2013 Speaker: Anish Bhimani, JPMorgan Chase

May 09, 2013

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INI alumnus Anish Bhimani graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Science in Information Networking in 1992. After graduation he returned to work for his employer Bell Communications Research (Bellcore), and his career took a serendipitous turn. Exactly one day after returning to work, Bellcore dissolved his network research group and placed him into an information security group.

"More than twenty years later, I'm still working in security," recalled Bhimani. "Not sure I would have ended up here if it weren't for that timing."

Ultimately, Bhimani rose to become a leader in risk management. He is now chief information risk officer of a leading provider of financial services, JPMorgan Chase, where he ensures the security, controls and resiliency of the firm's global technology environment. He is an essential member of the Technology Leadership Team for this Fortune 100 company.

When asked about his career in financial services, Bhimani reflects excitedly. "People don't realize it, but most large financial institutions are really technology organizations at heart," he said. "Take JPMorgan Chase, for example. We have more software developers than Google, and more technologists than Microsoft… we get to build things at scale that have never been done before, solve problems that no one's ever taken on, and really drive and invent new industries."

Bhimani added: "Think about how the payments space has evolved over the last five years; you can deposit checks via your mobile phone, pay people by email, get credit cards instantly. All of those products were driven by technologists. It's even more pronounced in investment banking, where e-trading is changing the way people think about the space."

Fortunately for Bhimani, his focus on information security at Bellcore yielded valuable career opportunities during a period of time when businesses were showing an intense interest in information systems and the infinite possibilities the Internet could offer. Through his education and experiences at the INI, Bhimani was prepared to tackle these exciting challenges. A few years after graduating, he co-authored a book, titled Internet Security for Business (Wiley & Sons, 1996).

Throughout his career, Bhimani has pursued a passion for solving technical challenges. Rather than immerse in technical specifications, he tended to be more extroverted and wanted to interact with his colleagues. His personable approach in the workplace eventually gave way to positions in consulting. As his career progressed, he made an impact at several influential employers, including Booz Allen Hamilton, Predictive Systems and SAIC.

"I've been out of consulting for 10 years, but I learned a lot about doing deep analysis, as well as how to communicate complex ideas simply," Bhimani said.

The personal initiative he took to exercise and stretch his communication skills proved worthwhile, not only for consulting but also for what was required of him as he advanced in his career. As a result, he has lectured widely as an expert and been able to influence executive decisions in the workplace.

"Most people focus heavily on the technical side of their careers, which is crucial, but no matter what your role is, at some point, your success is dependent on your ability to persuade somebody else to do something. It might be making a business case to fund a new project, or convincing someone to invest in your company, or getting someone to help you on an effort even though they're already overbooked with their own work," advised Bhimani. "Being able to communicate clearly, persuasively, and succinctly is, in my mind, the single most important and underrated skill in business today."

Twenty years after his own graduation, Bhimani stays connected to Carnegie Mellon through alumni events, INI alumni activities and periodic visits to campus. His INI memories remain strong, especially the healthy challenges presented to him in courses such as Distributed Systems and Operating Systems. He also gave credit to several business courses for giving him a strong foundation. "I specifically remember a corporate finance course," he recalled. "I still have the book on my shelf at work today."

Bhimani was selected as the speaker for the INI diploma ceremony scheduled for Sunday, May 19, 2013. A reception followed the ceremony, where the graduates and their families were able to mingle and celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2013.