Chennai-born man named president of Illinois Institute of Technology

Raj Echambadi  

Rajagopal Ragavan Echambadi, Dunton Family Dean at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, has been appointed 10th president of the Illinois Institute of Technology, U.S.

Born and brought up in Chennai, Raj, as he is known among his friends, completed his mechanical engineering degree from the College of Engineering, Guindy, and MBA from Anna University. He pursued Ph. D in Business Administration at the University of Houston. His first job through campus placement was in Tractors and Farm Equipment as service engineer overseeing Kerala and Tamil Nadu. His transition from engineering to MBA happened thanks to TAFE’s then head of Product Training Centre in Bengaluru. “Dr. Subramaniam suggested that I do a Ph. D in Business, because he thought I would be good at it.” To pursue Ph. D a degree in MBA was required.

Raj completed Class X from Shrine Velankanni School in T. Nagar and finished Class XII from Santhome Higher Secondary School. He has received many accolades for his teaching skills.

Pioneer in online iMBA

The iMBA programme that he conceptualised and launched at the University of Illinois in 2016 drew the Government of India’s attention. “We offered the first affordable, scaled online MBA programme in partnership with Coursera platform that reaches 80 million people around the world,” he said over a long-distance call on Thursday.

“The programme is now considered one of the best disruptive and breakthrough in graduate MBA,” he said, pointing out that at that time an MBA degree could cost $1,00,000 whereas their programme cost $22,000. At present, students from over 150 countries were participating in their MBA programmes, he added.

Four years ago, during his tenure at the Northeastern University, the institution tied up with Andhra Pradesh government’s skill development corporation and provided entrepreneurial education as a pilot project in around 10 colleges in that State.

In 2019, the Indian government invited Northeastern University to build entrepreneurial hubs in Sri Venkateswara University and Utkal University.

Under the Center for Emerging Markets, called the Vivek and Vandana Sharma India Initiative, the Northeastern University is offering a series of entrepreneurial education programmes for high schools. The aim of the initiative is to build capacity to offer high quality education.

His high school classmate Ramkumar Ramamoorthi, pro vice-chancellor of Krea University and formerly the chairman and managing director of Cognizant India, said he revived his connection after he returned to academia.

“He has done very interesting work in education. We are making it big (in the western world) in the academic context. It is clearly a recognition for Indians. In the context of National Education Policy it is an opportunity to forge greater academic linkages between Indian and foreign institutions. It will provide well-rounded opportunities to students on both sides,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 4:51:04 AM |

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