Siddharth Shriram was born in New Delhi, India, the son of an industrialist who always wanted his son to follow in his professional footsteps.
“My father had a big impact on my life,” says Shriram, who admired his Dad, and who, after earning a business degree from MIT Sloan and a brief stint at Citibank, returned to India to run the family business just as his father had dreamed.
Recently, to honor his father, who passed away last May, Shriram established the Charat Ram Sera Scholarship Fund.
“When he died, I wanted to do something meaningful,” he says, adding that he decided “to create a scholarship that will annually enable a needy student wishing to pursue undergraduate studies in engineering, science, or architecture to go to the best institution in the world. Hopefully, a spirit of giving will also be born within such scholars, and they might one day do the same for other needy people, and thereby over a period of generations, a flood of good will start.”
Shriram’s grandfather began the family business in New Delhi as a large textile company. Soon it expanded to fertilizer, cement, sugar, heavy chemicals, and engineering products like electric fans, sewing machines, and diesel engines. Later, Shriram became partners with Honda Motor Company to manufacture automobiles in India.
Shriram, who earned a degree in English literature from St. Stephens College in New Delhi in 1967, joined the family company that year and became managing director of Shriram Refrigeration Industries Limited. After earning an MIT management degree in 1978, he landed a job with Citibank in New York and Dubai. Six years later, he returned to the family business in India, where he is now chairman and managing director of Mawana Sugars Limited, which has interests in chemicals, sugar, and edible oils, and he is also chairman of Usha International Ltd., a leading provider of electric fans, sewing machines, and home appliances in India.
Social commitment, he says, is a family tradition. His grandfather, father, he, and his son have long been committed to help society.
“We’ve been given a gift of a successful business,” he says. “You can either just grow your wealth, or you can use it to give back to society what it has given to you. Our intention is to give back more than we have received,” he says, adding it’s one reason they gave the scholarship.
“The best outcome would be that the scholarship becomes well known so people at the poorest level can aspire to it. There are many restrictions in India because of the caste systems, but the only restrictions in America are those you put on yourself.”
For more information about MIT’s activities in India, contact O’Neil Outar: 617.253.6906; firstname.lastname@example.org.