In 2013, Thinkers50 listed him in India’s ‘top 50 management thinkers’. In 2015, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) named him the ‘Personality of the Year’. In 2018, IIT Kanpur conferred upon him the Distinguished Alumnus Award for servicing the society at large. In the past, he has made generous contributions to IIT Kanpur by supporting professor chairs, lecture series and batch funds.
Dr. Pramath Sinha obtained his B.Tech. in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1986 and a master’s and PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He then started working as a consultant with McKinsey and Co. in Toronto, Canada. While assigned on a project on newsprint, which had an Indian component, he briefly worked at the Ballarpur Industries paper plant, Haryana. “At one level you are working for McKinsey, which in Toronto was boardrooms and office and always talking to CEOs. Here in India, I was in a paper plant in Haryana, living in a guest house with an Indian toilet and a dhobi visiting every day… Hanging out with the workers, speaking in Bhojpuri with the Bihari labourers, having shouting matches with the union.” His surreal experiences of the Indian way of life made him decide to return to his country. In 1995, he joined McKinsey India on a project basis and moved full time in 1997.
Dr. Sinha’s first experience of setting up a world-class institution came when he was assigned to a project that involved working with the then Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, on making the country a knowledge hub. “A PhD in robotics doesn’t make you a guy who knows how to build a university,” said he, of those early days. It was the start of his successful and fulfilling long journey into institution building. The next assignment was far more daunting involving powerful industrialists, politicians and tough negotiations — setting up the India’s finest and one of the world’s best B-schools that has the distinction of being the youngest business school ever to enter the world top twenty rankings. He even took a year off from McKinsey to serve as the founding dean of ISB (Hyderabad) from July 2001 to 2002. An Idea Whose Time Has Come: The Story Of The Indian School Of Business, authored by Dr. Sinha provides insights into the setting up of the premier institute. He currently serves on its executive and governing boards.
In 2002, Dr. Sinha returned to McKinsey and served the company for another four years before joining ABP group, one of India’s most diversified media conglomerates, as the Managing Director and CEO. A year later, he set up his own media company called 9.9 Mediaworx, a content-driven company that uses contemporary media to change the world. Giving in to his insatiable desire of putting India at par with the other countries in terms of world-class education, that very year he co-founded the Ashoka University, one of the top 10 private research universities in India with a focus on liberal arts. He continues to be a trustee of the university. His latest venture is an all-women residential Vedica Scholars Program in Delhi. The alternative master’s program is intended to produce confident, well-informed women trained in subjects like politics, sociology and history besides business.
Currently, Dr. Sinha is a Provost at the Anant National University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat and serves as a Senior Advisor of the Albright Stonebridge Group, India. He also serves as the Director on the Boards of PRADAN, India’s leading development institution focused on improving livelihoods in the country’s poorest districts and of the Central Square Foundation, a philanthropic fund focused on improving the educational outcomes for children from low-income families in India.