpact 2014 – Conference @Dallas, May 10, 2014 • Conference @Toronto, June 2014 Stay tuned for announcements and information about our forthcoming initiatives! With best wishes On behalf of IIM Americas board

Ashima Jain (President)

Meet a Thought Leader Tell us something about yourself?

Where does one start? I was blessed with a phenomenally supportive family from the very beginning. Loving parents, grandfather and sisters, who believed so firmly in my success that it was impossible not to succeed. Their confidence, that unconditional love, is a huge part of who I am today. After finishing High School at an all girl’s convent school, wrote JEE and was selected into IIT Madras. On the first day of my BTech class, looked up and saw 39 boys… and no other girls. Talk about diversity!

Ms. Debjani Mukherjee Biswas Author: "Unleash the Power of Diversity"

After IIT, attended IIM Bangalore, then worked in Tata Administrative Services (TAS). Married my IIT and IIM classmate, Abhijit, in 1986. We then moved to Indiana in the US, where Niket, our son was born. Worked part time, teaching in the local Community College and soil analysis at Purdue’s Agronomy department. Worked only part time to be with Niket until he started going to school. When we moved to Dallas, I completed my second Master’s in Organizational Strategy and International Management. Then joined TI; was there for 17 years working in the wafer fabs, then executive coaching, and consulting in Organizational Development (OD). Eventually managed the OD team. Later moved to PepsiCo, first as Senior Group Manager at Frito-Lay North America, then Director of Organization and Management Development. Took the plunge and went independent as a leadership consultant, executive coach and diversity strategist in 2012. You have had an amazing corporate career (21 years at PepsiCo, Texas Instruments and Tata Administrative Service). How difficult or easy was the decision to quit everything and start fresh in the domains of executive coaching, consulting and as a published author?

Speaking (above) at IIM Bangalore Auditorium and in London at ICF Global Conference (below)

Meet a Thought Leader Thanks for that compliment. It has been quite a ride… It was incredibly difficult for me to take the plunge and completely change career direction after over 20 years of working in corporate. Having a steady salary is such a comfort! For years, it was a ‘life goal’ to write a book. Traveling to different countries, would email myself about interesting customs, learning, and concepts and put them in a folder. One day, my son, knowing about this decades long dream, asked a pivotal question “What are you waiting for?” That, combined with some critical life events, gave me the impetus to make this change. If I had known how enjoyable and satisfying this phase would be, would have taken the plunge sooner! Of course hindsight is 20/20. Just after the book was launched, was invited to speak on Unleash the Power of Diversity at IIM Bangalore. Looking out into the sea of faces in the auditorium, a thought popped into my mind: Is this really my life or will I wake up and it’s all a dream? What inspired you to write “Unleash the Power of Diversity: Multi Cultural Competence for Business Results”? Please share an experience from your own professional life which inspired you to write a book on this topic? What has inspired me most through the multiple stages of authorship is the amazing support of my son Niket. He was one of the editors for the book, designed the cover, thought partnered on technical aspects, brainstormed

marketing avenues, and was, and continues to be, a rock. Added to that are my family, classmates and colleagues, of course: TI, IIT, IIM, UTD, NAPE, ICF and PepsiCo. In addition to this amazing support, the following events occurred which spurred me on to write this book. When I used to teach Statistical Process Control in the US, an engineer came up to me and said “I really don’t like Statistics. But I love to hear you speak so much, that I end up learning Statistics as well.” At another event, a certifying trainer said to me “You need to learn how to speak clearly, so white guys like me can understand. You’re not just hanging out with your Indian buddies any more”. These two experiences, both so different, yet based upon the same topic (how I spoke) raised some fascinating questions for me: • Does being different work FOR us or AGAINST us? • What are the (often hidden) costs of stereotyping in the workplace? • How do we leverage diversity so that it is a competitive advantage? The objective of this book is to bridge the chasm between cultures, and make it OK for us to be ourselves at work and at home. The other thing I realized, only after starting the book, is what an amazing joy the very act of writing can be. There would be times when an idea would pop up at midnight, and I would start typing till 4 am… with zero fatigue! That flow, that ‘being in the zone’ is an indescribable feeling. This book is actually the first in a series of diversity topics. First is on Multi Cultural Competence, the second on Gender, third on Generation, etc.

Meet a Thought Leader A huge bonus was the book’s endorsement by Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 Award Winner for Most Influential Leader Thinker in the World and New York Times bestselling author (What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and MOJO): "Diversity - it's been a buzzword in corporate and political circles for about a decade. But most books on leadership and management simply don't address its importance to an organization's ability to survive and thrive. Enter Mukherjee-Biswas' Unleash the Power of Diversity. After reading her thought provoking book, few executives will be able to ignore the relevance of diversity to their company's growth and success.” The book talks about some of the frameworks to increase effectiveness through multicultural competence, can you please talk about one of the frameworks in detail which could be broadly used by everyone be it a manager leading a small team or a CEO? (Diversity Foray) Over the years, I noticed that there were some techniques in diversity work that were helpful, others that escalated and worsened the situation. From that, I developed a new Framework called the “Diversity Foray”©. This is a mnemonic since they were ‘four A’s” which sounds like the word foray. A foray is a journey of exploration, so it all fit nicely. The Four A’s are: * Ask * Accept * Adapt and * Appreciate. There is also a list of don’ts: * Shun * Patronize * Assume * Crumble or * Escalate. And, as you rightly observed, these techniques are universal. They apply

regardless of level in organization… and in fact, people often email or call me and tell me these tools have helped them in their personal lives and relationships as well. Please tell us about Coachieve, explain a little more about what the organization does and what objectives did you have in mind while establishing it? The Coachieve ( motto is “together, we can”. We do independent consulting, diversity strategies, executive coaching and workshops. I have, in the process, formed strategic alliances with corporate client groups and targeted nonprofits. One of the objectives is to increase the presence of women and underrepresented groups in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) careers. We work with NAPE (the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity in this area). Executive coaching is targeted towards business performance and leadership for CEOs and C-Suite executives. OD Consulting is in Strategic Planning and Organizational Design, while Diversity Strategies focus on Culture, Gender, Generation and Style.

Radio Interview: International Women’s Day 2014, Dallas Texas

Meet a Thought Leader To conclude, we ask all our esteemed guests for a general word of advice especially for the upcoming generation of IIM alums who are in the early stages of their professional journey. The second new framework is called The Five Judgments©. In this, I analyze the costs of stereotyping, by examining different judgments people make, based on physical impact, reputational currency etc. “Distinguishing Markers” is an original concept in the judgments; a combination of USP (Unique Selling Proposition) used for products in Marketing, and Genetic Markers in DNA studies. A Distinguishing Marker is something that stands out about you; that people associate with your presence and brand. My advice to the upcoming generation of IIM Alums would be understand and leverage your ‘distinguishing markers’ wisely. Are you remembered as the person who interrupts everyone and always wants to move ahead, even if it means stepping on people in your path? Or are you remembered as the person who is steady as a rock in a crisis? Know and understand your “distinguishing markers”. The final piece of advice would be ‘look back with gratitude, in order to look forward with success.” We (IIM alums) are almost all successful, but sometimes we forget to acknowledge those family members and friends on whose shoulders we climbed. When I was 13, the Advanced Mathematics teacher left. The school decided, therefore, that I would have to take Biology instead of Advanced Math in High School. Hearing this news, my

father said nothing. However later, he went to the boy’s school, found out who their Ad. Math. teacher was, and arranged for him to teach me (and two other girls). Without the Ad. Math, there would be no JEE, no IIT, no IIM, and so forth. So even though my father has passed away several years ago, I will never forget that my current success has come from riding on his (and my mother’s) shoulders.

So I ask you: Whose shoulders have you climbed on to get where you are now? And do they know how much you appreciate their support? Make sure you tell them while you still can, would be my final piece of advice. As Maya Angelou said “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel”. Here’s wishing you much success, both personally and professionally. Read more about “Unleash the Power of Diversity” at

Book cover design by Niket Biswas, the author’s son.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery


Atlanta Austin Boston



Ketan Kumar


Kulbir Singh


Ajat Dhawal


Budhaditya (Adi) Gupta


Navjeet Singh


Ranganathan Chandrasekaran


Anil Maheshwari

Dallas Houston Los Angeles New York / New Jersey Phoenix

San Francisco / Bay Area

Seattle Toronto Washington DC ·

Mohan Natarajan


Sandeep Walia


Nagam Rao


Amit Kohad


Uday Patki


Peeyush Gupta


Hari Katla


Sudha Ranganathan


Prof. Shailendra


Suyash Lad


Deepak Singh


Tarun Sen


Anil Chandramani

This is the updated list of our various chapters and the respective Chapter Contacts. If you’d like to volunteer or get involved in any way, please feel free to contact the relevant people.


ACROSS 2 Popular cross platform texting company that made news due to its acquisition by Facebook?

4 Elon Musk founded this company and sold it to eBay ?

DOWN 1 Which city had the most recent IIM established in 2011? 3 If Ronald McDonald is to McDonald's who is 'Bibendum' associated with ?

6 If Manhattan is the financial hub of New York, the area of Pudong is the similar equivalent for which city?

5 What is the name given to the fraudulent operation that involves paying abnormally high returns to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors rather than from 11 Which city had the first IIM institute established in 1961? revenues generated by any business?

12 Which Seattle based company is the largest exporter in US ? 14 This tech company was the talk of the wall street for its much anticipated IPO in November '13? The answer is less than 140 characters!

7 Which company would you associate with tagline "Imagination at Work" ? 8 The name of which company was initially proposed as 'Pequod' but the idea was retracted when someone said "No one's going to drink a cup of Pee-quod!"? 9 A market form in which only one buyer faces many sellers

16 Appropriately, which company's NYSE symbol is 'CRM'?

10 How many IIM's are there currently ?

17 This company is led by IIMA alumnus Ivan Menezes 12 An unidentified Satoshi Nakamoto is credited with what concept that has taken the financial world by storm? 13 Which IIM recently appointed the chairman and managing director of a leading biotechnology company as its chairperson ? 15 ________ has been on the list of fortune 500 companies since 1955 but did not make it to the list in 2013.

Nuts & Bolts

Opportunities for Sponsorships

Block Your Calendar IIM AMERICAS invites you to its San

Thank you all for the continued support

Francisco/Bay Area Annual Convention

towards your IIM alma mater and

"Pinnacle 2014". The theme of this

energized participation in alumni

year's conference is "Leadership in the

activities and events.

Age of Transparency". Pinnacle 2014 features scintillating speeches,

As we are all well aware, IIM Americas

thought-provoking panel discussions,

is a non-profit organization, and

interactive discussions with the movers

sponsorship is a key source of

and shakers of Silicon Valley and

sustenance towards meeting our

powerful networking. Registration Link:

objectives. Obtaining sponsorship for

ongoing activities and/or specific


events is a continuous journey and your help in every way is much appreciated.

Stay Tuned to

If you have contacts and/or leads and

would like to help with obtaining

ml to learn about more events.

sponsorship, please reach out to Jayant Swamy, IIM Americas Board member ( who is championing this effort for 2014.

Campus update IIM Calcutta gets AMBA accreditation Hindu Business Line Two programmes of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) — its flagship two-year PGP (MBM) programme and the one-year executive ... IIM Bangalore to launch India's first aerospace management course Economic Times NEW DELHI: The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B) and Toulouse Business School have signed an agreement to launch India's first ... Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is chairman of IIM Bangalore Business Standard The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), one of the top business schools in the country announced the appointment of Kiran ... IIM Ahmedabad to teach right way to claim Right to Education Times of India AHMEDABAD: Students of premier institutes in the city have taken up an initiative to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds claim Right to ...

Globalization top agenda for IIM Ahmedabad's new director Business Standard After the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) slipped in the FT Global MBA rankings this year, globalization is on top of the to-do list of ... IIM Bangalore and IIFT Delhi win the coveted CFA Institute Research Challenge India Finals ... India Education Diary Mumbai: At the finale of the CFA Institute Research Challenge held in Mumbai, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore and Indian Institute of ... Krishnan named IIM Indore director Times of India INDORE: Speculations and confusion over the post of director, Indian Institute of Management, Indore (IIMI) have been cleared with the appointment of ... IIM Ahmedabad professor appointed Federal Bank board chairman Indian Express An Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) professor, Abraham Koshy, has been appointed the chairman of Federal Bank's board by the RBI

Life After IIMS Ishu (Arun Isukapalli) is an IIM - I '07 graduate who infrequently blogs at He is a Business Analysis Manager near Washington, DC.

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IIM Americas Newsletter March 2014  

Quarterly Newsletter of IIM Americas alumni

IIM Americas Newsletter March 2014  

Quarterly Newsletter of IIM Americas alumni