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News & Press: Feb 2012

Our Very Own Rockstars

Thursday, February 09, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chandy Benjamin
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And we need change; not that what exists is defective, but an evolving organization keeps its wheels well-oiled. It understands inasmuch with a global environment that, new blood brings new thoughts, and new thoughts bring about ideological revolution. - Overheard

Changes announced to the Board of Trustees
In 2011, BITSAA International announced several strategic changes to the composition of its Board of Trustees. The Board size was doubled to better represent the alumni it served. Specific provision was made in the by-laws to include 6 Chapter Leaders on rotation from across the world. Invitations were sent by the Chairman to the leadership of the most prominent chapters to nominate members to serve on the BITSAA Board. Board tenure was also defined. The Board also resolved to operate under the aegis of several standing committees. Committees for strategic matters such as Fundraising, Alumni Membership, Scholarships, Audit/Oversight, Special Projects, etc. were created and Chair’s identified. The BITSAA Board now meets on the second Sunday of every quarter to take stock of emerging matters and provide guidance to the Executive Team.

The Board not only expanded itself to make it more inclusive but also created a global BITSAA Leadership Council - akin to an "United Nations of BITSAA Chapters” or BITSAA’s Rajya Sabha. This body consists of the leadership of All BITSAA chapters, is nominally chaired by the Chairman of BITSAA International and also has two Vice Chairmen who serve as its regular presiding officers. The Chapter Leadership Council serves as counsel to the BITSAA Board for issues concerning BITSians, helping BITSAA programs into deployment at Chapters but also serves as an open forum for Chapter Leaders to discuss issues concerning BITS Alumni.

Board Reporting Structure

Separately, the BITSAA Executive and Alumni Membership Team also succeeded in creating a Global Batch Ambassador’s Council. This body consists of volunteer representative from each and every batch of BITS Pilani graduates since 1956, including new campuses. This body is expected to provide the BITSAA Leadership an insight into the wishes and aspirations of BITSian’s within their batch.

The underlying objective is to streamline the Governance structure of BITS Alumni programs, to make the Board as "global” as possible, with the Board receiving as much input as possible from the Chapter Leadership Council and the Batch Ambassador’s Council. The BITSAA Executive Team led by its President & Chairman Raju Reddy and CEO Aalap Tripathy have been able to bring order into BITS Alumni’s top leadership. Geographic and Batch Affiliations have been considered by creating the widest possible consultative body in the form of Chapter’s and Batch Ambasassador’s Councils. This is expected to provide a strong foundation for the success of BITSAA’s existing and future programs.


It’s the beginning of another year, so it’s time for us to get to know our new members, and, in retrospect, thank those outgoing for time and effort put in to take BITSAA to greater heights.

Welcome to the Board
Pradeep SethiPradeep Sethi (’72-’77) passed out from BITS with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1977. He has since worked as Assistant Production Officer at JK Tyres Limited (’77-’79) and Manufacturing & Training Manager at Goodyear India Limited (’79-’87) before setting up his own HR consulting firm, CMS, in New Delhi with two other partners.

In 1992 he set up Corporate Insight, a One Stop Shop recognized among its clients as an Effective Resource for Talent Search, Development of People Systems, Training, Organizational Restructuring, Payroll Management, Out-Sourced Manpower and Cleaner Production. Corporate Insight has specialized in Executive Search for Middle and Senior Level positions in several industry segments. Corporate Insight provides Total HR Solutions to several global and national companies in Search & Selection, Training & Development, Waste Minimisation, and HR Audits. He is an Accredited Trainer and International Expert in Waste-Minimisation for UNIDO & UNEP. Pradeep was the Vertical Head for Contents and Agenda at BGM 2011.

NagiRamaswamy Nagarajan (’61-’66), known better by his BITSian name Nagi, passed out of BITS Pilani with an engineering degree in Telecommunication. Following this, he did his Diploma in Computer Techniques in PII Eindhoven Netherlands and MSc in Management Studies in Imperial College Business School London.

In 2005, he co-founded and served as Advisor to BITSunami, the project aimed at rehabilitating two of the districts in the Nagapattinam district Tamil Nadu, hardest hit by tsunami that struck the East Coast of India in December 2004, which left close to 100,000 homeless. With the formal involvement of BITS Pilani and enthusiastic BITSians around the world, and several corporations and NGOs, the team took upon the arduous task of rehabilitating two of the hardest hit villages, Naaluvedapathy and Pushpavanam. Nagi also coordinated the Practice School in BITSunami in 2005-’07. He is the Chairman and Public Officer of BITSAA Australia Inc., and the Chair of the Alumni Membership Committee of the BITSAA board.

SrikanthSrikanth Krishnamurthy (’88-'92) holds a degree in Chemical Engineering and an MPhil degree in management from BITS Pilani. He now heads a rubber component manufacturing company called ALFA Rubber & Spring (P) Ltd, which is an ISO/TS certified OEM supply organisation catering to mainly auto-component sector.

He was an Executive Committee member of Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association (TANSTIA) and was Vice-Chairman of the AIEMA Technology Centre, a wing of the Ambattur Industrial Estate Manufacturer's Association. He is also an adjunct faculty for BITS Pilani at Chennai teaching Management courses. He, and BITSAA Chennai, was instrumental in setting up BITSunami and leading the project. He mentored several PS I and PS II students during their internships. Srikanth resides in Chennai and coordinates the alumni network there. He was a part of the core BGM 2011 organizing team.

Aditi PanyAditi Pany (’00-’05) passed out of BITS Pilani in 2005 with an Engineering degree in Electrical and Electronics and an MSc in Economics. But before that, she rewrote BITSian history by becoming the first elected President of the Students’ Union. As President, Aditi launched several new initiatives, including the start of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) at BITS. Her pioneering work in founding CEL at BITS,Pilani, forging long-lasting partnerships through NEN and the Wadhwani Foundation has become stuff of legend. It led to CEL, BITS Pilani being recognized as the leading center of its kind in India within 6 months of set-up.

After a year’s internship at National Council of Applied Economic Research, she started her career at TARAhaat, a social enterprise developing IT enabled services for rural communities. At Asoka: Innovators for the Public, she works to facilitate partnerships to provide housing and healthcare to low-income communities. Through the years she has continued to mentor students involved with CEL at BITS, and formed a Women’s Council to enable networking among the alumni. She was presented with the "30 under 30” award, presented to achievers under the age of 30, for all-round leadership in her community building endeavors. In the case of Alumnus Seema Sood (who applied for mercy-killing), she was one of the first responders who met with Seema's family and orchestrated the drive that led to the quickest alumni fundraising for Seema's recovery (yet) in BITSAA's history. With the Board's focus in the current term on "creating an eco-system of partners to promote entrepreneurship at BITS-Pilani,” she will be a fitting addition, with her wealth of practical experience in this area.

So long, and thank you!
Punita PandeyWe bid farewell to Punita Pandey (’80-’85), who retires from the Board after a very successful tenure and an active role in BGM 2011. From the days when she passed out of BITS, Pilani with a bachelor’s degree in Electronics & Electronics and further with an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, Punita has had a fruitful journey.

Punita worked with Healtheon/WebMD, Deloitte Consulting, Tandem Computers, McDonnell Douglas, and Tata Consultancy Services, before founding netCustomer in 1999. As Chairman and CEO, she has led netCustomer from the front to become a leading provider of Advanced Applications Support Services. It is a matter of pride that the netCustomer case is taught at the Graduate School of Business at Standford University and at several leading universities around the world.

During her stint in BITSAA, Punita played an active role in establishing and chairing the BITSAA Women's Council (BWC). BWC under Punita's leadership played a key role in organizing alumni response to the tragic case of BITS Alumnus Seema Sood (who had applied for mercy killing) and support for BITS Mess worker Deep Chand. Punita now lives in Gurgaon.

Arun AravindWe also had to say goodbye to Arun Aravind ('97-'01), who retired from the Board as well as retired as the COO of BITSAA. Arun is an Energy Market Analyst at Dominion Resources. He currently supports Dominions lobbying efforts with analysis to determine the financial impact of climate change legislation on electric utilities, his past included working in commodities trading desks, and working with a stock broker in India. In BITS, he was the Secretary of Dance Club, co-ord for Dance Workshop. Arun graduated from BITS, Pilani in 2001 with a M.Sc(Tech) in General Studies. He obtained an MS in Quantitative Financial Economics from Oklahoma State University. Arun is based out of Richmond, VA with his wife (Deepa Devadas, a BITS Dubai ('01) alum). In his spare time, you can find him trekking/biking along the James river in Richmond.

These are our very own Rockstars. The ones who help build our bridges, put our words in action, and get right the chord that sets our song straight. Here’s to a rocking year, y’all!

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