I’ve been thinking about people who make things happen. Specifically, I’d like to mention Ashima Jain, and Carol Sands.
The IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) are India’s leading business schools. Many alums – an estimated 2,000 of us – are in the US. They’re not very visible because a lot of them – especially those who are now professors – got other higher degrees in the US, and are identified with those institutions. (Indra Nooyi of Pepsi is one such: she’s a graduate of IIM Calcutta. Dr CK Prahalad is another, from IIM Ahmedabad.) Unlike the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), whose graduates made a visible impact in Silicon Valley, IIMs seem to have graduated stealth alumni.
A few years ago, a group of alums got together to form IIM USA Inc. to encourage IIM grads to declare their presence and connect with each other and the world. As with all these organizations, it’s a core group of people who make things happen. They canvass, they enroll, and they organize interesting meetings. Ashima Jain, who organized the recent meeting was one of that core group and President of IIM USA Inc. (The picture here shows Ashima and Sridhar Krishnan, another active IIM USA Board member.)
The guest speaker was angel investor Carol Sands, the Founding Managing Member of the Angel’s Forum and the Halo Funds. Angel investors come into a start-up at a very early stage, and help to make it happen. In her refreshingly down-to-earth presentation, Carol talked about funding, business cycles, the dot-com era and its impact, and where the Venture Capital, Private Equity, and Hedge Fund game stands now. Some of the audience were in start-up companies; others wanted to be. The talk was fascinating.
And IIM USA gave me this plaque, to felicitate me on my book, India Business Checklists. It was a delightful unexpected honor. Thanks, IIM USA; and thanks, Ashima.
Edited to Add: And here’s a report (by Sam Rao) on the event from the Indian Express, North American Edition. (Click on the clipping for a larger picture, and click on that for an even larger one.)