- Steve Addazio's inaugural press conference as Boston College head football coach (pg. 9)
- Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch's keynote address at the Sesquicentennial symposium "Religion and the Liberal Aims of Higher Education" (pg. 34)
- David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., on "New Evangelization for Today's Parish" (pg. 42)
- Guerilla Orchestra: the Callithumpian Consort and student musicians rehearse John Zorn's Cobra (pg. 10)
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Matchmaker Anupam Mittal, MBA’97
In 1997, Anupam Mittal had a chance meeting with a traditional matchmaker in his hometown of Bombay. The man carried folders with profiles of his clients door-to-door in the hopes of making a match. “I got very intrigued by what he did,” Mittal says. “It got me thinking—by God, the choice for a life partner is determined by how much weight this guy can carry and how far he can carry it.”
Within a few months, Mittal launched the website that would eventually become Shaadi.com, India’s largest matrimonial website and one of the most successful of such ventures in the world. (Shaadi means marriage in Hindi.) Today the site has about 2 million active participants and lays claim to over 800,000 successful marriages. About 70 percent of Shaadi.com’s customers come from India, the rest from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Persian Gulf region.
At Boston College, Mittal concentrated in operations and strategic management, and he remembers being struck the first time he saw a student challenge a professor in class. “I realized that it is actually okay to express your opinion and you don’t have to submit to authority just because it’s authority,” he says. “That is very different from India.” The expectation in India has been for children to follow in the footsteps of their parents, not to strike out on their own. But being a textile manufacturer like his father did not appeal to Mittal.
At 34, Mittal is CEO and chairman of Shaadi.com’s parent company, People Group, which also includes a social networking business, Fropper.com, whose affinity groups are aligned along topics such as music, love, and ice cream. In addition, he sells value-added services like ring tones to cell phone companies and will be venturing into India’s real estate market shortly. He has 400 employees in almost a dozen offices across the subcontinent, and his phone never stops ringing.
Between sips of fresh watermelon juice and phone calls at an upscale south Bombay hotel, he says he’s about to begin a two-week tour of the Philippines, Gulf region, Europe, and the United States to look into new business opportunities. But as India’s economy, and his own businesses, roar forward, the lack of skilled, talented workers in the country worries him, he says, as it does many other managers: “Finding the right people—it’s the central success factor in this country.”
Daniel Pepper is a writer based in New Dehli.