An interview with Anitha Alappat

We are back with the prestigious ‘BITSAA 30 Under 30’ Award.

Every three years, we dedicate these awards to all those young BITSians who thought and acted differently, who challenged the status quo, rewrote the rules, and created their own paths, to the best examples of what it means to be a BITSian.
We recently interviewed Anitha Alappat who won the award in 2009 under the Leadership Category. Here follows the interview –

Q.  Please enlighten us about your work for which you won the BITSAA 30 Under 30 Award.

I won the award in the Leadership category. After BITS, I did a masters in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and then joined General Motors India at their Technical Center. I was the only engineer in their Indian team who was trained in using AutoMod, a simulation software used for throughput simulations. Additionally I was involved with several other initiatives within and outside the organization, including being a training needs coordinator, member of GM Women’s council, Dream A Dream, and Navgati. Later, I attended Indian School of Business, Hyderabad specializing in Strategy and Leadership. Post ISB I joined MEMC (now SunEdison), a semiconductor manufacturing company in their Product Marketing team. I have always been passionate about education and learning and development, and in 2013 finally plunged officially into this domain! I am currently Head of Operations at an education consulting company based in Dubai, UAE. I manage their local operations as well as new product/market strategy for teacher training and recruitment. Until few months before I was an active member of BITSAA International as well as the BITSAA Middle East Chapter.

Q. What does it take to become a woman leader?

Everything that takes to become a man leader, plus an extra dose of perseverance and self-confidence!! There are always more people telling a woman that she can’t do something than people telling her that she can do it. If a woman is able to find the strength within herself to achieve whatever she wants, then nothing can stop her.

Q. Mention that one thing which you pursued in your BITSian life which played the most important role in making the present Anitha Alappat?

Always trying out new things and being part of initiatives that seemed interesting to me!

Q. What does this award mean to you?

This award is one of my most cherished achievements, an honor I am extremely proud of. It was at BITS that my leadership skills blossomed and I consider this award as a recognition from the alumni community for putting those skills to good use. :)

Q. We might be having several BITSians who would be unsure if they should get them nominated. What message do you put forward to them?

Go for it! My name was suggested by someone else and I wasn’t sure at all that I should submit a nomination. Finally I decided to do it, and its been one of the best decisions in my life so far. :)

BITSAA International calls for nominations for the prestigious 30 Under 30 Awards.

Know someone whose work shines brightly in one of the above areas?

Nominate them now -> http://bit.ly/1HBCpbA

To know more about the 30 under 30 awards, go here ->http://bit.ly/1JdGyXo
Nominations end – June 30th, 2015.

Getting to know – BLP 2014!

BLP – BITSAA Leadership Programme provides the perfect platform for each and every BITSian to give back to Alma Mater. It is designed to identify and nurture the next generation of Leaders who will run BITSAA International and its projects. Since its inception, it has been very successful and the year 2014 – where the fourth edition of BLP kick started, the reception and enthusiasm showcased by BITSians across the world was encouraging.

With BITSAA’s primary objective to make it as the best networked alumni ecosystem in the world, BLP comes as a starting step to reach that goal. The entire BLP process was an amalgamation of the thoughts, ideas, efforts and support of numerous BITSAA volunteers, who successfully recruited those passionate alumni who can run this global organization efficiently.

The entire process of BLP 2014 was not a cake walk for the BITSAA team. Initially the planning for BLP process happened early in the year of 2014 with the involvement of various teams such as People strategy, Operations and Leadership teams. The planning was followed by communication to BITSians across the globe. Marketing and Communications teams helped in the overall publicity in reaching out to all BITSians with ease. Once when the initial communication was released, there were around 125 applications which were received for various positions, followed by the 3 step process:

  1. Candidate’s application Screening
  2. Interview by the specific team (Ops, Marketing, Fund raising, Technology etc.)
  3. Final Interview by the people’s Strategy team.

After the rigorous screening and interview process, a total of 43 candidates were handpicked and inducted into different groups in BITSAA. It was no less than a typical job interview.

Organizing an initiative of this volume is not easy without its own ups and downs. The BITSAA team did face some initial hurdles. “Excellent Participation and Interest, But we did face challenges in attracting interest for Technology and People Strategy teams” – says Nidhi Gurnani from BITSAA People’s Strategy Team.

Some of the feedbacks from the BLP 2014 admits –

“Great questions were asked as a part of the BLP 2014 applications attempting to capture each candidates overall profile”

Interaction/Informal interviews with multiple senior team members, especially with whom the candidates are likely to work provided greater opportunity to connect with BITSians across the globe”

“Greater Flexibility in joining teams/roles that the candidates may apply based on one’s interest”

The candidates who joined in BLP 2014 truly demonstrated their passion to give back to BITS and take BITSAA to the pinnacle of success. The BITSAA Leadership Programme holds a promise of learning, volunteering, and lots of fun with giving back to our Alma mater and creating a strong network across the world with our larger BITSian family.

Do Keep a watch for the next BLP recruitment and join this invigorating team!!!

BITSAA rings the NASDAQ Opening Bell

On Monday, 23 December 2013, BITS Alumni Association (BITSAA) proudly rang the NASDAQ opening bell in Times Square, NY, USA. This was an incredibly rare honor for BITSians and also a critical opportunity for us to showcase BITSAA as a family of world class leaders. Only a handful of educational institutions, like MIT and CalTech have been invited for such an honor.

 

The Opening Bell Ceremony at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York’s Times Square serves as a platform to generate exposure for companies and nonprofits, make a news announcement or celebrate organizational milestones. Hosted by a NASDAQ OMX senior executive, the Opening Bell allows listed companies and invited non-profits to address a wide audience with specific messages. A common sight today is the highly publicized events in which a celebrity or executive from a corporation stands behind the NYSE podium and pushes the button that signals the bells to ring. Many consider the act of ringing the bells to be quite an honor and a symbol of a lifetime of achievement. This daily tradition wasn’t always this highly publicized either. In fact, it was only in 1995 that the NYSE began having special guests ring the bells on a regular basis. Prior to that, ringing the bells was usually the responsibility of the exchange’s floor managers.

2013-14 marked the 50th anniversary of BITS Pilani as a world class institute of technology and sciences. This ceremony was the curtain raiser for the celebrations and kick-off of second edition of the BITSAA Global Meet , held at the Hyderabad Campus from January 3-5 2014.

The great chance to ring the Opening Bell at NASDAQ was a proud moment for the entire BITSian community – The efforts of tireless BITSAA volunteers who have translated their passion for BITS into transformative projects over the years and the unflinching support of alumni like you, have made this event happen.

The event was broadcasted on several television networks like CNBC, Bloomberg, etc. reaching millions worldwide. This allowed BITSAA to showcase flagship initiatives thereby boosting awareness about BITSAA initiatives and uplifting the BITSAA brand to the ranks of world class universities who have participated before.

Mr. Raju Reddy, then chairman of BITSAA International, rang the opening bell, as he was joined by several dignitaries from BITSAA, industry leaders, businessmen and academicians. Speaking on the occasion, Reddy, from the BITS class of 1981, thanked NASDAQ OMX for hosting the event. Recounting his journey from India to the U.S. to obtain a master’s degree and going on to found Sierra Atlantic, which was later acquired by Hitachi, Reddy said his “journey is typical of many of my fellow alums with whom I have the honor of sharing the stage today. Each of them is highly accomplished and a respected global leader in their field of work, thanks to the culture of openness and opportunity provided by America.”

“It is indeed a privilege to celebrate the 50th anniversary of BITS Pilani by ringing the bell on Nasdaq today,” he said. “BITS has a deep connection with the U.S. since its founding years. Mr. G.D. Birla, one of independent India’s iconic industrialists and also the university founder, consulted then chairman of the MIT Board of Trustees and also the Ford Foundation to design programs that would make collaboration with industry an integral feature of our education…Today, BITS is one of the most selective universities in the world with only 1 in every 68 applicants admitted.” Reddy said that many BITS alumni have been at the forefront of innovation and job creation in the U.S. as entrepreneurs and senior executives in some of America’s best known companies, including several listed on NASDAQ, such as Akamai, Cisco, Cypress, Intelligroup, Ixia and SanDisk. “Our alumni are highly regarded for their path breaking research and teaching at leading universities such as MIT, Stanford and Princeton. Closer to Wall Street, BITS alumni are known for their pioneering work in banking and finance. We even have an Emmy winner amongst us. And a Mars Rover scientist, too.”

Mr Reddy then pointed out the opportunity represented by a lot of alumni in both India and the US, lauding their innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. He mentioned the BITS Spark  program that aims to nurture such entrepreneurs. He expressed hope that BITS, as India’s #1 private University, is well positioned to become the next Stanford or MIT.

..

In an internal email to the organization, BITSAA CEO – Rohit Koul, expressed “special thanks to the Weekend Witchcraft team for creating the video that was played at the event; Vikrant, Kris, Raghav and the local BITSAA NY team for taking care of the on-ground logistics; Kalyan Krishnamani (CPRO, BITSAA), Kaushik (BITSAA Marketing Lead) and his team for apt marketing; Aditya Garg (BITSAA Chapter Relations) for driving social media and Aditya Sharma (BITSAA Technology) who seems to be perennially available for us.

Any report on the event would not be complete, without thanking Venu Palaparthi (Co-founder BITSAA Intl, OMX Exec & Dreamcricket fame) who made this happen; Atul Bhatnagar (CEO, Cambiam Networks) for getting on multiple calls & generously putting his PR machinery behind us and Sandeep Arora (Co-founder BITSAA & COO Knack Systems) for sponsoring the pre-event reception on the 22nd. The motley group of folks who assembled at NASDAQ have pledged USD 1 Million for BITS, to be raised in coming decade.”

Here is what some prominent BITSians who attended had to say about the ceremony:

“The NASDAQ opening bell ceremony marks a milestone event for BITSAA. It symbolizes the recognition of the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of BITS and BITS alumni around the globe making a difference in people’s lives” – S.P. Kothari, deputy dean and Gordon Y. Ballard Professor of Management at Sloan School of Management, MIT.

“This is a very proud moment and is telling of the times where years of hard work and the resulting contributions of BITSians to the world community are beginning to be recognized. We have a very proud legacy that is great to see others share and admire”- Anurag Jain, Entrepreneur.

“This proud moment is ultimately a result of the joint effort go thousands of volunteers who have translated their passion for BITS into transformative projects over the years. Some of the recent projects like BITSConnect  2.0 are impacting the lives of thousands of BITSians every day, and our helping put BITS on the international map” – Shashikant Khandelwal, CTO, The Find

The coverage of the event can be found below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8bcnilmHio

 

Oasis 2014 in Boston!!!

Reunions are always nostalgic and short but leave a profound and everlasting memories. The year 2014 witnessed another glorious Bitsian reunion in US – Oasis 2014 in Boston.. Yes you heard it right!!

Oasis was recreated this time, not in Pilani but in Boston on 9th Nov 2014.This was the first oasis organized outside Pilani with more than 160 people attending the event. There were representations across all the four campuses from different batches. The idea was to cast the magic spell of Oasis in Boston as it used to be celebrated in Pilani and provide a platform for socializing and bonding among bitsians of all batches. “We were not sure how the event would turn out nor did we know many people would come as it is the first time in history that Oasis is conducted outside Bits. However the support and attendance which we got was overwhelming” says Ajay Koul, BITSAA NE Chapter Head.(Batch ‘98)

This Gala event kick started with a warm reception and the Bitsian Junta who came with their family were served their favorite dishes like bread pakoda, banana rabri and paneer maggi with “shikanji” grabbing maximum attention. This was followed by powerfully nostalgic music and dance performances and some entertaining musical games all steered by hilarious emceeing. For more coverage of the event, Do checkout this You tube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62wFKrjhn4I

Bitsians across various batches and campuses bonded very well and together put up an extraordinary stellar performance and made the event a very memorable one. The amount of fun and excitement this Boston Oasis has created gives us the staunch hope that this tradition will continue.

 

BITS 80s Reunion!!!

It was a chilly November in the San Francisco Bay Area, There was palpable excitement in the air. It was Nov 28, less than 12hrs removed from saying thanks in proper tradition. Less than 8 hrs removed from the last sip of wine.  Less than 4 hrs removed from arguments over the football game. For many, the festivities had ended. But, for some, it was just the beginning. And, they were thankful about one thing, hitting that button on bits80.org and saying “YES”!  The 3 day forecast on the BITSometer was loud and clear “ Nov 28- 100% chance of fist pumps, back slaps and hugs. Nov 29- 120% chance of heart thumping, feet tapping and body gyrating thunderstorms. Nov 30 – 150% chance of psenti-feelings”. A storm was indeed brewing..

 Storms are not created overnight. They are a culmination of forces of natural elements building momentum with positive re-enforcement to sustain it along the way. There is a perpetrator for every storm and the BITS80 Reunion was no different. Suvashish Ghosh (83) batch – the master mind sowed the seeds which bloomed to this beautiful reunion. Suvashish along with a group of energetic bitsians – Vijay (83), Vikas (83) and Ratnesh (82) Nivi Padhy(85) Anu Murari (86) Rajiv (80) Venu (80) Sriram (87) and Sudha (86) – formed the core committee spanning the batches 80 to 89 , who championed this re union.

Having lived years not knowing one’s own batch mates, the notion of motivating and uniting BITSians several degrees apart was a tall order.  And if you thought biking to pahadi was hard  … this was a step harder…  but, the rewards and the descent after the accomplishment paralleled the same heights and sights that pahadi had injected into the BITSian lives.

The Reunion clocks started ticking fast and the core committee got into the full swing of preparations. Right from scouting for venues, figuring out events to crafting the agenda the engines for the reunion rolled out in great speed. Elaborate thoughts and endless lacha sessions resulting in getting the “where”, “when” and “who” questions of reunion answered. The team decided that the reunion had to be a long weekend and they all settled in on the thanks giving holidays. Thanksgiving would allow families to travel together and also meet the extended BITS family.

Once the “where” and “when” items were finalized, the committee realized the need of an agenda which would keep the incoming bitsians and their extended families on their toes. So they got together and whipped up music, drama and ELAS/HAS for starters. Creative one-off activities with local attractions were thrown in as optional choices. Armed with a decent “agenda” the committee were all ready to jump into action.

Initially the core team did face hiccups in getting more registrations as there were lot of skepticism with enthu meters very low.However it was the exact opposite with music gang, whose enthu caused needle-bending readings. The spotlight was on the music night which was to be the crown jewel of the reunion. With dates and venue locked in… The feverish pitch towards the music night began earnestly in the month of October. Virtual rehearsals, conference calls etc. indicated that music night is going to rock on Reunion. The enthusiasm infused video clips of music night practices acted as a catalyst in turning around the re union registration. It served as the perfect trailer to build momentum.  It was further bolstered by another music event, a karaoke night in Los Altos, Bay Area with an open invitation to the larger BITS crowd. This did turn the tide in the right direction.

Finally all the planning paved well and the celebrations kick started from Nov 28th to 30th 2014 in San Francisco.Celebrations and excitement were filled in air. Not to forget that all bitsians eyes were gleaming at those ever yummy panner Maggi, Kashmiri pulao, sweet curd and Jalebi which were served. Also reunions without RAF would be definitely a miss.So RAF night was organized and Amitabh Bachan’s Don was screened which added more excitement. It was extremely enjoyed by bitsians, their spouses and the kids too.

Series of events like fashion show, ELAS/HAS plays, antaskhari, and dumbchardes engaged all the bitsians thoroughly in immense fun and awakened the animated, adrenalin generating hyper tension that was the very hall mark for any event in BITS. This was followed by Photo-shoots which provided a nice break between ELAS/HAS events and the music night. Set in a beautiful location of Presidio in SFO, the customary group and batch photos turned up some interesting nuggets like the “bookends of the reunion: 80 + 89 batch photo” and “The lone guy and the women: 84 batch photo”

As the final evening of the reunion rolled out, the excitement and anticipation towards the Music night continued to climb higher every minute. the melodies started rolling out with “Deewana Hua Baadal” “neele neele ambar par”. Intertwined with the rocking tunes like “Jaane Jaan”, “Piya thu.” the audience got into the groove heading out to the dance floor. The music night went on for 4 plus hours with nonstop hits that kept coming like a juke box set on automatic. It was a nostalgic blast from the past with great song selection and brilliant performances. Challenged by geographies and very little practice time, the music night team simply rocked putting on a stellar show.

All good things come to an end and that applied to BITS80 reunion. This reunion perfectly resonated nostalgic memories, unlimited joys, boundless happiness of good old college days. The BITS80 Reunion is one such reunion which was a journey in itself and truly lived up to the tagline Reconnect, Relive and Renew the Bitsian Bug.

For more details on the event – Check out (https://www.facebook.com/BITS80s)