Alumni @ IIMB: Head of Alumni Relations – Utanka Sarma, PGSEM 2010
A man of a few words but impactful conversations. That’s how most would sum up their interactions with Mr. Utanka Sarma. He has rich experience in the IT industry and later shifted to the field of higher education management. His experience in IT helped map the needs of the industry with the skill set offered by the elite business schools of the country.
Mr. Sarma has recently taken over as the Head of Alumni Relations at IIMB. A graduate of IIMB, he strongly believes in the alumni community of his alma mater.In this interview, Mr. Sarma discusses his vision for strengthening alumni relations, IIMB’s golden jubilee and more.
Can you please tell us something about yourself?
I started my professional journey in Bangalore with a Tech MNC in the early 2000s, soon after my graduation from NIT Silchar. Early in my career, I got to work with a person who had just returned from Microsoft, Redmond (the legend was that he had helped develop MS Word!) and was doing his PGSEM at IIM Bangalore. That triggered my interest in management and I ended up doing PGSEM myself a few years down the line. A transition from IT to higher education management happened along the way and for more than a decade now, I have been in the education sector in various roles with institutions like IIMB, ISB, and Reliance Foundation.
Personally, Subasana (my wife) and I are proud parents of two young kids, Yukta and Hiyan. When they do grant me some personal time, I love to read books on my kindle, apart from my daily dose of Yoga and Badminton.
As the new Head of Alumni Relations at IIMB, what are your long-term objectives and plans for the office?
IIM Bangalore has a rich ecosystem of the alumni community, with members dating back to almost five decades. From corporate honchos to entrepreneurs to academic leaders to public servants, our alumni have contributed to the nation and the world in all spheres. We have seen how in times of need (like the pandemic), our alumni community has joined hands to work towards a shared goal. However, with thousands of alumni across generations spread around the globe, sometimes the sense of connectedness with the community may not remain consistent across all members of the community. My mission is to energise the relationship that each member of our alumni community has with his/ her alma mater.
What role can the Alumni Relations office play in strengthening the relationship between Alumni and the Institute?
By constantly being in touch with as many members as possible, we can identify ways in which IIM Bangalore can help its’ alumni further their personal and professional growth. Conversely, by understanding the needs of our internal stakeholders, we can create avenues of productive engagement between the alumni and their alma mater. Alumni Office, together with the IIMB Alumni Association (IIMBAA) can play a key role in facilitating this win-win relationship.
IIMB will celebrate its Golden Jubilee in 2023. How are we gearing up for it?
It is a huge milestone for our great institution, one that IIMB is planning to celebrate in a big way. Alumni being treasured stakeholders of the school, we would like to involve them intimately in our golden jubilee celebrations. Keep reading this newsletter for more updates on this.
In what ways can an alumnus interact with the Alumni Relations office?
We are here to empower our alumni community by listening to their inputs and doing the best that is possible. We continue to engage them through alumni chapters that are present in various places across the world. If you are not yet connected to the relevant groups, do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to facilitate your inclusion. Irrespective of that, feel free to reach out to us and I’d be happy to personally set up time and explore how we can work together towards strengthening IIM Bangalore, over a meeting or a call.