A Thoughtful Act of Kindness

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Mr. Altaf Ahmed, an Alumnus of IIT Kharagpur donates three laptops to the students in need

Kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. It is rare to meet people who are contemplatives in the heart of the world and contribute to the act of benevolent philanthropy. Not aspiring to any recognition, they merely engage and exhibit what we say is still good in the society that we live in. Mr. Altaf Ahmed, one of alumnus of IIT Kharagpur from Kashmir, now settled in UAE has been the epitome of empathy by his act of kindness on three students who were unable to arrange for private loans to buy laptops with the prospect to repay after availing education loan from banks. Mr. Ahmed, Master of Business Management from Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSoM), IIT Kharagpur in 1996 and currently the Director of Retail IoT, Digital Channels & Payments Solutions at e&enterprise (Etisalat) responded immediately and donated three new laptops for the students. KGP Chronicle entails into a hearty chat with Mr. Ahmed for his noble deed of generosity towards people he has never met or interacted with.

As an Alumnus of this institute, tell us about your academic life at IIT KGP and how did it contribute to your career growth?

I graduated in Master of Business Management from the Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSoM) in 1996 and was awarded the Gold Medal for the best outgoing student of the batch (1996). The Master’s degree at IIT KGP tutored me well for a successful career in Management. Most importantly, I was exposed to new technological advances including the Internet which was in its nascent stages in 1996, that helped me choose my career path in predominantly Internet and new tech digital domains.

Can you briefly elaborate on the major business areas you have worked in?

The main areas of focus in my career have been Digital Services Development and Management, Digital Payments and Prepaid Services, Fintech Solutions, Multi-channel CRM, Mobile and E-Business, Marketing and Product Management, New Media Services & Solutions.

How have you contributed to these areas?

I have led many successful implementations for large customer bases, including multichannel solutions for Digital Payments, Digital Banking, Remittances, Online Sales, e-Services, Digital Marketing Initiatives, CRM Implementations, Customer Engagement, Loyalty and New Media Services using a variety of established and emerging technologies.

I was a part of the core team that conceptualized and launched the Middle East’s first Digital Bank (meBANK) by the erstwhile Emirates Bank in the year 2002. A Founding Board Member of the MENA Fintech Association, a non-profit industry body, I was also recognized by Lattice80 as one of Top 50 Fintech Influencers in the Middle East in 2018 and by The Digital Fifth in their Top 30 Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) Influencer list 2021.

Have you been a part of any entrepreneurial ventures?

In 2015, I co-founded Remitr, a new-age Fintech start-up focused on digital cross-border payments and spearheaded the launch of UAE’s first such Digital Mobile Money transfer app which enables users to make 24×7 international money transfers in a safe, convenient and cost-effective way, while incorporating new technologies like Blockchain and Machine Learning into key processes. Remitr was awarded by Forbes Middle East as one of “Most Promising UAE Start-ups” in 2016 and one of  the “Top 100 Start-ups in the Arab World 2017.”

You are currently the Director, Retail IoT – Digital Channels & Payment Solutions at e& enterprise (Etisalat). What are your current projects and what do you intend to work on in the future?

I am leading a number of projects with solutions focused on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. These include Omni-channel Payments Platform, Digital and Biometric KYC Solutions, Management of POS Services for Banks, Processors, and large Retailers, Physical Payment Acceptance Solutions, eCommerce solutions, Interactive and Intelligent Digital Signage and Customer Experience solutions. I have also been working on a number of futuristic technologies like AI-enabled Retail solutions, Computer Vision based unmanned stores and vending machines, etc.

Apart from your work, what do you like to do when you have time to spare?

I am an avid music listener and have a huge compilation of all types of music genre. Most of my free time is spent there. I am also a keen amateur photographer. Some of my works have been displayed in many exhibitions. In 2019, my entry was shortlisted as a finalist for the prestigious Hamdan International Photography Award (HIPA).

You can see some of my work at https://www.facebook.com/fotosbyaltaf

Any fond campus memories being a KGPian?

We had a small batch of 16 students for the Business Management course and due to this we were a very cohesive unit. The VGSoM building construction started during our final year. So our classes were held in the IEM Department. During Spring Fest of 1995, we all decided to invest in a stall and made a whole branding exercise for the stall. We all worked on it in turns and served hot tea and snacks. By the end of it, we made a handsome 100% profit on the venture.

Your message to the young graduates aiming to make it big in the world of business and entrepreneurship.

My message is that your degree from IIT KGP is a great boost to your credentials. You need to take the best advantage of this. But remember that life is about continuous learning. So always invest time in yourself to keep enhancing your skills, especially your “soft” skills. If you have an entrepreneurial idea, go for it. Don’t wait for an appropriate time. Getting out of your comfort zone is not easy, but could be the best thing to happen  if you try to willingly venture out. Be passionate yet humble, aggressive yet fair. Help others in need. Make efforts to contribute to a greener planet. Never compromise on your morals and honesty. Never give up.

More info: Altaf Ahmed (الطاف احمد) – Director, Retail IoT – Digital Channels & Payment Solutions – e& | LinkedIn

Content Writers:- Poulami Mondal, Digital & Creative Media Executive (Creative Writer) & Arkaprabha Pal, Office of Alumni Affairs & Branding
Email: poulami.mondal@iitkgp.ac.in; pal18arkaprabha@gmail.com; media@iitkgp.ac.in, Ph. No.: +91-3222-282007

By Poulami Mondal

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