Welcome to the ITBHU Chronicle, May 2015 Edition Interviews Section.
Interview with Dr. Manu Vora (Chemical 1968), Leader of Google Hangouts for Soft Skills/ Quality Management Training on campus and Advisor of TEDxIITBHU
@ May 11, 2015
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 We are pleased to publish the interview of our notable alumnus, Dr. Manu Vora (Chemical 1968), who is actively involved in initiating and supporting various campus activities for the benefits of our students and institute.  Since 2011, he serves as a Chair of the IIT BHU Global Alumni Giving Committee, which involves in collecting donations and planning activities for the benefits of our students and institute.

Dr. Manu Vora has B.S. (Honors) from IIT BHU Chemical 1968, M.S. & Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago and a MBA with Marketing Management from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago.

Dr. Vora is Chairman and President of Business Excellence, Inc. a global quality management consulting service firm. He has over 40 years of leadership experience and has guided Fortune 500 companies with Baldrige Performance Excellence assessment in the areas of leadership excellence, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and process improvement.

As an Adjunct Professor, he teaches “Quality Management”, "Operations Management", “Supply Chain Management”, "Project Management", and “Risk Management" at various business schools globally. He is affiliated with over 35 educational institutions world-wide.

He is a Past Vice President of ASQ, Past Chair of ASQ Chicago section, ASQ Fellow, and Certified Quality Engineer. In 1968, Dr. Vora received a J. N. Tata Scholarship for his graduate studies in the USA.  

Since 1989, Dr. Vora and his team at the Blind Foundation for India (BFI) has raised over $4 million to serve over a million visually impaired people in India. In 2010, he was recognized with “Volunteer Service Award” by the President of the United States and 2011 "Ellis Island Medal of Honor" from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations at the Ellis Island, New York.

Chronicle editor Yogesh K. Upadhyaya talks to Dr. Manu Vora.


Manu vora new.jpg

(Dr. Manu Vora)

Dr. Manu Vora can be contacted at: manuvora@b-einc.com.


Q-1 Sir, congratulation for starting several students oriented program on campus. Please tell us about your soft skills/quality management training to our students.

Free Gift of Knowledge Transfer Leveraging Technology

Vision: To provide gift of knowledge transfer globally, leveraging technology.

Mission: To educate engineering students/professionals in soft/support skills and quality management principles/practices using Google Hangout On Air or Webinar platforms.

Impetus: Generally, engineering students/graduates are very proficient in technical knowledge. However, they generally focus only on technical aspects and overlook soft/support skills, which are very crucial for organizations' success. Additionally, in global economy, professionals need to be proficient in quality management principles/practices to be successful.

Approach: A 12 topic Leadership Excellence Series (LES) was developed. The LES topics are:

·        Leadership Excellence

·        Effective Teamwork

·        Effective Time Management

·        Effective Meeting Management

·        Effective Decision Making

·        Effective Project Management

·        Effective Risk Management

·        Effective Talent Management

·        Voice of the Customer Management

·        Effective Operational Excellence

·        Sustainable Change Management

·        Effective Supply Chain Management

Since August 2014, first four topics are completed. We plan to hold the remaining eight topics during August 2015 - April 2016. These presentations were attended by 25-40 students live and the subsequent recordings via YouTubes were shared with the entire campus of 6.500 students, faculty, and administration.

Benefits to students are numerous. These soft skills will help them during their time at the campus in studies, prepare them well for placement, and when they enter the workforce, they can continue to use these life-long transferrable skills.

The LES Series Google Hangout Team consists of following people:

·        LES Faculty - Dr. Manu K. Vora, IIT (BHU) Chemical Engineering, 1968 (Alumnus), USA

·        IIT (BHU) Faculty - Prof. Ashim Kumar Mukherjee, Dean, Student Affairs, and Prof. Navin Singh Rajput, Principal Investigator, Networked Communication & Computation (NCC) Laboratory

·        National Knowledge Network (NKN) - Apurva Saxena, Associate Network Manager, NKN

·        IIT (BHU) Student Leaders - Nikhil Jain, Diksha Kaushik, Vishal Khandelwal, Venkatavaradan Sunderarajan, Sainyam Kapoor, Pranshu Aditya, Vishal Agrawal, Amit Gupta, Anshika Jhamb,  Ankita Kalra, Nishi Katiyar, Dushyant Kumar, Rohit Kumar, Jeet Parekh, Shubham Pophare, Akanksha Sahu, Shubham Verma , Apratim Yadav, and Nisha Yadav

See a letter sent to Hon. Smriti Irani, MHRD on this IIT (BHU) initiative for sharing with other IITs, NITS, IIMs, and AIIMS, etc. to harness global alumni contributions to help the Nation Building Letter to Hon. Smriti Irani MHRD 16 February 2015.pdf

Q-2: You are using Google Hangouts for interacting with students/faculty.

For each topic, a 55 - 60 min presentation is followed by questions and answers session for 20 - 25 min. This LES series uses Google Hangout On Air (Free video call) to connect with audience at multiple locations and at the conclusion of the call, a YouTube recording is available for wider sharing. This initiative is similar to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) distance learning effort started in 2008 and became popular in 2012.

Technology Requirements for Google Hangout On Air:

·        Stable Internet connection

·        Laptop

·        LCD projector

·        Screen

·        Microphone for Q&A

·        Conference room

·        Gmail account for origination of Google Hangout On Air

The Google Hangout On Air advantages are it is a free Video Call service from Google and allows a simultaneous recording as a YouTube that can be widely shared.

Q-3A Please tell us about TED and TEDx Programs and how it helps the people.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences run by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan "Ideas Worth Spreading". TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event; the annual conference series began in 1990. TED's early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins, but it has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural and academic topics.

The main TED conference is held annually in Vancouver, Canada, and its companion TEDActive is held in Whistler, British Columbia. Prior to 2014, the two conferences were held in Long Beach and Palm Springs, California, respectively. TED events are also held throughout North America and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past speakers include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Richard Stallman, Bill Gates, Bono, Mike Rowe, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. TED's current curator is the British former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.

Since June 2006, the talks have been offered for free viewing online, under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons license, through TED.com. As of February 2015, over 1,900 talks are freely available on the website. In June 2011, the talks' combined viewing figure stood at more than 500 million, and by November 2012, TED talks had been watched over one billion times worldwide. Not all TED talks are equally popular, however. Those given by academics tend to be watched more online, and art and design videos tend to be watched less than average.

TEDx are independent TED-like events, which can be organized by anyone who obtains a free license from TED, agreeing to follow certain principles. TEDx events are non-profit, but may use an admission fee or commercial sponsorship to cover costs. Similarly, speakers are not paid. They must also relinquish the copyrights to their materials, which TED may edit and distribute under a Creative Commons license.

As of January 2014, TEDx talk library contained some 30,000 films and presentations from over 130 countries. In March 2013, eight TEDx events were being organized every day, up from five in June 2012, in 133 countries. TEDx presentations also include live performances, which are catalogued in the TEDx Music Project.

In 2011 TED began a program called "TEDx in a Box" that allows people in developing countries to hold TEDx events. TEDx also expanded to include TEDxYouth events, TEDx corporate events and TEDxWomen.

In 2014 TEDxUniversityofSanCarlos, the first independently-organized TED in the Visayas Region of the Philippines, made a record for organizing five TEDx events in a span of six months.

Q-3B: Please describe TEDx at IITBHU.

In 2013, IIT (BHU) initiated the first TEDxIITBHU program. The event was coordinated by number of IIT (BHU) students. The 2013 theme was "Contemplating Pangaeanism". Number of students were involved in planning this event on April 7, 2013. Ankur Shroff, a Mining student led the effort. Prof. Pardeep Kumar Mishra and Prof. S. N. Upadhyay served as Faculty Advisors. It was a honor for me to serve as an Advisor for this pioneering program. For this program funds were raised from industry sponsors and some seed funding was extended by IIT (BHU).

There were 9 speakers including several IIT (BHU) alumni and well known people form arts, business, and science discipline. I was the last speaker (via video) at the program with my talk on "Leveraging Social Responsibility to Unite the World" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94kXi9WTl04).

The TEDxIITBHU Program was held in the Swatantra Bhawan with full capacity of 1,300 people.

This program is now held annually. The 2015 event was led by Venkatavaradan Sunderarajan, a 4th year Materials Science & Technology student in IDD program. More details on 2015 TEDxIITBHU Program held on March 29, 2015 is included towards the end of this interview.

Benefits of hosting TEDxIITBHU Programs at the IIT (BHU) campus are many fold. It brings great speakers to the campus sharing their worldviews enlightening our students, faculty, and administration. It allows students to develop leadership skills in finding great speakers, connect with alumni and faculty, connect with industry for fund raising, and best of all learn some project management techniques to host successful programs at the campus.

Q-4: We would like to know more about your professional career.

In 1968 came to USA on a J. N. Tata Scholarship and joined Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago to pursue my graduate work. I completed my M.S. (1970) and Ph.D. (1975) both in chemical engineering. In 1985, I finished my MBA with marketing management from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago.

From 1976 to 1982 worked at the Institute of Gas Technology in Chicago doing energy R&D work. From 1983 to June 2000 worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories (initially in Holmdel - New Jersey and then in Naperville - Illinois). In June 2000, I launched Business Excellence, Inc., a quality management consulting firm on a global basis.

Since 1993 I have been teaching quality management, operations management, supply chain management, project management, and risk management to various business schools globally. I have been affiliated with 35 educational institutions world-wide. I have written over 50 publications and delivered over 440 presentations on business excellence and quality management globally.

I am honored by ASQ, National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, Rotary International, Save The Children Federation, and US President for my professional and community service.

In 1989, we started Blind Foundation for India (BFI) to serve over 15 million blind people in India accounting for one third of the world's blind population. To date, we have raised over $4 million to serve over million people with their free eyesight checkups. With BFI help our medical partners have done over 125,000 free Cataract operations, donated 115 medical vans for transport of doctors and patients, gave 10,000 Braille kits to blind children for their education, and our medical partners examined over 750,000 children in government schools and provided necessary interventions. BFI details at: http://www.blindfoundation.org.

On April 13, 2013 I gave my second TEDx talk at TEDxIITChicago on "Exponential Power of the Gift of Giving" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-fmkivYcVg&feature=share)

Q-5: Please tell us about yourself and your family

I was born in 1945 in Bombay, India. My father Shri Kishandas Vora was a successful businessman in yarn business in Bombay. My mother Smt. Shantaben Vora was a housewife. I have an older brother Mr. Mahesh Vora who is now a retired businessman in Mumbai. Both my parents passed away at an young age of 6 and we were raised by my uncle and a grandmother. My schooling was in my home town of Amreli in Gujarat. After SSC in 1962, I joined Khalsa College, Matunga in Bombay. From 1964-1968, I was at IIT (BHU) and studied chemical engineering.

·        Married to Dr. Nila Vora. She is an Internist working at Loyola University Medical Center’s Outpatient clinic in Burr Ridge, Illinois.

·        Older son Ashish Vora is a computer scientist with an MBA and is in consulting business.

·        Younger son Anand Vora is an economist and works at Google in San Francisco, California.

·        My hobbies are travel, photography, reading, mentoring, networking (professional and social) and philanthropy.

·        My personal philosophy is to learn the best there is available from formal and informal resources, apply new learnings, and share them widely.

·        I have been fortunate to have so many great mentors all along my life. They include several teachers in high school, professors in colleges and several managers in work places. In addition, network of great quality professionals have influenced my thinking and actions.

Q-6: Sir, it was nice talking to you and to know about your contribution to our institute.

It has been a pleasure to serve my alma mater. My request to all the students at IIT(BHU) is to focus on education, join a professional society in their field, and build life-long network of friends during their time at the campus. My sincere suggestion for faculty and administration is to continue to upgrade their knowledge to effectively and efficiently serve nation's top youth who come to Mahamana Malaviyaji's Temple of Learning.

I want to thank you Yogesh for giving me an opportunity to share my views with our IIT (BHU) community. I want to commend you and your Chronicle Team for doing a wonderful job for over a decade.


Education background pf Dr. Manu Vora:

*B. Tech. (Honors) (Chemical Engineering), IIT-BHU (1968)

*M.S. (Chemical Engineering), Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (1970)

*Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering), Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (1975)

*MBA (Marketing Management), Keller Graduate School of Management, Chicago (1985)

*Certified Quality Engineer (CQE), American Society for Quality, Milwaukee (1988)


Additional links

*TEDx IITBHU group on Facebook


*TEDxIITBHU events





601-Manu Vora on YouTube.jpg



Our social responsibility: Manu Vora at TEDxIITBHU.


Dr. Manu Vora is the chairman and President of Business Excellence Inc. and President, Blind Foundation for India. He talks about how to leverage faith and social responsibilities to unite the world.

Added Sep 23, 2013


*IIT-BHU hosts TEDx for third time


TNN | Mar 30, 2015, 10.42AM IST

VARANASI: TEDx culture commenced at Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IIT (BHU)) on Sunday, March 29, 2015. Chef and entrepreneur Sanjeev Kapoor, artist and host of an art show MAD on Pogo, Rob and stand-up comedian Kartik Iyer along with several others participated in the event. The event has been organized for the third time in a row under the aegis of IIT (BHU).

It may be mentioned here that TED is an international non-profit organization which provides a platform for stalwarts from different walks of life to share their unique experiences and observations with the world at large in talks of 18 minutes or less. The motto of this internationally celebrated initiative is 'Ideas Worth Spreading'. The previous editions of TED have seen Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and late Steve Jobs, inspire people by sharing ideas.

TED grants license to institutions and local bodies to carry out this initiative at the grassroots level by conducting TEDx events. This is the third time in a row when IIT-BHU has been granted the license for organizing TEDx.

The theme of the TEDx talk was 'Order in Chaos'. According to media representative, TEDx IIT-BHU, Kushagra Agarwal, social entrepreneur, Zubin Sharma spoke about how the NGOs focus on specific issues leaving other important aspects go unnoticed. He revealed how his organization, Seekho, considers various problems existing in the society and also empowers individuals. Sharma also shared a story of three blind monks and an elephant to explain his approach. Prior to this, corporate trainer, Kanishka Sinha delivered a talk.

This year, several other speakers including Padmashree award winner and cancer survivor, Anand Shankar Jayant, defense expert and also, CEO of national intelligence bureau Raghu Raman, LGBT rights activist Abheena Aher and entrepreneur working on industrial hemp agriculture in India and institutionalizing its sales, Jahan Peston Jamas were invited to deliver talks on different topics during the event.

Earlier, luminaries like Baiju Dharmajan, Anushka Shankar and Anubhav Sinha participated as TED speakers in the past two editions of the event.


Articles about Dr. Manu Vora:

* Dr. Manu Vora (Chemical 1968) receives 2015 ASQ IshiKawa Medal


*Dr. Manu Vora (Chemical 1968), Recipient of ASQ Spencer Hutchens Medal for Social Responsibility


*Dr. Manu Vora’ profile

2015 ASQ Ishikawa Medalist

2015 Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Medalist

2014 Harrington/Ishikawa Medalist, Asia Pacific Quality Organization

2013 IIT BHU Global Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Awardee

2013 ASQ Hutchens Medalist

2013 Alumni Achievement Award, Keller Graduate School of Management

2012 Illinois Institute of Technology Alumni Medalist

2011 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Recipient

2010 US President's Volunteer Service Award

2010 ASQ Distinguished Service Medalist

2008 Asian American Community Leadership Award, The Clerk's Office, Chicago

2005 ASQ Lancaster Medalist

2001 ASQ Grant Medalist

2000 Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Medalist

1990 Save The Children Federation Distinguished Service Award

Website for Blind Foundation of India: http://www.blindfoundation.org

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/manuvora

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/manuvora

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002569965729

ASQ Influential Voices Blog: http://voraonquality.blogspot.com

YouTube EIMOH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnGalBDF0zE

ABC7news: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/someone_you_should_know&id=6738491

Chicago Public Media (12/08):  http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/global-activism-combating-blindness-india

YouTube IIT Alumni Medal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsLLGhs6Oxc

Pan IIT Guru Funda Article (4/2015): http://iit.org/blog/2015/04/26/life-is-a-journey-enjoy-the-ride-and-make-a-difference/

Chicago Public Media (6/2015): https://soundcloud.com/wbez-worldview/global-activism-blind


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