IIM, the pinnacle of management education in India has always been seen as an institution, or rather a label of excellence. Of those few IIMs in existence, IIMA has occupied the top position in the rankings of management institutes in the country.
The institute has always been ahead in churning out pioneers and change-makers in different industries – the likes of whom have been instrumental in shaping IIMA’s glorious history and allure. In this list, we look at the some famous IIM Ahmedabad graduates who have been pivotal in shaping their industries or otherwise serving in different fields at top positions – be it finance, academics, corporate, banking or any other field they’ve set foot in.
One of India’s most notable economists and the former head of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan is an ’87 alum of IIMA, where he was a gold medalist. Before his stint in the RBI, where his policies were instrumental in containing financial slowdown for India, Rajan was the Chief Economist and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 2015, during his tenure at the Indian Reserve Bank, he also became Vice-Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements.
Rajan was also one of the first economists who foresaw the 2008 housing crisis. His book, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, won the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award in 2010. In 2016, he was named by Time as the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’.
In the list of IIMA alumni, Rajan is probably one of the most notable, or popular of names.
As the founder and managing director of Educomp Shantanu Prakash was one of the very first individuals who forayed into the education sector and managed to make a lasting impact on its development and progress. The first player in edtech, Shantanu Prakash with Educomp introduced the first technological take for Education in India – now, this was before smartphones and computers were common in the market.
An early advocate of education technology, Shantanu founded Educomp in 1994 by setting up computer labs in schools, from where he scaled the company to schools across India.
Apart from Educomp, Shantanu Prakash has also ventured into other education-centric spaces. He is also a charter member of TiE (The IndUS Entrepreneurs) and frequently speaks on topics of education and business over the world.
Sanjeev Bikhchandani is the founder and executive vice chairman of Naukri.com, one of the largest job portals in India. A graduate of St Stephens College, Delhi, he obtained his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad in 1989. Sanjiv was one of the primary movers in the online job search industry and set the precedence for further progress in the industry. In 2008, he won the Ernst and Young – Entrepreneur of the Year award.
A maverick in cricket commentary, Harsha Bhogle is perhaps the uncanny addition in this list of corporate leaders and academics. Born in a Marathi-speaking family in Hyderabad, Harsha attended Hyderabad Public School, and subsequently received BTech Chemical Engineering degree from Osmania University’s College of Technology at Hyderabad.
However, his stint with cricket commentary wasn’t without a turning event. Harsha began his career as a cricket player, which set the stage for his commentating with All India Radio. Harsha was also the first Indian commentator to be invited by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation during India’s cricket series before the 1992 Cricket World Cup.
He also has hosted several television programs – courtesy of his unique commentating skills and his voice.
The CEO and Managing Director of Tata Consultancy Services, Rajesh Gopinathan is one of the youngest CEOs of the Tata Group. Rajesh completed his Electrical and Electronics engineering degree from National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, India in 1994. After his engineering degree, Rajesh Gopinathan went forth for post-graduate diploma in management from IIM Ahmedabad.
Being the youngest Tata CEO, he was awarded “Young Alumni Achiever’s Award” under “Corporate Leader” category by IIM Ahmedabad in 2014. Institutional Investor’s 2018 All Asia Executive Team rankings also ranked him at the top spot as the ‘Best CEO’.
KV Kamath was the chief of the New Development Bank of BRICS countries. Kamath has also served as the Chairman of Infosys Limited and as the Non-Executive Chairman of ICICI Bank, which in addition to his work as the Chief of New Development Bank, gives his career a rather stellar look.
Kamath graduated from IIMA in 1971, where he started his career with ICICI in the Project Finance division. Kamath also served as ICICI Bank’s Managing Director and CEO until his retirement from executive responsibilities on 30 April, 2009. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. After being appointed as the first chief of the New Development Bank set up by the BRICS, he stepped down from this post of Chairman and Independent Director in 5 June 2015.
Kamath also serves as a member of the several governing boards of educational institutions, including the IIMA, Indian School of Business and National Institute of Bank Management.
Ajay Singh Banga
Ajaypal Singh Banga is the current President and CEO of MasterCard. In 2015, former President Barack Obama appointed Banga as a Member of the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Presently, he is also the chairman of the US India Business Council. For his work, the Government of India awarded him the civilian honor of the Padma Shri in 2016.
An IIMA graduate who served as the director of the esteemed institute, Ashish Nanda had been quite pivotal in shaping the growth of IIMA as an institute of global repute and prowess. Nanda joined IIMA as Director on 2 September, 2013, whereupon he escribed IIMA as “a hidden jewel.” Prior to joining IIMA, Nanda completed his graduation from IIT Delhi, was the Robert Braucher Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School for 7 years, and also served as a Harvard Business School faculty member for 13 years.
Amongst his notable achievements, Nanda’s vision for IIMA ‘to educate leaders of enterprises’ has led to significant fund raising for the institute. Moreover, he was also proactive in the drafting of the IIM Bill, which led to IIMs having strategic and operational autonomy.
The founder, chairman and group CEO of MakeMyTrip, Deep Kalra was one of the early movers in the travel space. One of the leading online travel companies in India, Make My Trip has had a tremendous impact on online travel facilitation, a space where even international behemoths like Expedia and Booking are now venturing.
Kalra’s journey with MakeMyTrip however, was more chance and luck than a premeditated idea. After graduating from IIMA, Kalra joined ABN AMRO, where he worked for 3 years. Post that stint, he worked with AMF Bowling to set up bowling alleys in India before joining GE Capital in 1999 as VP of Business Development. He started Make My Trip in the year 2000 after realizing the online transaction possibilities while trying to sell his wife’s car. While booking a holiday to Thailand, he realized that the internet could offer more competitive prices by cutting out the middleman.
Kalra also served as the President of The IndUS Entrepreneurs’ New Delhi – NCR Chapter (TiE Delhi-NCR) and serves as its Director. He has also served on the NASSCOM Executive Council from 2010-2013.
Mallika Sarabhai is a famed Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam dancer. She was born to the renowned Indian space scientist Vikram Sarabhai and classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai. Mallika Sarabhai earned her MBA from IIM Ahmedabad in 1974 and later, a Doctorate in Organisational Behaviour from Gujarat University in 1976. For her contribution in the field of arts, she was conferred the highest civilian award in 2010, the Padma Bhushan.