Giri Devanur Takes Entrepreneurship to the Next Level

Giri Devanur had been an entrepreneur since 1997. A CEO with a background in computer science and in building companies that provided innovative tech solutions, he wanted to take the next step as a technology leader.

Devanur chose Columbia’s Executive M.S. program in Technology Management. The immersive, 16-month program provided him with the framework and and mentorship to better understand and meet the challenges that face not only a C-suite executive but also an entrepreneur. In the following interview, he notes that his education at Columbia specifically helped him to improve his critical thinking skills and to sharpen his decision-making. He says that he’s now able to bring “laser-like attention” to the initiatives at his newly merged company, Ameri100 Inc.

We spoke with Devanur by email right before he embarked on an international business trip.

What were you doing right before pursuing your Tech Management degree?

I was an entrepreneur, and I had built a couple of companies and sold them successfully.

What about the Technology Management program was most valuable to you?

Dr. Art Langer is an amazing teacher. He taught us so many things both in terms of technology as well as leadership. I learned a lot from a host of great teachers and mentors. It was simply awesome. My cohort was really intense and extremely friendly. I have made a host of friends for life.

Why did you choose the Technology Management program specifically? Why did you choose Columbia in particular?

I have been a tech entrepreneur for a long time. I felt there were skills that I wanted to upgrade. When I met Dr. Langer, I was blown away by his skills and knowledge. I simply signed up immediately.

Columbia University is probably the best school I could have dreamed of. This university has so many things to offer in terms research, knowledge, great teachers, an amazing campus, and, needless to say, extraordinary students. That's why I picked Columbia.

In what way has Columbia's Tech Management program helped advance your career?

This program has helped me in multiple ways. Firstly, my ability to be a better decision maker. For example, I was pursuing a product for which I had already made a couple of hundreds of thousands of dollars. During one of the classes with Dr. Langer, we learned a theory called the "driver-supporter" model. Once I applied this to the product I was working on, I realized it would be a futile build. Either I had to accept my failure or keep throwing good money at a bad call. I stopped. It saved me a lot of money and time.

Another major lesson was my ability to focus sharply. As a CEO, I had been dragged into many areas of the business. This program helped me to immensely focus my initiatives and bring a laser-like attention to my work.

Can you tell me about WinHire? What do you do every day as an entrepreneur, and how did Tech Management prepare you for entrepreneurship?

After graduating, WinHire was acquired by Ameri100 Inc. Today, I am the CEO of the merged entity. We are a global technology management company with offices in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Bangalore, and Pune. We are working on an accelerated expansion plan which will include adding another 10 offices in next 24 months. We have built a very unique global mode of LEAP (lean enterprise architecture partners) with more than 25 partners around the world.