50th Anniversary: Dr Santrupt Misra Q&A

50 Aston Greats - Santrupt Misra

Dr Santrupt Misra

Dr Santrupt Misra is CEO of Carbon Black Business and Director of the Group Human Resources of the Aditya Birla Group. He is also a Director on the Aditya Birla Management Corporation Private Limited Board, the decision-making body of the US $40 billion Aditya Birla Group. He holds several key positions in many educational, professional bodies and Chambers of Commerce and Business. He was awarded a PhD in Management from Aston Business School in 1993, and his many plaudits from the business world include the Eisenhower Fellowship (conferred on him in 2000); 'Odisha Living Legend Award', conferred on him in 2012 for Excellence in Business Leadership; the Bharat Gaurav Award from Sanskriti Youth Organisation; and also the Global CEO award in India by the CEO Magazine 2014.

How did you first become involved with Aston University?

I received a Commonwealth Scholarship in 1990, and this was meant to enable me to have a Higher Education degree in the UK. Aston used to have the Work Organisation Research Centre where Professor John Child, Professor Ray Loveridge and others had done a lot of work. I had read some of that work and this encouraged me to come to Aston to study for my PhD.

What were your fondest memories of your three years with us?

There were many. Certainly, my interactions with Sir Adrian Cadbury, Chancellor of the University. Sir Adrian came to do a presentation to the Doctoral students and I also had the opportunity to interview him for my PhD research. I also had some undergraduate tutoring to do at the Business School and I made a great many good friends there and that was a very interesting experience.  And my first brush with serious computing was with the computer lab at Aston Business School. 

What did your time at Aston give you in addition to your PhD?

Very strong relationships with a bunch of high-quality academic researchers; many global friends - some from Brazil, Greece, Egypt - whom I am still in touch with. My son was born in Birmingham whilst I was doing my PhD; he was born at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and I therefore connect Birmingham with my son and my son with Birmingham; and my daughter has now ended up studying medicine at Birmingham University. Apart from all that it gave me a lot of exposure to interdisciplinary research and gave me the ability to think around a problem and develop hypotheses. My first formal exposure to a country outside of India was the UK and this opened up my mind and horizons to a lot of things, so I really valued my association with Aston in many ways.

How are you still involved with Aston Business School?

I am still involved on the Advisory Board of the School and have attended a few meetings, but with my work and global travel it is difficult. When I cannot attend I respond by email to the issues that are presented to the Advisory Board members. Outside of the Board, I have had opportunities to get involved and I have mentored a student.

What do you think makes Aston University special and distinctive?

There is a certain intimacy about Aston. Additionally, it is infrastructure-rich and the quality of research - whether that is in business, vision or health sciences - is strong. It is a forward-looking university that does not believe just in classroom education. The partnership with local industry is a unique aspect of Aston.

What is the best advice you can give to today’s graduates?

We are all global citizens today and the nature of problems and business is global. Students need to look beyond Birmingham and the UK and think of themselves as potential global leaders, and, in every possible way, move and shape their mindset and attitude to be global citizens.