Star IIM-Alumni: Lessons They LEARNt In

Business Today’s special
issue on India’s Best
B-schools shares inspirational stories of distinguished IIM Alumni, who have founded pioneering companies, led giant corporations and launched generation-defining products and services

IIM Calcutta (1983 - 1985)

K Ganesh, 60,
Founder, TutorVista

First Job: Shop floor engineer at Tata Motors (then TELCO) in 1982
Leaders Admired: Sunil Bharti Mittal, Shiv Nadar
Management Mantra: Show up, do that little extra for disproportionate outcomes

Ganesh made it to IIM Calcutta with his future wife and business partner Meena Ganesh. IIMC’s alumni website features them as “the husband-wife duo with a 100% success rate in the start-up world”

K Ganesh

Learning from IIMC: “I became more ‘employable’ because of top-tier management education. It gave me confidence and a safety net to start my entrepreneurial career.” 

IIM Ahmedabad (1987-1989)

Nirmal Jain, 56,
Founder, IIFL Group

First Job: Manager at HUL
in 1989
Leaders Admired: 
Azim Premji, Nandan Nilekani, Warren Buffett
Management Mantra: Focus on core competence and strive for excellence in execution

Nirmal Jain attributes much of his success to his years at IIM Ahmedabad, although he is a rank-holder Chartered Accountant and a Cost Accountant as well

Nirmal Jain

Learning from IIMA: “I got a holistic perspective of all aspects of business and also understood the importance of teamwork and interpersonal skills.” 

IIM Ahmedabad (1987-1989)

Sanjeev Bikhchandani,
59, Founder, Info Edge

First Job: Executive trainee at Lintas India Ltd
Ventures: Info Edge, which owns portals for job search (, matrimony (; real estate ( and education (

Internet entrepreneur Sanjeev Bikhchandani was honoured with the Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in January 2020

Learning from IIMA: “It instilled in me an attitude that helped me a lot later in life. Whether it is managing a very high workload, meeting deadlines or having a certain benchmark for excellence- these are intangible but they help you in life.”

Sanjeev Bikhchandani

IIM Calcutta (1987-1989)

Sumant Sinha, 57,
Chairman & CEO,
ReNew Power

First Job: Tata Administrative Services
Leaders Admired: 
Narendra Modi, Elon Musk
Management Mantra: Identify an opportunity early, do your homework, go for it

One of three children of India’s former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, Sumant Sinha would dream of working for the benefit of the broader community while growing up

Learning from IIMC: “B-school education instilled in me the sense of confidence needed to face any odds, which helped in a big way to turn my dream of doing something for India’s renewable energy into reality at a time when the sector wasn’t even at the embryonic stage.” 

Sumant Sinha 

IIM Ahmedabad (1990-1992)

Deep Kalra, 53,
Founder, MakeMyTrip

First Job: ABN Amro Bank
in 1992
Leaders Admired: Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, Sanjeev Bikhchandani
Management Mantra: Never chase money; focus on building something valuable

“I was going to chase a professional career and if the internet hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would have started a company,” says Deep Kalra

Learning from IIMA: “It provided one with a well-rounded education essential for any kind of career. The second thing is that it gives you the requisite skills to tackle new situations that help you go down uncharted territories.”

Deep Kalra

IIM Bangalore (2002-2004)

Rajiv Srivatsa, 44,
Founder, Urban Ladder

First Job: Software engineer at Infosys in 2000
Leaders Admired: Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Naval Ravikant
Management Mantra: Paint the vision, align smart people who are better than you, and course correct

Rajiv Srivatsa laments the fact that there’s barely any encouragement for entrepreneurship in campuses. He said all the focus was on placements and not on starting one’s own venture 

Learning from IIMB: “IIMB had a critical role to play in UrbanLadder’s journey. Our first customers, first investors, initial word of mouth… pretty much all of it was through IIMB alumni networks.”

Rajiv Srivatsa

IIM Ahmedabad (2005-2007)

Vineeta Singh, 39,
Founder, SUGAR

First Job: Summer intern at ITC in 2004
Leaders Admired: Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Falguni Nayar, Katrina Lake, Sanjeev Bikhchandani
Management Mantra:
Empower teams and get out of their way

She turned down an offer of Rs 1 Crore from Deutsche Bank as a fresher to start her entrepreneurial journey. She now runs SUGAR Cosmetics, a D2C beauty brand valued upwards of $500 million

Learning from IIMA: It taught her to take risks- “I learnt how moonshots can make a difference to your entire career trajectory.”

Vineeta Singh

Business Today’s
 special issue on
 India’s Best B-schools
Now On Stands!

Magazine Story by:
Sohini Mitter, BT Team
Designed by: Mohsin Shaikh
Produced by: Bhoomika Aggarwal

Click Here