2013 India Conference

Speaker Bios


Gunjan Bagla | Consultant, Founder and Managing Director, Amritt, Inc.

Gunjan Bagla, an India Business Consultant, has 25 years of global sourcing, engineering, and marketing experience. He has held senior positions in technology sales and marketing. He is the founder and Managing Director of Amritt, Inc. and his clients include Johnson & Johnson, Raytheon, Covidien, Clorox, Roche and Paramount Farms, among others.

Gunjan is the author of the acclaimed title "Doing Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today from tomorrow’s most exciting Market" published in 2008 by Warner/Hachette Books. He created the executive seminar "Business with India" for Caltech, the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. In November 2010, Gunjan was the only Southern California business person to accompany President Obama as part of the Executive Mission to India.

For his expertise on India, Gunjan has been interviewed on Fox Business Television, BBC World News, BBC Television's The Hub with Nik Gowing and National Public Radio's To The Point with Warren Olney. He has been quoted in the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Business Week, Industry Week, and the Hollywood Reporter, for his expertise on India.

Gunjan serves on the board of the South Asia Studies Association. He is a mechanical engineering graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology and immediate past president of the IIT Alumni Group. Gunjan completed his MBA from Southern Illinois University, where he was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. He also blogs at www.theindiaexpert.com

Shekhar Chitnis | Founder, CEO and President, Chisk Inc. and Chitnis Consulting Inc.; CEO, NexGen Power Group

Shekhar Chitnis is the Founder, CEO and President of Chisk Inc. and Chitnis Consulting Inc, CEO of NexGen Power Group, Inc. and Managing Director of Commercial Electric Vehicles U.K. He also sits on Boards of various companies in US and India.

British born, naturalized citizen of the USA, Shekhar is of Indian origin. Besides the USA, he has worked extensively in Europe and Asia, particularly in UK, Germany, India, China, S. Korea and Japan. He has been in USA for about 30 years, India for about 15 years, UK for 5 years and Japan for 4 years. His business experience ranges from Fortune 5 to start-up companies; domestic to global markets; consumer to industrial products; goods and services; as well as imports and exports.

Prior to his current roles as Board Member, Chairman, CEO, Entrepreneur and a Consultant for various companies, where he is bringing new ideas and new markets together, Shekhar was the COO at Liquidmetal Technologies, a high tech materials company that went public in 2002. During his stint at Liquidmetal Technologies, he also managed Liquidmetal Golf as it’s CEO. Prior to the entrepreneurial bug biting him, he spent 12 years at Ford, the last four in Japan, as the Director of Ford of Japan’s Marketing and Product Development. During that time, he was responsible for development and marketing of 27 different carlines.

His present business focus is three areas — Management Consulting, Emerging Energy Technologies and the Indian Market. In the emerging energy field, as the CEO of NexGen Power Group/MD of CEV, U.K, he is bringing Zero Emission Fully Electric Vehicles to the global market, he is working on the first US full-size 40 foot bus, capable of a full day’s run on a single charge, for the City of Anaheim. He is also manages a company that has developed high powered, energy efficient LED lights for Streetlight and Parking light applications. For the Indian market, he is working on developing products as well as services, both for import and export. In addition to his own companies, he also consults for companies interested in distributing or sourcing in and from India.

Shekhar Chitnis is a sought after speaker at business conferences and on TV and has spoken at Caltech-MIT Forum, University of Chicago, Harvard Business School, USC, Japan Business Council, UCI, UCLA, Tech BIZ, TIE, LARTA and on Japanese TV as well Doordarshan (TV) in India. Shekhar Chitnis has an MBA from University of Chicago and an BS in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering from Maulana Azad College of Technology, Bhopal. He is member of Mensa since 1985, and active on the Board of TiE South Coast and Board of Talega Business Park. He lives and works in San Clemente, California.

Bhagwan Chowdhry | Professor of Finance, UCLA Anderson

Bhagwan Chowdhry is a Professor of Finance at UCLA Anderson where he has held an appointment since 1988.

Professor Chowdhry has also taught at the University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Indian School of Business. He received his Ph.D. in 1989 from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. He also has an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Iowa and a B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology.

His research interests, on which he has published several papers in finance and economics journals, are in International Finance and Corporate Finance and Strategy. He has been on the editorial board of a number of finance journals. He teaches International Finance, Corporate Finance and Financial Institutions at Anderson. He has also organized and taught Executive Education programs on Financial Derivatives, Corporate Risk Management and Valuation in Los Angeles, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Hyderabad.

Microfinance has been his recent teaching, research and applied interest. He has supervised several MBA student projects in Microfinance in the last several years and has taught an undergraduate seminar class and an MBA elective on the subject. He has developed a new model for "Franchising Microfinance" on which he has written a research paper and is studying the feasibility of implementing the model with a Microfinance Institution.

Professor Chowdhry has recently proposed Financial Access at Birth (FAB) initiative in which every child born in the world is given an initial deposit of $100 in an online bank account to guarantee that everyone in the world will have access to financial services in a few decades.

Navneet S. Chugh | Managing Partner, The Chugh Firm

Navneet S. Chugh is the Managing Partner of The Chugh Firm. He is an Attorney-at-Law, a Certified Public Accountant, and holds a MBA. The Chugh Firm provides corporate, tax, litigation, immigration, employment, media & entertainment, and M & A, services to emerging growth and mature companies. The Chugh Firm has a staff of 240 employees with 102 attorneys and CPAs, and has offices in Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Iselin NJ, Atlanta, Washington DC, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh (www.chugh.com)

He is an elected member of the TiE Global Board of Trustees. In 1997, he founded TiE Southern California and later served as President (www.tie.org).  In 2003, he was the founder president of the North American South Asian Bar Association (www.NASABA.com), a nationwide body with 27 chapters in North America representing over 10,000 Indian lawyers in the U.S. and Canada.

He is President of Pratham, LA, and President of Sikh Center of Orange County. He is on the board of HAB Bank, Ignify Consulting, India Community Center, and Premier Media, Inc. publisher of India Journal. He was on the board of Asia Society of Southern California (2006-11); and American India Foundation (2005-10). He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (www.ypo.org).  He is married to Ritu Chugh, who holds a MBA and teaches Marketing at Long Beach College. They have two children, Veeraj, 17, and Sabrina, 15.

Toni DasGupta '04 | Head, Insurance and Financial Strategy Group, Kalara Law

Toni DasGupta heads up the Insurance and Financial strategy group at Kalara Law, where she focuses on an integrated approach to financial planning for family estate and tax purposes. She works with major insurance carriers and financing companies to put together insurance and premium financing transactions as a vehicle of domestic and cross-border wealth transfer.

DasGupta previously managed a distressed debt fund, and worked on investment strategy and risk mitigation for an equity hedge fund. She is the TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) president elect for the Los Angeles chapter. She is also the founder of the Los Angeles Hedge Fund Manager's group and on the board of the 100 Women in Hedge Funds. She is committed to promoting financial literacy and empowerment. She holds a Ph.D. in physics and an MBA in finance from UCLA Anderson.

Uday Karmarkar | Distinguished Professor, L.A. Times Chair in Technology & Strategy, UCLA Anderson

Uday Karmarkar is the founder and Director of UCLA Anderson's Business and Information Technologies Project (BIT), which studies the impact of new online information and communication technologies on business practices worldwide. Karmarkar studies information-intensive industries, competitive analysis, intelligent management systems and operations and technology strategy for manufacturing and service firms. He has published over 70 articles and research papers. In addition, he was a founding editor of two operations and technology journals and an associate editor or advisory editor of several others.

He teaches courses on technology management, operations strategy and management issues in the new economy. He has been the faculty director for several executive education programs focusing on these topics and has organized and taught many programs for executives in the United States, Europe and Asia. Before joining UCLA Anderson in 1994, he taught at the Simon School at the University of Rochester and the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Karmarkar has undertaken consulting and research projects on e-business strategy, manufacturing strategy, business process redesign, supply chain management, industrial marketing and technology management for a wide array of companies in the United States, Europe and Asia, including Becton Dickinson, Aditya Birla Group, American Cimflex, Deere and Company, Eastman Kodak, Ford, GM, LA CRA, LA MTA, WW Grainger, Hindustan Lever, IBM, Singapore IDA, Thomson Publishing, USG and Xerox. He has been an advisor to or director of several start-up companies engaged in sectors such as eCRM, ERP, IT-enabled services, online and desktop educational systems, advanced planning and scheduling systems and data mining software.

He received his PhD in Management Science from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B. Tech in Chemical Engineering from the India Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Vandana (Ann) Mangal | Executive Director, Easton Technology Leadership Program, and Research Director, BIT Global Research Network, UCLA Anderson

Vandana Mangal is Executive Director for the Easton Technology Leadership Program and the Research Director for the Business and Information Technologies (BIT) at UCLA Anderson School of Management. As Executive Director of the Easton Technology Leadership program, Dr Mangal has been involved in the strategy, design and implementation of a new program focusing on technology management and leadership which was setup by a gift of two million dollars at UCLA Anderson. As Research Director of BIT, Dr Mangal has published several papers and articles in journals and magazines, many in collaboration with global researchers. She has published three books. In Spring 2013, she will be teaching a course in Emerging Markets and Technologies, focusing on Big Data.

Vandana has given talks at several domestic and global conferences, participated in panels and chaired conference sessions. She has jointly conducted company case studies. She has served as the guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Engineering Management and Economics titled 'Technology, Operations and Strategy in Innovation and Entrepreneurship'. She is the recipient of several awards for research and programs including from the Center for International Business Education and Research, the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the University of California's Industry-University Cooperative Research Program. She is a 4-time recipient of the UCLA Anderson School Local Award given for exemplary performance.

Before joining UCLA, Dr Mangal worked at Intel. She also worked at AE Business Solutions Consulting Company as a Senior Business Analyst and Project Manager serving as the primary liaison between clients and technical developers and managing projects in sectors including education, telecommunications, recreation and legal. Before moving to consulting, Vandana taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison's School of Business and at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville's Computer Science department. She completed her PhD from the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University; her undergraduate degree is in Electrical Engineering from PEC University of Technology.

Raghu Mendu | Co-Founder & General Partner, Ventureast

Raghu Mendu is a co-founder and general partner of Ventureast. He was part of the team that was responsible for the pioneering privatization of a venture capital fund in India. He is a technology professional by training, and his investment focus covers the broad technology and services space including IT, mobile, education, hospitality, alternative energy and water. He operates as Ventureast's partner based in the U.S.

Prior to co-founding Ventureast, Mendu had extensive corporate, entrepreneurial, and investment experience in the IT and banking industries in the U.S. He started a new subsidiary for Union Bank in Los Angeles called Union Bancsystems in the mid 1980s, and helped it grow to over $10Million in two years. Prior to this he was with Nixdorf Computer, first responsible for product development, and then for establishing the overall strategy and sales infrastructure for Nixdorf's Financial Industries Group. As an entrepreneur, he has built and sold three companies including one of the earliest technology product companies in India. He has also been involved in the acquisition of over eight companies as part of a US publicly listed rollup.

Mendu has a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Along with his wife, he has co-founded the "Heart of a Child Foundation", a charitable organization focused on supporting research in the area of congenital heart defects. He is an avid foodie, sport buff, and enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors.

Arvind K. Singhal '82 | Chairman, Technopak

Arvind Singhal acquired his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Communication from the erstwhile University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee) in 1979, and went on to complete his MBA in Finance and Marketing from UCLA (USA) in 1982 after securing a Rotary Foundation fellowship.

Starting his career as a Management Trainee with DCM Group in 1979 and after working for about 11 years with DCM Data Products and with Birla VXL (a S.K. Birla group enterprise), Arvind founded Technopak Advisors in 1992. Since then, Technopak (www.technopak.com ) has grown to become one of India's leading Management Consultancy firms with over 200 employees based out of Delhi NCR. It specializes in several sectors that include Textiles & Fashion, Retail and Consumer Products, Education (including vocational), and Agriculture & Food Processing / Food Services. In each of its sectors, it enjoys a very distinct position of thought leadership.  Beyond Technopak, Arvind is actively involved in the causes of Education and Healthcare in India. He serves on CII's National Committees for Education, Healthcare, and Textiles. He is also professionally active at various business associations and industry fora, and is a regular columnist (with a regular fortnightly column titled "Marketmind" initially in Business Standard and now in the Economic Times) for over 12 uninterrupted years. Arvind has also frequently given guest lectures at various leading educational Institutions in India and abroad that include many of the IITs and IIMs, Harvard Business School (USA), Wharton School (USA), ESADE (Spain), and The Vatican (Italy).

Arvind personal interests include projects focused on select socio-economic developmental issues of India's hills' societies, counseling (on a no-fee basis) children in classes 10th -12th and their parents on career choices, professionals in early and mid-stages of their careers on management of careers, and professionals and others in their early 50's to plan for a life post completion of professional engagements. In November 2012, Arvind was honored as a "Distinguished Alumnus) of IIT - Roorkee, and is also a permanent invitee to the Board of Governors of IIT-Roorkee. Arvind serves as a Director on one of the Mahindra Group companies, and on the advisory board of Metro Shoes. In the recent past, he has served on the Boards of LG (India) and Welspun.  Arvind is married to Shalini, and they have one son Aditya. The family is based out of Delhi.

Romain Wacziarg | Professor of Global Economics and Management, UCLA Anderson

Romain Wacziarg joined the Anderson School faculty in 2008. His research on the links between globalization and economic performance has been published in leading academic journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Economic Review, the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Development Economics and the Journal of Economic Growth. He teaches the MBA core course Managerial Economics, a FEMBA elective on Macroeconomic Fundamentals and an MBA elective on the Global Financial Crisis.

In addition to his research and teaching, Romain Wacziarg was the Edward Teller National Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 2002-2003. Outside UCLA, he is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the world's preeminent think tank for research in applied economics. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), based in London, UK. From 1998 to 2008, he was on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he taught strategy and business ethics courses for MBAs, and a course on Political Macroeconomics for PhD students. In addition to his academic experience, he worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the French Ministry of Finance.

Romain received a PhD and M.A. in Economics from Harvard University, as well as an M.A. in Economics from Universite Paris-Dauphine and a B.A. in Economics and Public Policy from Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.A citizen of France, born in Switzerland, raised in India and France, Romain Wacziarg moved to the United States in 1992. He is married to Magali Delmas, a Professor at UCLA's Institute of the Environment. They have two children.

2013 India Conference