Know your CIO Dr. Ashish Bharadwaj

 Know your CIO Dr. Ashish Bharadwaj

Know your CIO Dr. Ashish Bharadwaj


1.  Can you please tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.

I chose to follow a piece of advice I had once heard – ‘Find out what you like doing best in life, and find someone to pay you for doing it.’ Information technology was my area of interest and passion and I started my career as an ERP implementation consultant with a Cyprus based firm. Spent couple of years in Cyprus catering to clients in Europe. Came back, started my own consulting firm, largely catering to clients in the Oil & Gas, Hospitality, Higher Education and Insurance verticals. Successfully ran that for 9 years, then joined UPES (Asia’s first Energy and core sector University) in 2006 where I implemented a number of key initiatives from Digital Teaching & Learning to the first SAP public sector – Higher Education & Research vertical industry solution in and Indian University. In 2014 I joined Laureate International Universities as India CIO. (Laureate is the world’s largest network of higher education providers with a presence in over 29 countries.)


2.  Take us through a recent workday

I am a morning person and tend to get up early. Our family recently got its newest member – a puppy. He acts as a (very insistent) alarm clock and literally forces me out of bed latest by 0530. Working across geographies is interesting. My role has regional (SE Asia & Australia) and US contexts. The day starts when the US is ending; Australia is already half done by then on the next day etc. Virtual meetings and calls start from 0700 IST through 0800, followed by driving to work. At work divide time between the to-dos for the day, strategic and tactical meetings – and also address any fires that need putting out. Find some time for quiet introspection – where I try and keep abreast of bleeding edge tech and security vulnerabilities/threats over lunch. The second half of the day is typically followed by a more calls/meetings; then I leave office to beat traffic (if possible); and then start the last leg of the day with some more virtual meetings that stretch till about 2130.


3.  What apps, gadgets or tools, you can’t live without

My handphone; home entertainment system; gaming console; headphones; and smartwatch.


4.  What is your workspace set up like?

I operate a neat and clean workspace – with a laptop and couple of cables connecting it to an external monitor and headphones. My propensity to use/work on paper tends to zero.


5.  What is the best life hack?

A great hack to improve productivity is to use a browser add-on like “stay focused” that keeps one from drifting to time-wasting websites when there are deadlines to meet. Another is to use voice search and seamless work mobility (notes, documents etc.) across devices; and to use a virtual assistant effectively.


6.  How do you keep track of what is important?

Add reminders to the calendar. My digital virtual assistant keeps me on top of what’s coming up.


7.  What is your least favourite thing to do and how do you deal with it?

Fill paperwork/lengthy forms. I try and type/electronically fill them whenever possible using automated field completion as far as possible.


8.  How do you recharge your batteries?

A chilled beverage in summer/hot drink in winter with some quality family time.


9.  What is the best advice that you have ever received?

How to be happy in your job: Find out what you like doing best in life, and then find someone to pay you for doing it!


10.  What is your leadership mantra?

There’s no short-cut to success.


11.  What makes you laugh?

My puppies antics!


12.  What makes you angry?



13.  How do you keep learning and staying on top of the tech trends playing out?

In tech, if you’re not up to speed with trends (and in fact, abreast with emerging ones as well), you cannot do justice to your role as a technology evangelist. I stay abreast with these through industry meets; a lot of reading and research; and constant re-skilling.


14.  What is your favourite quote?

Accept both complements and criticism. It takes both sun and rain for an acorn to grow into a mighty oak.


15.  What is your advice to people who aspire to become leaders sometime soon?

Find out what you can make a difference to – and go all out after that. People will follow.