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

Q1, 2016 Vol. 9

IIM Kashipur


CONTENTS Editorial Message from the President Meet a Thought Leader Meet an Entrepreneur Nik’s Column Fun Company Chapter Contacts Trivia Nuts & Bolts Trivia Solution


EdiTOrial Hello fellow IIM alumni Greetings!! It gives us immense pleasure to bring to you the ninth 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 Ranjan Sinha, Founder & CEO of Desi Nutrition Authority, and as part of our Meet a Thought Leader Series we interviewed Ram Kapoor, Chief Marketing Officer, UC Berkeley.

Sonali Rathi-Pramanik sonali_suranjan@hotmail.com

Nik Dholakia continues to contribute to Nik’s column and we feature Trov as our fun company in this issue. If you know an IIM alum whom we should interview or a fun company that we should cover, please let us know. This newsletter thrives on contributions from its members.

Sameer Mittal sameermittal85@gmail.com

We hope that you will enjoy this edition. Thanks and happy reading!!! IIM Americas Editorial Team Namrata Poddar namrata.poddar@gmail.com


MESSagE frOM ThE PrESidENT Hello fellow alumni, Greetings! On behalf of the Board of IIM Americas, I am delighted to share with you the highlights from Q1 2016 and our upcoming events. •

Additions to the newsletter team We are delighted to welcome Varuni Gupta and Kritii Agrawal to the IIM Americas newsletter team. Kriti, an IIM Indore alum covered a fascinating interview for our Thought Leadership section in this issue. Varuni Gupta, IIM Lucknow alum wrote about a Fun Company in this issue.

• •

Upcoming Events Pinnacle 2016 – IIM alumni Conference in San Francisco-Bay Area on Saturday April 23, 2016 @Googleplex, Mountain View, CA

IIMages 2016 - IIM alumni Conference in Toronto on May 19, 2016 @McKinsey Hive, 110 Charles Street W, Toronto.

IIM-Connect 2016 – IIM alumni Conference in New York/New Jersey in September/October, 2016 . Stay tuned for more details.

IIMpact 2016 - IIM alumni Conference in Dallas in October, 2016 in Dallas. Stay tuned for more details.

Ashima Jain President


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 (www.iimamericas.org) • Our LinkedIn group (http://www.linkedin.com/groups? gid=32204&trk=my_groups-b-grp-v) • Our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/IIMAmericas/) • Our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/iimamericas) • Our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/iimamericas/playli 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


1. Tell us something about yourself, the fascinating journey starting from IIT to IIM, career in the corporate world and then transition to the education sector. I started out as the standard science-oriented kid who gets into IIT. However, on the IIT Kharagpur campus, I found my voice not as an engineer, but ironically as a creative person with limited engineering orientation. To escape the shop floor, I went to IIM. There, I fell in love with advertising, creative writing and my wife. After graduation, I decided to experiment as a copywriter for 6 months and fall back on my IIM degree if that experiment failed. It didn’t. 2. What motivated you to transition from the corporate world to the education sector? Sheer luck. I came to the US looking for a job in Advertising but didn’t find anything. A couple of days before heading back to Singapore, where I lived at the time, an old IIT friend who worked at UC Berkeley told me to come in and meet some people there. Turns out one of the people I met was keen to hire someone who could help set up a brand platform for UC Berkeley. The rest, as they say, is history. 3. What are the striking differences and similarities between corporate world and education sector? Lots of money, few inspirational stories. Lots of inspiring stories, very little money. You can guess which is which.

MEET a ThOughT lEadEr

Ram Kapoor Chief Marketing Officer, UC Berkeley IIMB ’89


4. Describe the typical day of the Chief Marketing Officer of UC Berkeley. There is no typical day. Every day is a blur of activities aimed at spreading the brand message across and beyond our 1200-acre campus. My job requires me to network with and evangelize the brand platform to communicators from other campus units. I also direct the creative work of my writers, designers, social media and web technology teams on a number of ongoing projects. From time to time, I strategize with senior leaders on campus wide projects. 5. What are the challenges that a premium institute like UC Berkeley faces? How does a strong marketing team help overcome the challenges? UC Berkeley is among the world’s top 5 or 6 brands in the higher education field. The Berkeley brand was built over the last 148 years on the back of its academic and research achievements, both by faculty and famous alumni. However, in today’s world, there are many forces that are buffeting the world of higher education, from its inherent business model to the rapidly changing consumer trends. To keep pace, we need a unified marketing team that can work together and leverage our considerable equity and heritage in smart ways. We need to show that Berkeley is relevant today in more ways than ever before. 6. Who were the biggest influences on you personally in your journey? I’ve had the most amazing luck! Practically every single boss I had in my corporate career was an inspirational teacher. From the alcoholic Creative Director in my first job who was one of the finest

MEET a ThOughT lEadEr

Ram Kapoor Chief Marketing Officer, UC Berkeley IIMB ’89


writers I have ever known, to the suave entrepreneur who remains the finest business mind I have ever come across, I was fortunate to learn my craft at the feet of true virtuosos.

MEET a ThOughT lEadEr

7. How can we innovate our approach to career building? How to disrupt our natural career progression to follow the path that takes us to our true potential? In the end, it’s all about how well you know yourself. I have spent a lot of time exploring my creative and spiritual self. The better I got to know myself; the easier it was to discover my path. Of course, you have to be willing to take risks. But then, you take a risk every time you cross the road. Or do an interview. 8. What advice do you have for recent MBAs embarking on their corporate journey? Congrats on your first job (or is it your second?). Keep an eye out for things that you find interesting enough to make your third career. Explore them as you rise in your chosen field, and make the switch when the passion begins to wane (at work).

Ram Kapoor Chief Marketing Officer, UC Berkeley IIMB ’89


MEET aN ENTrEPrENEur I started my career with HCL in 1985 after graduating from IIM Bangalore. After a few years in technology roles across HCL, Apple and Lotus I co-founded Whowhere – a people search web tool - in 1996. This was my first brush with entrepreneurship and I was hooked. After selling that venture to Lycos in 1998 I plunged into another field and co-founded Magnifi. Magnifi pioneered rich media web search and developed several patented technologies in video and rich media. It delivered brand asset management and workflow solutions to enterprise clients. . We signed up major customer accounts such as ABC, CBS, PBS, Coca-Cola, P&G, Boeing, Disney, Microsoft, Warner Bros., Time Inc. etc. and closed on several multi-million dollar contracts. The product received favorable industry reviews and awards (Like the Computerworld Honors 2001) and was voted one of the Hottest 100 Private Companies by Upside Magazine. Magnifi was later merged into Emmperative, a new venture with P&G for enterprise marketing. You could call me a serial entrepreneur of sorts. Twelve years ago I was facing a life threatening medical event and that triggered me to take some time off and start researching my options. It led me to focus on food as medicine. Around 8 months ago I started a blog, Desi Nutrition Authority (DNA), currently run by me and a few independent contractors. It is a site that educates and helps people of South Asian/Indian origin make informed decisions about their and their family’s health based on the highest quality scientific effort and evidence available. Indians and people of South Asian communities have unique metabolic issues, chronic health risks and heightened health challenges compared to other ethnic groups.

Ranjan Sinha Founder, CEO


MEET aN ENTrEPrENEur And there was a need that was not being filled by current Western research and expert opinions that were geared towards the lifestyle and food habits of a primarily Western audience. Desi Nutrition Authority partners with leading institutions like Stanford University, Northwestern University, The El Camino Hospital, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, to help educate and conduct community outreach to further the cause of South Asian Health and Nutrition. The main goal of this site is to dig through scientific literature on Nutrition, Medicine, Health, and Ayurveda and present to you the findings in a simple, actionable, objective, unbiased and transparent fashion to clear the fog of misinformation primarily driven by biased interests, sometimes corrupted policy or casual sensational writing. DNA helps you with the views of experts from the field of medicine, nutrition, Ayurveda, lifestyle to present complex ideas in simple terms and engages with you to share your personal experiences that may benefit others in the community. You are not what you eat. You are what your body does with what you eat! I am also the co-founder of Heart N Spice which focuses on providing low-carb and high-antioxidant food products. We started in November 2015 and we now have 12 employees. We are also looking for people who have an interest in nutrition and health and are interested in contributing to our blog. When I started my first business at the age of 35 it was to make money and gain financial independence. These two businesses Heart n Spice and DNA are about giving back to the community. At this stage on my life I am motivated by healthy living and encouraging others to lead healthier and happier lives as well. Working with a leading physician, nutritional scientists and being able to share this knowledge with our audience is my mail goal now.

Ranjan Sinha Founder, CEO


MEET aN ENTrEPrENEur Heart n Spice and Desi Nutrition Authority give me the ability to inform and educate people and make a significant difference to the health of my family, and the community. The feedback I receive from people when they call back and thank me for making a difference to their health and wellness and weight is how I measure my success now. My advice to others toying with the idea of jumping into the world of entrepreneurship would be: It’s not easy! Make sure you are clear about the problem you are solving vs. having a solution and looking for a problem. Always focus on the customer and not what other start-ups are doing. Having a great team matters more than a great idea. Join a great team vs. joining a great idea. In an ideal world you are joining both. The success of a start-up is highly dependent on the CEO. So you are betting on them. It’s always good to have a co-founder who you know well and have worked with in the past. Relationships matter even more as your initial success will come from people who are willing to give you a break. Ranjan Sinha, IIM Bangalore 1983-85

Ranjan Sinha Founder, CEO


Higher Education for Aam Aadmi: Challenges in India and USA The term Aam Aadmi, or the ‘common man’, was popularized in India by the upstart political activist and leader Arvind Kejriwal. He created a new party and named it the Aam Aadmi Party. In the United States also, the Aam Aadmi issues have been brought to the front-burner by the insurgent candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders, who is employing a common-folks socialist approach, to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party as a presidential candidate. In the Sanders campaign, a centerpiece is to provide free college education to America’s Aam Aadmi class. India, too, is facing the mega-challenge for providing good, solid higher education to its Aam Aadmi class. Let’s compare and contrast the Higher Education (HE) situations in USA and India.

But first, let’s put things in perspective. We of IIM Americas may have been Aam Aadmi prior to entering IIMs – indeed most of us had very modest family backgrounds – but we became the super-elite instantly upon graduation, definitely in India and gradually even globally. Of course, we worked very hard to get into the IIMs, in our programs at IIMs, and later in our work lives. Let’s be honest though: once we entered the IIM portals, we did not have to deal with the real Aam Aadmi higher education challenges in India. That, unfortunately, is not the case for the 50 million and rising Aam Aadmi college-goers in India. The elite sliver of IIM-IIT types does not represent the commonweal of higher education in India, just as the Ivy and Ivy-like sliver does not represent the mass higher education in USA.

Nik’S COluMN

Nik Dholakia


There are, however, stark contrasts between USA and India. In USA, even the common colleges – the B- and C-rated ones – generally have well-qualified and welltrained faculty members, while in India even the elite IIMs struggle to get world class faculty talent. In USA the commoner is not able to afford the common college, let alone an elite college. Neither the student nor her parents in USA have enough savings to pay for four years of college; and the majority are saddled with large and crippling student loans. By contrast, in India, even lower middle class – indeed, even many poor – parents work extremely had to amass the cash to send their sons and daughters to attend the best college they can qualify for. So, we have quite a contrast in higher education in the two biggest democracies.

In USA, there is abundant supply of good HE options, even for the Aam Aadmi class, but a sharply dwindling ability to pay for these options. Indeed, many highlytrained Ph.D.-qualified people in USA often work as “adjunct faculty” at near-slave-labor wages because – in the era of budget crunches – tenure-track faculty positions are being pared. In USA, many doctoral trained people – folks who would be considered elite world-class faculty in India – often have to scrounge around for non-university jobs or become severely underpaid ‘lecturers’, with no job security like the tenured professors have.

Nik’S COluMN

Nik Dholakia


In India, the demand side, the students and their families are strong: there is abundant family cash to pay for HE (all this cash assembled, in many cases, through lifelong thrift and hard work of parents). But, in India – excluding the super-elite IIM-IIT sliver – the supply of well-qualified faculty, and of seats in HE institutions to serve the Aam Aadmi class, is severely limited. Indeed, even the IIMs – with the exception of the old-established A, B, C IIMs – have a hard time finding doctoral qualified faculty, faculty of the type that are often languishing in precarious and underpaid ‘adjunct’ or ‘lecturer’ positions in the 3000-plus universities in USA. Sharad Sarin (IIMA-PGP1972) and I recently completed a paper on the HE challenges in India. Besides the severe shortage of well-qualified faculty, here are a host of challenges we listed in our paper on the HE sector in India: “The challenges for India’s higher education system stem from multiple sources, and are frustratingly complex. They include political interference in leadership positions and Academic Staff appointments; the loose controls arising from the British legacy of “affiliating” colleges to universities; bureaucratic inefficiencies of centralized examinations; unattractive compensation for teachers; lack of financial and administrative support for professional development, research and consulting; lack of `consumer driven’ push for quality; indiscriminate expansion; lack of industry-academic collaboration; lack of systematic human resource planning; kneejerk actions in the name of reforms; and curricular reforms often opposed by teacher organizations.”

Nik’S COluMN

Nik Dholakia


By contrast, the challenges for the Higher Education sector in USA are conceptually rather simple, though practically very difficult: managing the costs of delivering and of receiving higher education are the central problems in USA (as also in the other critical sector in USA, the health care sector). In USA, the problem is money. If money can be magically made to appear in the required amounts, the HE sector in USA – vigorous as it is, even with its current money woes – will take off like a rocket. Of course, there are deep ideological divides in USA on how the money-squeezed HE sector in America – squeezed on both sides, on the supply side, the universities; and the demand side, the parents and students – can get the money needed for maintaining and enhancing the quantity and quality of higher education. In India, the HE problems are so entangled that throwing money at them will barely budge the needle. Most IIMs, for example, are not resource-starved; and yet, the challenges they face – in terms of finding qualified faculty, and of reaching any semblance of parity in research with even a b-school at a secondtier American university – are daunting. And, stepping down to the mass Aam Aadmi universities and institutes in India, the HE challenges multiply megafold. In India, though, there is greater hope. While India, unlike China, cannot employ the top-down Partydictated strategy to boost the HE sector, unlike USA, India is not likely to be bogged down in severe ideological battles to upgrade its HE sector. All major parties in India are seeking ways to move the HE sector India forward, for India to become a player on the stage of world-class higher education.

Nik’S COluMN

Nik Dholakia


Nik’S COluMN

We of IIM Americas can play creative and useful roles in boosting the HE sector in India. With our understanding of HE across the continents, and with an organic cultural knowledge of India, we can come up with dozens – nay hundreds – of little models to upgrade this-or-that aspect of HE in India. Since India is not monolithic China, and is more like the multi-lithic USA, we are in excellent positions to help HE institutions in India. Of course, it is important to reach out to the elite IIM-IIT sliver in India. But it is crucial and essential to reach out to the Aam Aadmi HE institutions in India. On your next India trips, make the connections to the Aam Aadmi HE institutions and offer your expertise to them. When they show disinterest, or fake an interest but do not follow up, please persist. Find the appropriate allies and change agents, and try all your persuasive methods, and help out. Of course, it is important to come up with change models that take root and grow. But, hey, on this side of the Indian Ocean, we live in such a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, we can figure out ways to do this! ______________ Nikhilesh Dholakia (IIMA PGP-1971 alum) has taught at IIMA, IIMC, University of Rhode Island, and Kellogg-Northwestern, among other places. He reflects on contemporary economy and culture from the shores of Pettaquamscutt Cove in Rhode Island.

Nik Dholakia


‘Fun Company’- Trov In the era where the smartphone is taking over the world, with anything ranging from fast-food to apartment available at the click of a button, getting an insurance will be another of its palpable upshots. It will be a much needed respite from the cumbersome insurance paperwork for our young and lazy millennials (Yes, I am one of them!). Moreover, how cool it would be if you could just insure items like your favourite Trek Bike or your Canon DSLR with never again fearing about them getting damaged or lost? This is what this issue’s “Fun Company”, Trov, is all about.

fuN COMPaNY

Insert picture

Trov is an on-demand insurance platform which lets you insure specific products and make claims for them by simply tapping on your phone screen. You can watch and learn more about this company from their video channel on YouTube ( https://www.youtube.com/user/trovchannel).

A ‘fun business microblog’ by Varuni Gupta

This is how it works: Trov starts with users first collecting their products (appliances, phone, laptop, musical instruments, etc.) in the app to keep a track of what all they possess. Trov just needs the make and the model to generate all the related metadata about the item to value it and generate a price for the insurance. Users can then connect or disconnect the various items for insurance through a simple swipe. Claims for the items can also be made by a simple ping in the app. Trov partners with insurance carriers in different geographic regions who offer balance sheets and regulatory risks. However, all the payments and claims are made through the app. Currently, no insurance company provides such a customized and easy offering which makes it difficult for them to engage young customers. As Jeff Berezny, VP of Marketing at Trov comments, *IIM Americas does not intend to endorse this company in any regard


"Today, insurance policies, particularly home and renters insurance, are extremely restrictive, forcing people to pay a set fee to insure a broad group of items. If you take a close look at the fine print, you'll see that these policies often don't cover the items that are most important to people in the situations that are most relevant, such as if your laptop were stolen while you're on the go or a bicycle is damaged while kept outside of your home."

fuN COMPaNY

Company Trivia: • Name: Trov • Industry: Information Technology, Financial Services • Founded: Founded in 2012 by Scott Walchek and Mark Dowds • Headquarters: San Francisco, California • Mission: Their mission is to make protecting your things simple & flexible, so you can enjoy them without worrying about rigid policies and confusing fine print. • USP: Providing customized, flexible and easy insurance, something which no other insurer currently provides. • Funding: Has a total equity funding of $38.8M in 4 rounds with the most recent being a $25.5M Series C funding on April 26,2016. The funding was led by Oak HC/FT, with participation from Suncorp Group, Guidewire, and existing investor Anthemis Group. • Partnerships: In 2015, Trov partnered with Suncorp, Australia’s leading insurer to allow users in Australia to easily connect Suncorp insurance representatives to discuss insurance options for their things. In the same year it also partnered with Axa Insurance to provide a similar offering in UK. • Current status: After less than a year since its launch, over $3.5B worth of items have been added to Trov globally with over $13M worth of new items being added daily. • Awards: Best Startup, DIAmond Award, Digital Insurance Agenda, 2016 WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces, The WorldBlu List, 2014 WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces, The WorldBlu List, 2013

*IIM Americas does not intend to endorse this company in any regard

A ‘fun business microblog’ by Varuni Gupta


Scott Walchek, CEO of Trov called it a “whole new way to insure”. Ken Rudin, Director of Analytics at Facebook who recently joined Trov’s board of directors has commented that Trov will become the next “must-have lifestyle app”. Sean Park, founder and chairman of Anthemis Group named it a “tremendous addition to our global portfolio of disruptive, digitally-native financial services companies”. With such plaudits by its side, Trov is surely the next Fun thing to watch!

fuN COMPaNY

A ‘fun business microblog’ by Varuni Gupta

I hope you found this Fun Company interesting. If you like reading this, and have ideas, suggestions or feedback about it, please feel free to reach out to XXXX@@xxx.com. We would love to hear your views on how to make this ‘more fun’!

*IIM Americas does not intend to endorse this company in any regard


ChaPTEr CONTaCTS Chapter

Contact

Email

Atlanta

Ketan Kumar Kulbir Singh

Kumar.ketan@gmail.com skulbir@gmail.com

Austin

Ajat Dhawal

Ajat.dhawal@gmail.com

Boston

Tarun Mehra

tarunmehra@gmail.com

Chicago

Ranganathan Chandrasekaran Akhila Rey

cranganathan@gmail.com

Dallas

Sonali Rathi-Pramanik

sonali_suranjan@hotmail.com

Houston

Mohan Natarajan

mnatarajan@yahoo.com

Los Angeles

Sandeep Walia Prakash Grama

sandeep.walia@ignify.com prakash.grama@gmail.com

New York/New Jersey

Harish Narasimhan

harish.narasimhan1@gmail.com

Phoenix

Uday Patki

upatki@gmail.com

San Francisco/Bay Area

Hari Katla Sudha Ranganathan

hari.katla@gmail.com sudha.ranganathan@gmail.com

Seattle

Jayant Swamy

jswamy@Hotmail.com

Toronto

Suresh Madan

suresh.madan@gmail.com

Washington DC

Tarun Sen Anil Chandramani

tksen1@gmail.com achandramani@gmail.com

Akhila_rey@yahoo.com

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 2. The tech billionaire who funded Hulk Hogan’s fight and subsequent win against the news/gossip website ‘Gawker’ 4. Beyonce’s latest music album 7. This state’s legislature recently voted to outlaw abortion 8. ______ Recently announced that it was relaxing its 140 character word limit by exempting web links and pictures 9. North Carolina based company is turning 4 billion plastic bottles into clothes 10. This city voted for stricter background checks for companies like Uber and Lyft Down 1. Which NBA player produces the most ROI for his team in the playoffs 3. This pharmaceutical company hiked the price of cancer drug by 5000% overnight 5. Winner of the recent Preakness Stakes, denying Nyquist a chance to win the Triple Crown 6. This female president was recently impeached by her senate


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 ( jn.swamy@Hotmail.com) who is championing this effort. Stay tuned to http://www.iimamericas.org/events.html to learn about more events.


Trivia SOluTiON Across 2. Peter Thiel 4. Lemonade 7. Oklahoma 8. Twitter 9. Unifi 10. Austin Down 1. Andre Roberson 3. Turing 5. Exaggerator 6. Dilma Rousseff


www.iimamericas.org

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