Page 1

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

Q2, 2016 Vol. 10

IIM Indore

CONTENTS Editorial Message from the President Meet a Thought Leader 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 tenth 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 our Meet a Thought Leader Series we interviewed Vivek Kapur, Managing Partner Cognitive and Cloud Solutions, IBM.

Sonali Rathi-Pramanik

Nik Dholakia continues to contribute to Nik’s column and we feature SOLS 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

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

Namrata Poddar

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 Q2 2016 and our upcoming events. •

Board • After several years of service, Tarun Mehra transitioned from the IIM Americas board. We thank Tarun for his dedicated involvement in IIM Americas activities.

Q2 2016 events • Pinnacle 2016 – IIM alumni Conference in San Francisco-Bay Area was held on Saturday April 23, 2016 @Googleplex, Mountain View, CA. The theme of the event was “The next 3 years”. Speakers included Amith D'Souza, Technical Account Manager, Google, Dr. Archana Dubey, Global Medical Director, HP, Ashima Jain, President, IIM Americas, Managing Director, PwC, Ram Kapoor, Chief Marketing Officer, UC Berkeley, Sudha Ranganathan, Sr. Manager, Customer Insights, PayPal, Gaurav Rastogi, President, Nagarro & Author, Vibhor Rastogi, Director, Intel Capital, Jonathan Scheid, CFA, President & CIO, Bellatore, Aniket Ullal, Founder, First Bridge Data. A record number of IIM alumni attended. You can watch video recordings of some of the sessions on our YouTube channel here. •

IIMages 2016 - IIM alumni fireside chat was held in Toronto on May 19, 2016 @McKinsey, Toronto. Theme was "Building IIM Brand in Americas“. Speakers at this well attended event included Sriram Iyer, President and CEO of ICICI Bank in North America and Rohit Sood, Partner with McKenzie & Co. The event was moderated by Suresh Madan, Chair, IIM Americas, President & CEO, MyHealth Center.

Ashima Jain President

Message from the President Upcoming Events • IIM-Connect 2016 – IIM alumni Conference in New York/New Jersey will be held on Saturday November 5, 2016 in Manhattan. Stay tuned for more details. • 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) • Harish Narasimhan (Director) • Sonali Rathi-Pramanik (Director) • Social presence: Do take a minute to sign up: •

Our website (

Our LinkedIn group ( =my_groups-b-grp-v)

Our Facebook group ( )

Our Facebook page (

Our YouTube channel ( ylists)

Our twitter hashtag@iimamericas

With best wishes On behalf of IIM Americas board Ashima Jain

Ashima Jain President

MEET A THOUGHT LEADER I started with P&G in 1986 after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Delhi. My first assignment was running a sales territory in the North East. Selling to 40 kirana (mom & pop stores), and pan bidi stores a day in Nowgaon and Bomdi La, in my entirely inadequate Assamese/Bangla mix, was a daily adventure. After nine months of that they took pity on me and brought me to Bombay to work on what became the Ariel detergent launch. I then moved to Hong Kong as part of a team to set up the China operation as the country opened up. It was a roller coaster ride operating with limited distribution networks and no retail or TV ratings data. We established a number of systems, built a team and market-leading positions in skin care and hair care that grew into a multi-billion dollar business. I learnt that the situations you find yourself in are not always a choice, but how you respond and what you make of them always is. In the mid nineties I moved to Management Consulting. I've always enjoyed variety and solving new problems and consulting offers plenty of both. I started up and later led the management consulting practice for one of predecessor firms of PwC Consulting in China. We did market entry and growth strategy work for Consumer Products, Auto and Hitech clients. One of our projects was with a drinks and spirit company. It required us to research bars and nightclubs across the country to understand the market. It was a tough gig, but someone had to do it. We were quite diligent though and developed an unsurpassed understanding of the market. And it did actually lead to very successful business! In any new assignment you want to bring value from your prior experience as well as learn new things to grow your own capability and value.

Vivek Kapur Managing Partner Cognitive and Cloud Solutions, IBM

MEET A THOUGHT LEADER In this case I knew the market, since I moved from CPG to Consulting while continuing in China, which bought me some air cover while I learnt consulting in a hurry! Brand management and Consulting are also great ways to build a holistic yet pragmatic view of business. So when some friends and I saw an opportunity in the “one child” phenomenon, we developed a direct selling baby care business. We secured VC funding to establish and grow the business and made a successful exit a few years later. The variety, learning and fun in Consulting keeps things interesting for me. I moved to Silicon Valley in the late nineties and had the privilege of working with clients who have changed the world with technology. I used that experience and additional research to publish on growth and technology issues. The acquisition of PwC Consulting by IBM widened the possibilities further to running operating units. I had the opportunity to lead the turnaround of our Consulting unit in Japan, our largest market outside the U.S. More recently, to help us address an industry shift to business led technology solutions I established and led consultative sales teams in each of our industries with the skills to help clients transform their business with Analytics, Cognitive and Cloud solutions. And did I mention, you get to work with wicked smart people and terrific teams! Some things I have learnt along the way – First, it’s important to have a plan but it’s more important to know what gets you going. When adventure and opportunity knock on your door, you can judge the right ones to let in. The direction may not be planned, but it will be fulfilling Second, there is no growth without discomfort. You have to stretch and take risk. Then use what you know to deliver and work hard to learn what’s new. Rinse and repeat. Now, on occasion adventure and

Vivek Kapur Managing Partner Cognitive and Cloud Solutions, IBM

MEET A THOUGHT LEADER risk land you in tough spots! When they do, conviction and resilience matter more than education, smarts and plans. Mike Tyson said everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth. Well, victories come from keeping going even after you’ve been punched, so in tough spots, stay focused on what you can do to make things better, and stay with it till you do Lastly, teams accomplish more than individuals. Diversity of views and challenge make for better outcomes. A day I can remember that when I’m the one being challenged, is a day I’m better than I can be on my own

IIM Ahmedabad, Batch of 1986

Vivek Kapur Managing Partner Cognitive and Cloud Solutions, IBM

Brexit, America and India On June 23, 2016, a tiny Tail on the west side of the English Channel violently wagged the huge Global Dog. Brexit vote was in, and the “Leave EU” campaign had won. As we know well, $2 trillion of global market capitalization was wiped out on the very first trading day after the Brexit vote. Over the next few weeks, the market gyrations continued and the political reverberations became ever more intriguing. Within weeks, a new Prime Minister took the helm of UK. By September, Europe and the world had come to accept the inevitability of Brexit and were attempting to fashion some type of European economic unity minus the free labor movement across the English Channel.

While commentaries on Brexit are galore, IIM alumni are some of the best folks to provide unique insights into what happened and why; and what the fallout could be. This is because IIMites are able to easily view things from at least three lenses: American, European and Asian. Also, being from India, they have a deep understanding of the colonial history that linked UK and India for nearly three centuries. Parents of many IIMites were witnesses to a different ‘Brexit’ – the exit of Britain from India, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the British Empire. So, for this column, I sampled some IIM alumni views on Brexit.


Nik Dholakia

A few experienced IIMites saw global tightrope political situations developing between protectionism and free trade, not just in Europe but also in America and India. IIM Bangalore alumnus Tarun Sen, COO of Entigence in Virginia, commented that although “Brexit supporters argued that inefficiencies in trade were being created because of the bureaucratic impositions of the EU on the UK” in reality there “does not seem to be overbearing evidence to show that this was indeed happening…”. Tarun noted, however, that resentment of labor movement – often very skilled – from low-wage to highwage nations is a real hot-button political issue, in UK as well as in USA; and that “the mood in the US is shifting towards imposing barriers in the services sector… it is already the case for technology services making it prohibitively expensive to hire technology professionals in the US.” There is a parallel between the type of resistance skilled tech workers from India face when coming to the US and similar resistance that skilled Poles, Bulgarians and others face when entering the UK. When asked about what the implications of Brexit are for the world, IIM Calcutta alumna and business school dean from Houston Beena George had a straight answer: “In one word, ‘uncertainty’!” She went on to elaborate: “And, we know that businesses and financial markets hate uncertainty. A lot would depend on how quickly UK and the EU can arrive at the final deal for the exit and the terms of such a deal. Meanwhile, the uncertainty could have an impact on the attractiveness of UK as a business hub. I believe the uncertainty would also dampen innovation, as collaboration opportunities diminish and resources become less accessible. The exit would have a detrimental effect on the economic ecosystem, limiting the potential for growth.”


Nik Dholakia

The issue of innovation vs. tradition is interesting. In my own preliminary research forays, I am intrigued by how each antagonistic side of the English Channel views the other as tradition-bound, backward; while viewing itself as innovative, progressive, and modern. Thus, pro-Brexit folks view themselves as now-unshackled innovators and the EU folks across the channel as ossified bureaucrats; while pro-integration EU folks view the Brexit folks as hidebound British traditionalists. IIM Bangalore alumnus Hazurasingh Siviya, a.k.a. ‘Flying Singh’, likened the Brexit vote to a pub brawl with unpredictable outcomes: “It is a typical British pub brawl… A bully, who knows he will get beaten up if he starts a fight when everyone is sober, goes to a pub, gets drunk and using any excuse starts a brawl, no reason, no objective… just an excuse. Everyone gets into the brawl and no one expects serious or lasting consequences… Well, in the Brexit brawl, lo and behold, the unthinkable happens, someone gets shot and dies….no one takes responsibility, cops appear and there are consequences”.

The rigors of IIM and other elite education leave an imprint on all of us. Jayant Swamy, IIM Bangalore alumnus from Seattle – tech executive as well as popular author – evoked a classroom and grading analogy, noting that “while countries that were relatively weaker benefitted the most from EU, the rigorous requirements around governance and budget contributions might have brought unnecessary strains on Britain, akin to using a bell shaped grading curve, where an outstanding student gets clubbed with the vast majority of average students.” In that sense, “leave and regain your liberation” became a rallying cry for Brexit supporters, to separate out elite UK from the rag-tag new EU entrants.


Nik Dholakia

Many IIMites noted the ironical, humbling, looming transformation of Great Britain into Little England. Chicago real estate magnate and IIM Ahmedabad alumnus G. Visvabharathy said that Britain is “going to end up losing Scotland, and possibly Northern Ireland… Britain divided many countries in the rest of the world, and now, may end up getting divided itself.” Continuing the pub brawl analogy Hazurasingh Siviya remarked: “Britishers need to grow up… know that there are consequences to what you do or choose. ‘There ain’t gonna be no more Brexit brawl’, as some Americans might say. With Scottish and Northern Irish wanting out of the ‘Great’ Britain – okay, okay, a tiny spec of land called Wales will be with you – now that is the new ‘Great’ reality, of Little England.” IIMites also saw Brexit in elongated historical frames. Jayant Swamy noted the historical irony “that Britain whose colonization extended to almost all continents – India and Burma in Asia, Australia, parts of Africa, Canada and the 13 colonies of America, West Indies, and more – is now averse to the easy access offered to immigrants, by virtue of being in the EU! Time for payback. Poetic Justice. Stay and feel the pain...”. Some IIMites still recall vividly the colonial British past, with the “divide and rule” intrigues that characterized Pax Britannica. Chicago real estate magnate and IIM Ahmedabad alumnus G. Visvabharathy opined: “Britain is the architect of destruction and divide-and-rule policy all over the world. When did they ever unite any part of the world? Dividing India and Pakistan, creating Hindu-Muslim enmity, dividing Kenya into fighting groups of Odinga vs. Kikuyus, creation of Palestine vs. Israel … wherever they went, they have done a marvelous job of division, and creating conflicts. So, it is in their blood to play the divisive role and break up the EU, and in the process, gain dominance in Europe vis-à-vis Germany, the 800-pound gorilla”.


Nik Dholakia

Nik’s COLUMN In a similar vein, Mahendra Rathod, another IIM Ahmedabad alumnus with a decades long work innings in Dubai, including C-suite roles, recalled that “it was Sykes and Picot, two Brits, who sat down at a hotel bar and drew the boundaries of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire and allocated land and control as they saw fit. Thus began all the mess in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel and so on”.

Nik Dholakia

Finally, Salem Ganapathi, IIM Ahmedabad alumnus and founder of global logistics firms, had a take on Brexit laced with dry humor: “In 1970s and 80s I worked closely with British companies and visited the UK frequently. I noticed there were two classes in these companies: managers who were Oxbridge products and other clerical staff who passed their ‘O’ levels. The staff were always eager to travel ‘overseas’ on holidays, basically crossing the Channel Ferry and go to France or Netherlands or Belgium. When they returned they bought one bottle of Scotch and one carton of Benson & Hedges cigarettes in the duty-free shop on the ferry, and proudly shared this feat with other staff. These proletariat were very angry when Britain joined the EU as they were deprived of going ‘overseas’ and buying duty-free stuff; so they voted to leave to get back to the old times.” ______________ Nikhilesh Dholakia (IIMA PGP-1971 alum) has taught at IIMA, IIMC, University of Rhode Island, and KelloggNorthwestern, among other places. He reflects on contemporary economy and culture from the shores of Pettaquamscutt Cove in Rhode Island.

‘Fun Company’- SOLS In this fast-paced world where you are supposed to be “on your feet” round the clock, you sometimes forget about these hoofs until you get hobbled! Though walking is the easiest and safest way of exercising but hours of standing can cause stressful pain in legs, knees, back and hip. Even so, it can lead to Planter Fascitis which is a common cause of heel pain with over 2 million people suffering from it around the globe! This has often been ignored until recently, when a fair lady, Kegan Schouwenburg decided to fully focus upon it and thus, opened up a company, “SOLS”, which is also our this issue’s Fun Company. SOLS is an on-demand platform which uses 3-D printing to design custom shoe insoles that helps alleviate pain in feet and back, among other ailments. You can watch and learn more about this company from this YouTube video. (

This is how it works: SOLS first requires the customer to download its app and then take four snapshots of their feet. It then measures and extracts 1000 unique data points from these photos through a computer vision technology. After that it extrapolates over these data points to generate a 3D model of the custom insole. The insoles are available in leather, neoprene and wool in a range of colors ranging from black to sea foam green. The final product is made by 3D printing the model which is then shipped to the customer. Currently, no footwear or medical company provides such a *IIM Americas does not intend to endorse this company in any regard


Insert picture

A ‘fun business microblog’ by Varuni Gupta

customized and easy offering to its users. As Kegan Schouwenburg, CEO of SOLS puts it, “Sometimes I think back on that moment and think I must have been utterly insane. In retrospect, we were bringing out a new product with a new method in the medical sector, and we were going to work with doctors and sell a product through an app in an entirely new way that people have never used to buy products before.”


Insert picture

A ‘fun business microblog’ by Varuni Gupta

Company Trivia: • Name: SOLS • Industry: Health Care, Manufacturing, Information Technology, Fashion • Founders: Founded in 2013 by Kegan Schouwenburg and Joel Wishkovsky. • Headquarters: New York, NY • Mission: Their mission is to manufacture custom orthotics, which are “Made for you, on demand, affordably and intelligently.” • USP: First company to use 3D printing to provide customized, affordable and on-demand wearables, something which no other manufacturer currently provides. • Funding: Has a total equity funding of $23.7M in 4 rounds with the most recent being a $4.45M Convertible Note from Avant Global on February 17,2016. Previous investors have been Lux Capital, Founders Fund, Tenaya Capital among others. • Current status: Till 2015, SOLES wearables had been adopted by *IIM Americas does not intend to endorse this company in any regard

over 650 podiatrists across the U.S. who have prescribed the corrective orthotic devices to their patients. Most recently, with the launch of its Iphone app it has also started to make direct sales to its users. •Partnerships: SOLS recently got Dallas Mavericks’ president and CEO Terdema Ussery to join its board of directors. It has partnered with IRONMAN and is currently working with it in several events, including the IRONMAN world championship presented by Go Pro in Hawaii. •Recognitions: SOLS ranked 6th in Inc.’s 2015 30 Under 30 list. Katherine Petrecca, general manager for studio innovation at New Balance opines that “the potential is extremely real in the longterm for on-demand manufacturing.” New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, who invested in the company calls it “a pioneer in the 3D printed, custom orthotics space.” Kegan Schouwenburg considers it to be “Holy Grail of footwear”. With such plaudits by its side, SOLS looks really promising and is definitely the next Fun thing to watch!

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 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


Insert picture

A ‘fun business microblog’ by Varuni Gupta

Chapter contacts





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 3. The EpiPen is manufactured by _____ 5. ____ ____ departed as the chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television amid allegations of sexual abuse and went on to become an advisor to theTrump campaign 7. Due to federal sanctions being imposed on this Indiana-based education chain, it announced its technical institutes across America will be closing 9. _____ _____ will soon replace Raghuram Rajan as Governor of the RBI Down 1. German pharmaceutical giant ____ might be increasing its bid for American seed company Monsanto Co 2. Canadian pipeline company ____said it would soon acquire Houston-based Spectra Energy. The merger would create North America's largest energy infrastructure company, valued at $127 billion 4. This airline carrier said the computer outage it suffered in August, which cancelled thousands of flights, cost the company $100 million in revenue 6. Tech giant ______ issued a major recall following dozens of complaints that one of its devices caught on fire while charging 8. The SpaceX explosion destroyed this company's satellite 10. Narendra Modi recently featured in print ads for Reliance ___ a new network launched by Mukesh Ambani

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. Stay tuned to to learn about more events.


Trivia solution Across 3. Mylan 5. Roger Ailes 7. ITT 9. Urjit Patel Down 1. Bayer 2. Enbridge 4. Delta 6. Samsung 8. Facebook 10. Jio

Iim americas newsletter q2 2016  

IIM Americas News Letter 2nd Quarter 2016

Iim americas newsletter q2 2016  

IIM Americas News Letter 2nd Quarter 2016