IIT Madras Establishes ‘Institute Advisory Board’ to Guide Institute on Best Global Practices

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has established an ‘Institute Advisory Board’ (IAB) comprising eminent alumni and well-wishers from across the world.

The Board will provide guidance to the Institute on the best global practices followed by renowned international institutions, enabling it to emerge as one of the top educational and research institutions in the world. The distinguished members are drawn from various fields including business, academia and philanthropy.

It will also help develop plans that will enable IIT Madras to achieve this goal and implement its Plan of Action outlined under the ‘Institution of Eminence’ (IoE) project of the Government of India.

A key aspect of the IoE initiative is that public institutions selected for this recognition will be provided a financial assistance of up to ₹1,000 crore, over a period of five years to become on part with the best institutes at global level.

Among the key goals of the Board will be to help devise strategies to implement global best practices that enable acceleration of research programmes, establishment and growth of world-class research centres, encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship, and recruitment of top faculty members and students from across the world, among others.

Highlighting the global nature of this board and the extraordinary expertise it will bring to the Institute, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “The members of the IAB bring with them a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge related to the nurturing of world-class universities. They share our dream that IIT Madras should grow and become one of the leading technical universities in the world, and are committed to doing everything they can to make this a reality. We are very grateful to them for their deep commitment to the Institute.”

Other key objectives and outcomes envisaged from the Institute Advisory Board include:

Ø Advising IIT Madras on global best practices

Ø Helping IIT Madras in continuing to raise an endowment of Rs. 2,000 crore

Ø Connecting faculty and students with internationally acclaimed researchers

Ø Strengthen industry connections with the institute

Alluding to the performance of IIT Madras being the #1 ranked institution for five years in a row in NIRF ranking, IAB member and Chairman of Fairfax Holdings Mr. Prem Watsa, said, “I would like to congratulate Director Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi for building a terrific record at IIT Madras. The best years of my life (were spent at IIT Madras).”

All the members expressed a deep connection to the institute and a unanimous wish to help IIT Madras in any way possible.

Interacting with the Institute Advisory Board, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Madras, said, “We would request this Board to help us define bold strategic goals for the Institute and to help us go beyond what we think is reasonable and achievable today.”

The External Members of the IIT Madras Institute Advisory Board include:

1. Prof. Anantha P. Chandrakasan, Dean, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US.

Prof. Anantha P. Chandrakasan is Dean of MIT’s School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. During his six-year tenure as head of MIT’s largest academic department, Prof. Chandrakasan spearheaded several initiatives that opened opportunities for students, postdocs, and faculty to conduct research and explore entrepreneurial projects.


2. Shri M.M. Murugappan, former Chairman, Murugappa Group

Shri M.M. Murugappan is the Chairman of Murugappa Group, a business conglomerate with annual revenues of over US$ 5 Billion and interests ranging from engineered products to finance. He has been involved in several initiatives of IIT Madras, including serving as an advisor to the Department of Chemical Engineering and on the Board of the IIT Madras Research Park.


3. Shri Rahul Mehta, Founder, Mehta Family Foundation, US

Shri Rahul Mehta is a serial entrepreneur and created the Mehta Family Foundation in 1998 to empower people through philanthropic activities focused on education, children and healthcare. The foundation funded the creation of Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences at IIT Madras Madras and an Engineering Research Center at the University of Houston.


4. Shri D. Chandrasekhar, Founder and President, Madras Dyslexia Association

Shri D. Chandrasekhar is a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras and is a first-generation entrepreneur. He started with zero capital in the small-scale sector in 1974 and built several successful companies. These ventures spanned different areas of engineering including machine-building, aluminium foundry, electro-less nickel coating and light chemicals. He now drives philanthropic initiatives in various sectors including the Madras Dyslexia Association and the IIT Madras Alumni Charitable Trust.


5. Shri Prem Watsa, Founder Chairman and Chief Executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings, Canada

Shri Prem Watsa is a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras and an Indo-Canadian billionaire businessman who is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings, a global investment company. He has been called the “Canadian Warren Buffett.” He was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in January 2020.


6. Shri Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande, Co-founder, Sycamore Networks Internet Equipment Manufacturer

Shri Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande, a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras, is an Indian American venture capitalist and entrepreneur who is best known for co-founding the Chelmsford, MA-based internet equipment manufacturer Sycamore Networks, the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT and the Deshpande Foundation. Deshpande is a Life Member of the MIT Corporation, the Board of Trustees of MIT, and sits on the Board of the MIT School of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC).


7. Shri Girish Reddy, founder and Managing Partner of Prisma Capital Partners, US, and Member, Board of Trustees, Cornell University, US

Shri Girish Reddy is a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras and the founder of Prisma Capital Partners, a US$ 4 billion asset management company (now a part of the private equity firm, KKR) providing a bouquet of hedge fund services to institutional investors. Prior to that, he was a partner with Goldman Sachs. Shri Girish Reddy also serves on the Board of Trustees of Cornell University, US.


8. Shri Senapathy ‘Kris’ Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Axilor Ventures, Bengaluru

Shri Senapathy ‘Kris’ Gopalakrishnan is a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras and Chairman of Axilor Ventures, a company supporting and funding startups. He was a co-founder and formerly co-chairman of Infosys, a global consulting and I.T. services company based in India. He was elected as the president of India’s apex industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the year 2013-14. He is passionate about brain research and is the Chairman of IIT Madras Alumni Charitable Trust.


9. Shri V. Shankar, founder of CAMS, India

Shri V. Shankar is a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras and founder of CAMS – India’s largest mutual fund platform. Shankar’s career journey began in Pond’s India Ltd. (now a part of Hindustan Unilever Ltd.) in 1983. Shankar founded CAMS (Computer Age Management Services Pvt. Ltd.) in 1988 to provide platform-based services to the Indian financial industry and was its CEO and after that on the Board till 2014. CAMS re-imagined Mutual Fund services delivery and developed a platform that remains, to date, the largest such in India.


10. Shri Kamal Duggirala, CEO of Alpha Omega Financial Systems, US

Shri Kamal Duggirala, an IIT Madras alumnus, is the Chairman of the Board of the IIT Madras Foundation, USA. He is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alpha Omega Financial Systems, an innovative provider of post-trade technology for institutional investors. Kamal previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Barra, Inc., the leading provider of portfolio risk management worldwide. Barra’s client base of 1000+ leading financial institutions around the globe included the majority of the world’s largest asset managers, broker/dealers and pension funds.


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