Publish Date: 22th August 2020

Interview: Vinay Piparsania, CEO, IIT Delhi Endowment Management Foundation

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Vinay Piparsania has an extensive 30 years of operational experience at senior leadership positions in India, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East, mostly in the global automotive industry.

Associated with Ford Motor Company for nearly 20 years, Vinay has held progressive international marketing, sales and service responsibilities in Ford India, Ford Global Business Services (GBS), the Philippines and at Asia Pacific, planning, developing and launching several new auto models. As Consulting Director – Automotive, with Counterpoint Technology Market Research, a leading Asian headquartered research firm, Vinay monitored technology and market trends in the global automotive and mobility industry. As Founder and Principal of MillenStrat Advisory & Research, he also specializes in developing business and communication strategies focused on Millennial and Gen- Z customers and employees.

A marketing expert with technical and finance experience, Vinay has a mechanical engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT Delhi) and an MBA from Tulane University, New Orleans, USA.

In an interview with Dr Vanita Srivastava of the Communication, he talks about his vision and strategy for the new role and the roadmap to attain the goals.

Edited excerpts:

What is your vision for the Endowment Management Foundation? How do you plan to knit the relations with the alumni fraternity spread across the world?

The IIT Delhi Endowment Management Foundation will focus on cultivating and strengthening relationships with multiple communities and stakeholders, encouraging advocacy and investment for the realisation of IIT Delhi's goals and programs, supporting its student and alumni success. While IIT Delhi has been funded almost entirely by the Government of India so far, for it to realise it's future growth plans it is important to diversify the sources of funding. The IITD Endowment Fund, established on Oct 31, 2019, will be an important source of its funding for the future. In the US for example, over 30% of the expenses of major Universities like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc. are provided by their Endowment Funds.

As the Endowment Management Foundation, governed by its Board of Directors and through a team of professionals, we will work towards building a relationship of trust and credibility with our alumni through transparency and accountability by creating appropriate governance frameworks, processes, and standards for its operations, tracking of funds received and reporting to donors to ensure that their expectations of feedback and reporting are met and exceeded.

The ultimate goal of the Endowment Fund is of reaching USD 1 billion over some time. How do you propose to reach this goal?

By developing a strategic outreach approach for the Foundation, in consultation, and supported by the Board of Directors. The Endowment Management Foundation team will work towards leveraging the network of alumni around the world, to raise resources through financial means and connecting donors to programs. We will look to categorize alumni, corporate, and other segments of potential donors, look on to engage with them, understand their interests, concerns, and develop targeted opportunities for fund-raising and partnering with opportunities with IIT Delhi and its programs, dedicated to achieving its long-term goals. We will look at creating processes and activities, for continuous engagement with various stakeholders – alumni, corporates, foundations, and philanthropists - engaging with them one-on-one and through a common forum - such as reunions. We will collaborate with the Alumni Association to drive synergies, foster compassionate relationships with donors, professional partnerships with corporates, and collegial relationships with the IIT Delhi community – for example, through interactions with current students to encourage them to remain in active touch with the institute after graduation.

Can you elucidate some of the things that you plan to take up immediately

Firstly, we will be looking at cultivating long-term relationships, with key stakeholders within IIT Delhi ie. Director, Deans, department heads, and faculty to fully understand their strategic priorities and research focus, and look at building development opportunities with them for donors to partner with IIT Delhi on a long-term basis. Secondly, we will drive fundraising by planning and executing comprehensive and targeted campaign efforts, cultivating a culture of philanthropy and engagement among alumni, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders of the institute. We will plan on evolving a communication strategy targeted to relevant communities, raising the foundations and the Institute's profile. Thirdly, we will seek the active participation of all stakeholders to establish a vibrant, innovative ecosystem and framework for scaling-up the Foundation's operations as per targeted timeline, inspiring creativity, and engaging faculty, staff, administration, and student representatives to work towards common goals.

What had you studied at IIT Delhi? How did the IIT ecosystem help you in your professional trajectory

The personal development I experienced during my student days at IIT Delhi was simply awesome. Not only because I studied mechanical engineering, but because of the diverse range of friends and peers that I bonded with, and the variety of activities that I participated in, with amazing resources accessible to us. I made it a point to participate in several co-curricular activities i.e. swimming, squash, gymnastics, debating, photography, and dramatics. As a volunteer of the organizing team of several Rendezvous events (our annual inter-college cultural festival), I developed most of my organizing, teamwork, and fundraising skills and, most importantly, the appreciation of networking, effective communication, and building relationships. During my extensive career in the global automotive industry, I was mentored by several seniors who were IIT Delhi alumni and also came across several others from the IIT ecosystem who were administrators, suppliers, technologists, academicians, media, and communication experts, that were highly influential and contributed tremendously to building my career. The experiences of being a student at IIT Delhi is life-changing, and the skills and friendships you gain here are for a lifetime. It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to be able to pay back my Alma Mater in some small way, at the IIT Delhi's Endowment Management Foundation.