IIT Alumni
        iit Alumni Newsletter January 2015


In This Issue

Table of content




4. Guru Funda


5. Chapters News


6. Chapter Upcoming Events


7. Resources



Quick Links


IIT News (Forum)

Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Quick Links

      PANIIT India 

specialfeature   Announcement


Announcing the 2015 Global IIT Alumni Leadership Conference
Please mark your calendars - the IIT Global Leadership Conference (IIT GLC) is being held on July 24-26, 2015 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California.
The theme of the conference is "Internet of People (IoP)". Just as the Internet connects computers/things, the 2015 IIT Global Leadership Conference is aimed at connecting and bring together more than 4,000 of the best minds, both IITian and non-IITian, from academia, industry, and off-the-beaten-track, to share stories, secrets to success, and encourage giving back.
The early bird registration will open shortly. Bookmark the conference website (http://iit-2015.org) and stay tuned for more information.
Follow us, and give us feedback:
  Twitter - https://twitter.com/IITGLC. Please use hashtag #iitglc for all tweets and posts
  Conference event on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/events/338319942995020/


alumninewsIIT Alumni News

'Warren Buffet of Canada' Prem Watsa to invest $1 billion in India

 Romit Guha, ET Bureau Nov 24, 2014, 12.27PM IST



NEW DELHI: Prem Watsa, known as the Warren Buffet of Canada, plans to invest at least $1 billion in India as part of a consortium, enthused by the economic opportunities he sees in the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a first for the 64-year-old Indian-origin businessman, Watsa is setting up a company specifically focused on a country to raise the funds and will make the investments, which may be announced in a week's time.


The new Indiafocused company is independent of Fairbridge. The IIT Madras alumnus however didn't specify the sectors that he could be putting his money in as part of the latest investments, but said that he will stay out of e-commerce - a fast-growing sector in India that has attracted millions of dollars in recent times - and commodities.


Read full article in The Economic Times.



campusnews  Campuses News

IIT-K celebrates 55th foundation day

TNN | Nov 3, 2014, 03.29AM IST


Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K), which completed its 55 years of existence on Sunday, celebrated its foundation day. The celebrations witnessed the participation of faculty members, students and alumni of the institute.

On this occasion, the institute administration felicitated its alumni by giving them `Distinguished alumnus award'. While Dipankar Das Sharma of 1977 batch was present to receive the `Distinguished alumnus award', Jayadev Misra of 1969 batch and Vijay Kumar of 1983 batch were not present. The awards were presented by Prof Indranil Manna, director of the institute and Prof M Anandkrishnan, chairman, Board of Governors, IIT-Kanpur.

The `Distinguished alumnus award' is the highest award instituted by the board of governors of the institute for its alumni in recognition of their outstanding achievements.
Read full article at TOI


IIT Delhi Distinguished Alumni Awardees for the year 2014


We are delighted to inform you that IIT Delhi has announced the recipients of the "Distinguished Alumni Award" for the year 2014. The awards will be conferred during the Convocation Function to be held on 1st November 2014.


On behalf of all the Alumni across the Globe, we convey our Heartiest Congratulations to the Awardees.


Public Service: Dr. Lalit Pande

Research: Dr. Avinash Chander

Corporate: Dr. Manish Gupta


Link to the complete story and brief profile of the awardees


IIT Delhi Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to National Development (OCND) 2014

We are pleased to inform you that the IIT Delhi Alumni Association has decided to confer Award for Outstanding Contribution to National Development 2014 as follows:

* Dr. S K Chaudhuri, (1972- M.Tech, Textile )
* Mr Sunil Parekh,     (1976-B.Tech, Mechanical)

IIT Delhi Alumni Association shall be conferring these awards at the Alumni Day 2014 during the concluding session on 28th December 2014 at Seminar Hall, IIT Delhi

Link to the complete story and brief profile of the awardees


Dreams take wings at IIT-Kanpur workshop

Abhinav Malhotra, TNN | Jan 13, 2015, 05.13AM IST

KANPUR: The two-day free aero-modelling workshop, organised by international aerospace company Boeing, in association with Techkriti 2015 of IIT-Kanpur concluded at the airstrip of the institute on Sunday. The focus of the workshop was to introduce students to the exciting field of aero-modelling.

Senior executive of Techkriti, the annual technical festival of IIT-K and secretary of Aero-modelling Club of the institute, Shubham Mittal, said that the workshop was divided in two parts: Basic trainer aircraft and aerobatic aircraft (advanced). Teams with some experience in aero-modelling were allowed to participate in advanced workshop but no experience was required for the basic workshop, he said.

Boeing National Aero-modelling Competition comprises a workshop and a zonal competition followed by a national championship among winners from all four zones of India, he added.
Read full article at TOI
3 from IIT-Bombay score a 100 percentile in CAT
MUMBAI: Three boys from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay are among the 16 candidates who scored a 100 percentile in the recent Common Admission Test (CAT) 2014, an entrance exam for admission to India's premier Indian Institutes of Management and 70 other top B-schools in the country.
Vibhu Gupta and Anurag Reddy, both fourth year students of the institute and Harshveer Jain, who graduated from IIT-B in April both have scored a 100 percentile. The total number of candidates from Mumbai who scored a 100 percentile was not available. "We do not yet have city specific details on the number of candidates who have scored a 100 percentile yet. These might be available later in the week," said CAT convenor, Rohit Kapoor.
Read full article at iitbombay.org
Insights  Guru Funda

Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Prem Watsa

How did you first hear of IIT-Madras back in the mid-1960s?

It's a funny story. IIT Madras was in its infancy, but was already getting very popular. I first heard of it in school. I wrote the first exam, and scored only about 8/20 in Math. Despite this, my dear aunt forced me to write the other papers as well, the second of which was English and the third Chemistry. I was pretty good at Chemistry, and that is why I decided to study Chemical Engineering.
In what way has the IIT Madras experience helped you in your future career, and what inspired you to follow a career in business and investing in Canada after studying Chemical Engineering at IIT Madras?

An engineering education allows you to get into virtually any field. I didn't really take a fancy to engineering very much, so I decided to pursue a career in business and management. Business was not very valued in India in those days; it is a lot better now. I decided to apply to IIM Ahmedabad, as its graduates got good jobs, and  it had a great reputation even then. However, I didn't make it the first time. So I worked at a pharma company called IDCL in Hyderabad for a year, studied harder, applied again and got it on my second attempt.

However, within a month of me joining IIM Ahmedabad, my elder brother had married a girl from England and had moved to Ontario, Canada. My father then asked me to follow suit and join my brother in Canada. I decided to  take his advice, quit IIM Ahmedabad after a month and moved to London, Ontario and joined the MBA program at the University of Western Ontario (later known as the Richard Ivey School of Business).

I was a poor immigrant in Canada then, with very little money for even basic expenses. I used to spend only 50 cents or so on lunch, and felt that people around me, who spent $3-4 dollars, were extremely rich in comparison. Also, I was a new immigrant, while everyone else around me were well established Canadians. I sold air conditioners and furnaces door to door to pay for my MBA. It is under these circumstances that I discovered opportunity - you tend to discover skills you never knew you had before. You tend to work harder, because you're at the bottom and the only way to go is up. Canada is indeed a wonderful place and there are absolutely no limits as to what you can do and achieve. It is no wonder that lots of Indians, many from the IITs, do really well here.

Could you describe the beginnings and development of Fairfax Financial Holdings, which is among the world's largest property, insurance and investment companies today?

After my MBA, I began applying for jobs, but as an Indian immigrant competing with established Canadians, I had a difficult time. Finally, I got into a company called Confederation Life Insurance (where I then worked for almost ten years), and that too only because out of the four applicants, the other three, never showed up for the interview! My manager there, John Watson, taught me all that I know today about investing, trained me for the job and became my mentor. He was one of the best people I ever knew, and exposed me to the world of Value Investing.

In 1985, which is 13 years after I came to Canada, I and three of my colleagues from Confederation Life started a company called Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel Ltd, which soon developed into the firm currently called Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited.

It was the opportunities and exposure in Canada which enabled me to develop the company, something that was surely not possible in India at that time. I loved building the company, as it started from nothing to about $6 billion today. The share price was about $3.25 when we started; today it is about $475.

The work culture at Fairfax is terrific; we have always had very hardworking employees, and we have always treated them very well; and ensuring that what we do is good for the customer as well as the employee and the company. We donate about 1-2% of the profits back to the communities in which we do business in, today that is about 12 million and to put it into perspective our whole company was worth 2 million when we started in 1985.

Describe your day-to-day work as the CEO of Fairfax. What is it that you love the most about your work?
As the CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.; the Head Office has only about 25 employees. It is the subsidiaries in New York, Canada and around the world that generate the business in our Insurance and Reinsurance operations. All the float managed by the Investment Team at Fairfax, of which I am a member, is worth over $25 billion. Any acquisitions, positions we take and succession planning takes place at the Head Office.

I wouldn't really call what I am doing "work", it is what I enjoy and in fact, I plan to do this as long as I can. I have also been very involved in supporting other organizations like the University of Waterloo (which in many ways is like the IIT of Canada, and is very well-known). I am on the Investment Committee of the Hospital for Sick Children, the Advisory Board of the Richard Ivey School of Business (my alma-mater), the Investment Committee of St. Paul's Anglican Church, and also the Investment Committee of the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation.

I have three children - two of whom are married now, and also two grandchildren. Although they are not working in or are involved with Fairfax, they are all doing really well.  I have told my children that all my shares as I control the voting shares will after I am gone go into a foundation so that Fairfax will continue to grow and employees can build their career with us without any fear that the company will be sold or broken up.

About what I love and hate the most in my work:-

I absolutely love all aspects of my work; building a great company from scratch, doing business as it should be done, in a free, fair and friendly environment.

The only negative aspect, according to me, is when I have to let someone know they aren't performing very well. However, we do bear in mind that they have families and we treat them with respect and make sure that they are well taken care of.

You have often been called the "Warren Buffett of Canada", for your excellent investing skills, and your accurate predictions of the global financial crisis of 2008. Have you ever met Mr. Buffett personally?
Yes, I first met Warren Buffett at an annual meeting in 1981-82, which was attended by less than 200 people. He is indeed a great builder of business, and one of the best value investors. Although my business is different from his, I have learnt a lot from him and his methods. I am indeed lucky to have had mentors like John Templeton, who was a big mentor in my life for over 30 years.

What advice would you like to give to current-day students of IIT Madras?

At your age, I was very much like all of you are right now. I would like to share one incident with you that changed my life:-

I was 21, travelling by train from Madras to Hyderabad in a third-class unreserved compartment after finishing IIT-M. I was sitting on the footsteps of the coach, smoking a cigarette (I later quit smoking), when I met a man, who gave me a book titled "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. It was one of the turning points of my life. Napoleon Hill wrote about the life of 500 Americans who had become financially successful, such as Andrew Carnegie. The phrase "what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve" convinced me that if you really want to be successful - in any field you might choose - then you surely will be. You are bound to have experiences and turning points like these in your life and when you do act on them.

As far as my personal life is concerned, I got married at 23 and been married, for over 40 years now. That is probably the single best thing that has ever happened in my life. Also, develop a strong faith in God, and practice your faith whatever faith it may be. It will give you a guideline on how to live your life, and will help you make all the right choices for a wonderful future. Once you are successful you should always remember to pay it back and help others who are less fortunate.  You will find that personally rewarding


Read full interview at


Short Bio:  Prem Watsa is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings, based in Toronto, Canada. He has been called the "Canadian Warren Buffett" by some during successful periods of investing.
He is a CFA charterholder, an alumnus of the Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, a 1999 Distinguished Alumnus Awards Recipient of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras where he graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a holder of an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business of the University of Western Ontario.

ChapternewsChapters News

Clements High School Students Introduced to "A Day of Coding"

November 1, 2014


As the thirty high school students walked into class on a Saturday morning, they weren't thinking about the coding lesson they were walking into, but rather, the amount of candy they had collected the night before on Halloween.


They had to quickly change their focus and get ready for the morning class organized jointly by the IIT Alumni of Greater Houston (IITAGH) and the Global Studies Academy (GSA) at Clements High School.  The class titled "A Day of Coding" was created to allow students with no coding experience to learn the basics of HTML and JavaScript, and have a functional website deployed on the internet by the end of the class.

"Anand Chauhan expertly broke down the various steps to basic programming and provided the students with comprehensible input and theory to better grasp the scope and potential of computer science and coding," said Anne Beckman, Academy Coordinator at Fort Bend ISD.




Read full story at IITAGH



Entrepreneurship in Action! - Southern California Chapter Event


A Fall Networking Mixer was organized on October 28th which was very well received by the audience. Professionals as well as students joined the evening to listen to the stories of three small Businesses by their founder presidents and learned how great companies are born.  A stroke of genius or a play by Lady Luck? Does fortune really favor the brave?

Sanjay Rajpoot, President, Sustainable Microfarms talked about Urban Farming, Automated Hydroponic home farming solutions, and fully automated green houses and environmental management systems.

Ravi Kondagunta, CEO and Diego Porqueras, Founder of Deezmaker 3D Printers shared their beginnings from just 2 years ago and the challenges of growth and scaling up.

Venu Sarakki, President of Sarraki Associates, Inc. a leading management consulting, program management, and systems-software engineering firm have innovated their way into the hearts of their clients since 1995. 


Other entrepreneurs and Cal State Fullerton, engineering students of Indian origin too received an opportunity to come to the podium and share their thoughts. Attendees enjoyed a great networking evening under and elegant ambiance.


PanIIT Long Island Chapter: Holiday Party on November 22, 2014
Location:  Diwan Restaurant, Port Washington, NY

A fun evening. Lots of games, Trivia, Food Game, Awesome food. Kids, parents all played together. Swati Bhargava, our VP's wife, was the best MC we could have had.

All the pictures for the event are on : https://sites.google.com/site/iitliny/pictures - courtesy our Secretary and Unofficial Photographer Anuraag Purwar.
upcomingeventsUpcoming Chapter Events

IITAGH Houston Event: "Living in Houston" Insights Over Coffee 


The Indian Institutes of Technology Alumni of Greater Houston (IITAGH) is hosting a "Living in Houston" Insights over Coffee event on Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm at a Starbucks in Sugar Land (details being finalized).

IITAGH is focused on our goals to Connect | Develop | Give Back.  As part of our Connect mission and with this event, we are looking to bring together spouses who would like to meet and discuss topics related to living in Houston. 

Topics of discussion could be: 


- Things to do in Houston for both couples and families
 - Kids - schools, camps, day care
 - Restaurants - Houston has one of the most vibrant restaurant scenes
 - Something else on your mind?  We can chat about it!
Where: Starbucks in Sugar Land, Houston
When: Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
While each of us looks to connect professionally, it is also important for spouses to connect socially.

There are a eight (8) limited spots available.  Registration will be open soon.  There will be no cost for the event. However, you have to register. See you there!




IITAGH Houston Event: Career Insights for the Management Consulting Industry

If you are looking for a mentor for career insights specifically related to the Management Consulting Industry, please join us for a breakfast session on Tuesday February 17, 2015, 7 AM to 9 AM (Location being finalized).

Over breakfast, the session mentor will walk you through a discussion on:

 1) What the industry has to offer

 2) What companies in the Management Consulting industry are looking for

 3) How to demonstrate value through results that match the company needs

 4) How to determine what you want

 5) How other people in the industry have made their career decisions 



Job Connection

Bombay  www.iitbombay.org



Madras www.iitmaa.orgwww.facebook.com/pages/IIT-Madras/110588392295422 
Varanasi www.itbhuglobal.orgwww.facebook.com/IITBHUChroniclewww.itbhuglobal.org/chronicle/
Guwahati iitgalumni.orgwww.facebook.com/groups/iitg.alumniconnect/www.iitg.ac.in/aa/Alumni_Newsletter.htm
Hyderabadwww.iith.ac.in. https://www.facebook.com/iithyderabad 
IIT Women Alumni                                       http://www.linkedin.com/groups/IIT-Women-Alumni-6655081/about

Please forward missing information to newsletter@IIT.org so that we can include it in future newsletters..  Thanks

IIT Alumni - Join us on LinkedIn


IIT Alumni Linkedin Group has emerged as a very vibrant resource for our community. We are now 25500+ strong and growing. The group is a great way to connect with fellow IITans living in your area, working in your industry or from your batch. It is great resource to find employers, employees, contacts or customers via qualified introductions on an opt-in basis. The members are finding it as a great place to discuss their ideas or to promote their products.


Click here to join the LinkedIn Group. 

Contribute to the Newsletter!

We would love to hear from you! If you'd like to contribute a short IIT-related story or article to be published in the Newsletter, please send a 200-or 250-word writeup to newsletter@iit.org. Include your contact information and your IIT affiliation in your email. 


To subscribe or to be added to the mailing list, click on the button on the left panel that says "Join Our Mailing List"


Newsletter team at Pan IIT USA Inc.

(Alumni Association of Indian Institutes of Technology)