Distinguished Alumnus Award

  • Ajit Balakrishnan

    Shri Ajit Balakrishnan is a 6th batch alumnus of IIM Calcutta. He is a successful entrepreneur, an able business executive, and an admirable administrator. He had started his entrepreneurial venture with Rediffusion, an advertising firm now known as Rediffusion DY&R which he co-founded with Arun Nanda and Mohammed Khan, when he was only 22. He later co-founded PSI Data Systems in mid 80's with two other partners hailing from Stanford.

    Rediff.com, a hot house of creativity founded in 1995, was listed on NASDAQ in 2001 and now ranks among India's most successful Internet companies. He led Rediff.com India Limited (Nasdaq: REDF) win the prestigious 2016 CIO Choice Award for the best Enterprise Email Solution for the third consecutive year. He also received the laudable award of Elite Strategic Business Communicator given by Association of Business Communicators of India in the year 2011. He was also named as the Chairman Emeritus of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). He has served as the Chairman of the Ministry of Information Technology, Govt. of India and also chaired a Committee appointed by India's Ministry of Human Resource Development on 'Research and Faculty Enhancement at the seven IIMs'.

    Ajit is a popular writer. His masterpiece, The Wave Rider: A Chronicle of the Information Age, speaks volumes of his insights into the waves of changes involving industrial and technological revolutions shaping the modern world.

    Mr. Balakrishnan served as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management Calcutta for two successive terms spanning over ten years. With his extra-ordinary leadership, IIM Calcutta achieved phenomenal growth and international recognition during his tenure. The institute community will remember him as one of the most significant contributors to the institute.

    Ajit Balakrishnan receiving his award

  • Ajay K. Kohli

    Prof. Ajay K. Kohli is an alumnus of the 12th batch of I.I.M. Calcutta. Dr. Kohli is the Gary T. and Elizabeth R. Jones Chair, and Professor of Marketing at the Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and two honorary doctorates from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and from Corvinus University of Budapest. He is an AMA Fellow, EMAC Fellow, and ISBM Fellow. Professor Kohli had served as the founding Associate Dean and Director of the doctoral program in Business at Emory University. He has taught at universities throughout the globe, and led executive education seminars in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Before commencing his academic career, Dr. Kohli had worked for Forbes, Campbell & Co, and HMM Ltd. (now GSK, Inc.). He has consulted with several companies including 3M, Accenture, Andersen, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, IBM, Texas Instruments, and the World Bank.

    Professor Kohli is the former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Marketing. Presently, he is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Marketing Research, Senior Editor of the International Journal of Research in Marketing, and a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Marketing. Dr. Kohli is among the 100 most cited authors in the fields of Business and Economics in a decade, and two of his articles are among the 10 most cited Journal of Marketing articles in a quarter century.

    He received the 2017 AMA/McGraw-Hill/Irwin award, widely considered to be the highest academic career award in Marketing. In 2016, he received the Paul D. Converse award, termed “Marketing Hall of Fame” by Fortune. He is the first, and to date the only, two-time recipient of the Sheth Foundation Journal of Marketing award for articles with demonstrable long-term impact on Marketing. He has also received the Alpha Kappa Psi best-paper award from Journal of Marketing, and the Sheth best-paper award from the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.

    Dr. Kohli is fond of music and had represented IIM Calcutta’s western band at cultural festivals, including the one at Loreto, Kolkata in 1976, that brought sweet music to his productive life that followed.

    Ajay K Kohli receiving his award

  • Shyam Srinivasan

    Mr. Shyam Srinivasan is an alumnus of 23rd batch of I.I.M. Calcutta. A charismatic leader who always exudes youthful energy, Shyam believes that an organization, however successful, is only as strong as its ability to foresee the challenges in the future and act accordingly. A true believer in the ‘Dharma’ of Leadership, his unique leadership skill lies in being a signpost to his people. No wonder, when he took charge as the Managing Director & CEO of Federal Bank on 23rd September 2010, he understood the importance of keeping pace with the changing times for the Bank to remain relevant in today’s digitally-empowered India.

    After his study at Regional Engineering College, Tiruchirappalli, and IIM Calcutta, Shyam completed a Leadership Development Program from the London Business School before entering the world of banking. Prior to joining Federal Bank he had worked with leading multinational banks in India, Middle East, and South-East Asia. He had also served on the Global Executive Forum (the top 100 executives) of Standard Chartered Bank from 2004 to 2010.

    Under his leadership, Federal Bank has achieved quality growth and today the Bank is over a 3 billion-dollar company in terms of market capital. He played a major role in kick-starting the Digital Journey of Federal Bank which is now a proven leader in the Non-Resident Indian segment dominating the remittance business.

    A recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from NIT, Trichy, he is a well-known speaker in banking circles and media. He is the Chairman of IBA Committee on Member Private Sector Banks, and an honorary fellow and governing council member of Indian Institute of Banking and Finance. He has been conferred upon several awards and recognitions in the past including Exemplary Leadership Award from the Rotary Club, Rashtriya Udyog Ratna Award instituted by the NEHRDO, and The Greatest Corporate Leaders of India Award given by the World HRD Congress.

    Mr. Srinivasan is a great believer in technology and is an avid follower of sports, especially Cricket.

    Shyam Srinivasan receiving his award

  • Gopal Vittal

    Mr. Gopal Vittal is a 25th batch alumnus of IIM Calcutta. Gopal is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Airtel - India and South Asia. After finishing his studies at Madras Christian College he completed his PGDM at I.I.M. Calcutta and joined Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), one of India's biggest FMCG companies in 1990. One of his HUL milestones was Project Bharat, a rural-reach strategy that incentivized people in rural areas to try HUL products. During the various global and national responsibilities he held during his 20 years stint at Unilever, he gathered a wealth of experience in assimilating the consumer mind set, managing operations efficiently, winning with the customer, building brand and innovating to secure market leadership.

    In 2006, Gopal joined Airtel, India’s leading mobile service provider, to create a central marketing function and focus on customer segmentation and bundled offers. He has played a pivotal role in establishing Airtel as the country’s one of the largest telecom services company and an admired brand. During his tenure, he helped to strategize, design and lead several industry wide initiatives for the organization. He oversaw a quadrupling of Airtel’s subscriber base from 33 million customers to 122 million customers by expanding footprint to Tier-2 cities.

    In his role as MD & CEO of the reputed privately integrated telecom operator of the country, he is responsible for defining and delivering the business strategy and providing overall leadership for Airtel’s India & South Asia operations. He was previously with Bharti Enterprises where he was the Group Director, Special Projects. In this capacity, he worked towards formulating and supporting Airtel’s International strategy and data expansion. He also held the post of Director, Marketing at Bharti Airtel and made significant contributions towards driving revenue growth, market leadership and building Airtel as an iconic brand on several national and global assignments across sales. During his stint as Director, Marketing & Communications, Airtel had been recognized as both the ‘Best Brand’ and the ‘Best Mobile Operator’ at the World Communications Award, 2007. Under his leadership Airtel has been recognized as the second most valuable brand in the country by Brand Equity.

    Gopal Vittal receiving his award

  • Amish Tripathi

    Mr. Amish Tripathi is an alumnus of the 32nd batch of I.I.M. Calcutta. Amish is best known for his debut work ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ which found itself in the top seller list within a week of its launch. The Shiva Trilogy became one of the fastest selling book series in the history of Indian publishing. His books have also been translated into 19 Indian and International languages. His 6 books till now — The Immortals of Meluha (2010), The Secret of the Nagas (2011), and The Oath of the Vayuputras (2013), which collectively comprise the Shiva Trilogy and Scion of Ikshvaku (Book 1 of the Ram Chandra Series) (2015), Sita – Warrior of Mithila (Book 2 of the Ram Chandra Series) (2017), Immortal India – Young Country, Timeless Civilization (Amish’s first non-fiction book) (2017) — have 4 million copies in print with gross retail sales of Rs. 120 cr. Film director Shekhar Kapur described him as ‘India’s first literary popstar. Amish’s spiritual guru Deepak Chopra hailed Amish’s books as ‘archetypal and stirring’.

    After studying at IIM Calcutta, Amish worked in the financial-services industry for fourteen years, in organisations including Standard Chartered Bank, IDBI Bank, and Development Bank of Singapore. His final stint was at IDBI Federal Life Insurance where he was the National Head of Marketing, Product Development & Service Quality, and also a member of the Senior Management Committee. He turned to full time writing in 2011, with the release of his 2nd book.

    Amish is the recipient of several awards including Raymond Crossword Book Award, Dainik Bhaskar Literature Award, Society Young Achievers Award for literature, Man of the Year by Radio City, Communicator of the Year by PR Council of India, and Pride of India Award (Literature).

    Forbes Magazine listed Amish amongst the 100 most influential celebrities in India. He is among GQ 50 Most Influential Young Indian, and was selected as an Eisenhower Fellow, a prestigious American programme for outstanding leaders from around the world.

    Amish had active interests in gymnastics, athletics, and boxing in his student life. He was the lead singer of the Baro-C bank at IIM Calcutta.

    Amish Tripathi receiving his award