I'm Anand, a graduate student living in Montréal, QC, with my wife and toddler, working on a PhD in management at the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University. This is my second PhD. The first one was in computational systems biology from the Ecology and Evolution program at Emory University. Between the two PhDs, I was a technology consultant with Accenture, based out of Atlanta, GA.
A little history
I was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, to Lakshmi and Surya, a couple of young professional tams. We moved to Bangalore (now Bengaluru) a few years later, and I headed off to boarding school - The Scindia School - in Gwalior. After school, I spent a couple of years as an undergraduate back in Bangalore before transferring at age 21 to Emory University in Atlanta to get a bachelors in biology. I went on to get a PhD in ecology from Emory, during which I developed an interest in complex systems, mathematical modeling, and computational research methods.
Sensing both evolving interests and a need for economic stability, I decided to leave my long-followed academic path. I joined Accenture as an analytics consultant just around the time that corporate data science was emerging as a powerful idea and economic force- I'm talking Big Data and AI and digital tranformation. I was embedded in a number of organizations- these were big orgs, as my type of work was mostly needed in large multi-site organizations. Initially, my role was that of a data scientist, which involved primary research and construction of production-ready predictive algorithms. At Accenture, I also was encouraged to broaden my interests, and I evolved into the role of a "full stack" enterprise digital transformation consultant.
Consulting in the frequently disrupted and therefore constantly changing worlds of communications, media and technology in North America allowed me to observe a wide variety of organizations and settings, in my capacity as a change agent. The "PhD" after my name and my - dare I say - easygoing and boundary-spanning manner allowed to blend in to sales/service centers, IT departments, and C-suite offices alike.
Curiousity piqued, but with a head full of atheoretical soup, I developed a 2-year plan to transition my lifestyle to that of an academic so that I may make sense of it all, and hopefully create new and generative knowledge. Which brings us to September 2019 and the Desautels Faculty of Managment, McGill University, Montreal, where I began to earn my second PhD, this time in management and organizational studies.
My interests (beyond research)...
I have a lifelong obsession with collecting and classifying bits of knowledge, particularly tacit knowledge. I believe this particular type of knowlege is best obtained by doing. So I "do" a lot of things. Often with my hands. The result is... the best way I can describe it is a sort of odd compulsion to learn new cognitive and motor skills, and a lot of knowledge detritus.
I have done these things and therefore I can and would like to engage at least somewhat intelligently in these kinds of things with you.
I sincerely hope that this section of this document grows for as long as this document exists.
I dabble. I put myself to "works". The making of things. At boarding school, I attempted paper making, printing press, woodworking, and clay sculpture. Upon arriving in the US, I bought a tablet (an oddity in those days), which I used to learn how to draw.
I did work as an editorials illustrator for the Emory Wheel when I was an undergraduate, in addition to the odd commissioned work here and there.
In grad school, I was interested in adding more dimension to my art, and took up woodcarving. Then, as now, I very rarely kept any of my art. The people around me, to whom I could give my works, therefore determined what I worked on. My initial woodworking pieces tended to be derived from Christian, Islamic, Judaic, and Hindu iconography.
Latter work was utilitarian (combs, ladles). Aditi encouraged my interests to diversify into carpentry and blacksmithing. We forged wedding rings from titanium for Aditi's sister in Calgary.
There was once an arm knitting phase. Behold Aditi, my couture model.
We restored old furniture. I got into carving hobo nickels. I flirted with glazed pottery.
We made a coat for a Very Good dog out of dyed and waxed canvas and leather.
My other great love is pet puja: culinary worship. I roast my own coffee in small batches in a dedicated cast iron skillet that has seen not soap nor water for 13 years. I have other cast irons for cooking. I enjoy experimenting with French and Japanese cuisine in addition to Indian and American food. I've grown to love Quebec cuisine and the local terroir over the last year. I'm a "first principles" guy more than a "follow the recipe" guy. Bring on the Escoffier.
I like comic books. Or perhaps "graphic novels". Some capes and supes stuff, a couple classic european bande dessinée series, some manga, other weird stuff. Maus. And Saga. Of course.
I'm a history buff. I make esoteric musical choices. I also like to mess with languages. I can muddle my way through spanish and french. I used to be a mountaineer, I climbed to the peak of Stok Kangri, and got to 19,000 ft and failed to summit Koteshwar. I did Kilimanjaro with hilariously torn pants that looked like assless chaps (still, not as cool as doing it in a rhinoceros costume). I love camping and living off the land. I've run a few half marathons, sort of half heartedly, once in vibrams. I love good stationary, particularly good paper (Tomoe River for letters, Clairfontaine for archival notes), fountain pens, and inks. My EDC is an Ensso Piuma Pocket Pen in Titanium. I'm a bit of a cinephile.
Through all these compulsions, these bouts of creative madness, my love and my best friend since I was 10 years old- Aditi. I dont know how she puts up with me.