BOSTON–Three Bostonians–Prasanna Gopalakrishnan, Anand Rao, and Anupendra Sharma–were named Distinguished Alumni of BITS Pilani in 2018 out of eight names announced by the University.
These awards were instituted in 2012, and thirty three BITSians have been given this honor to date. BITS Pilani is one of India’s pre-eminent engineering institutions, founded in 1964. Earlier this week it was chosen as an Institute of Eminence alongside IIT Delhi, IIT Mumbai, Manipal Institute as one of the Indian educational institutions that could represent India amongst the Global 500 universities.
The awardees have been selected by a panel consisting of Deepak S. Parekh, Chairman, HDFC Ltd. (Chairman), Debu Bhattacharya, Vice-Chairman, Hindalco Industries, Prof Ravi Sinha, Professor and former Dean, Alumni and Corporate Relations, IIT Bombay, NS Parthasarathy, Founder, Executive Vice Chairman and COO, Mindtree, Bangalore , Prof Souvik Bhattacharyya, Vice Chancellor, BITS Pilani and Prof Arya Kumar, Dean, Alumni Relations, BITS Pilani.
Prasanna Gopalakrishnan was chosen in the category of Corporate Leadership. She is currently Managing Director & Group CIO of Consumer operations at Bank of America. Till recently she was the CIO of Boston Private Bank. Prior to joining Boston Private, Prasanna served in various leadership roles at Harvard University, Fidelity Investments, Thomson Reuters and State Street Bank.
She has an MBA from Northeastern and BE from BITS Pilani. Prasanna is passionate about developing women in technology and women of color, and serves in various platforms and capacities to support developing women in leadership. She also advises tech startup CEOs in Silicon Valley and other locations, on business models, platform & product development.
Anand Rao was chosen in the category of Corporate Leadership. He is the Global Artificial Intelligence Lead at PwC. Before his consulting careers, Anand was the Chief Research Scientist at the Australian Artificial Intelligence Institute, a boutique research and software house.
Anand has also co-edited four books on Intelligent Agents and has published over fifty papers in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence in major journals, conferences, and workshops.
Anand was awarded the Most Influential Paper Award for the Decade in 2007 from the Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS) organization. He holds an MBA from Melbourne Business School, PhD in Artificial Intelligence from University of Sydney, and a BE from BITS Pilani.
Anupendra Sharma was chosen in the category of Entrepreneurship, in recognition of his contributions to entrepreneurship education, social impact and venture capital. More than four thousand entrepreneurs and innovators have received education and mentorship through three organizations he founded including the Startup Leadership Program, Healthcare Innovation & Commercialization at Harvard, and the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at BITS Pilani.
The programs also support various educational needs for 1,000 disadvantaged children in Asia and Africa. Anupendra spent nearly twelve years as a Senior Partner investing in healthcare in the USA and Asia at Siemens Venture Capital before taking on his current role at Siemens Healthineers, partnering with innovative companies to enrich and launch new offerings for the company.
Other winners this year include:
Prof. REENA AGARWAL, Vice Provost for Faculty, McDonough Professor of Finance & Director, Georgetown Center for Financial Markets and Policy, Georgetown University, USA
Prof. PRABHU PINGALI; Professor and Director, Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative, Cornell University, USA
Prof. ARUN SOMANI, Anson Martin Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Science Engineering, Iowa State University, USA
Mr. Ajoyendra Mukherjee, EVP & Head-Global HR, Tata Consultancy Services, India; and
Tushar Jain, Founder and Group CEO, Automat Industries Limited
The awards will be given at the annual convocations in Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad and Dubai this year.