Thillai Rajan is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Management Studies at IIT Madras. His teaching and research areas include Corporate Finance, Project and Infrastructure Finance, Public Private Partnerships and Venture Capital. He received graduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biological Sciences from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. He completed his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, where he received the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship for his thesis work.
Prior to joining academia, Thillai has over 8 years of experience in leading corporations such as IL&FS Investment Managers and Infosys Technologies. At IL&FS Investment Managers, he was the manager of the Emerging Technologies Fund, a venture fund set up by the Government of Tamil Nadu along with other financial institutions. His job encompassed the entire spectrum of venture investment activity, viz., deal sourcing, investment, monitoring and achieving exit. At Infosys he joined the life sciences business unit that set up as an incubation initiative of the company. He was responsible for various activities such as marketing, India business development, and business planning of the unit. Later, he became the Operations Manager of the Insurance, Healthcare and Lifesciences division, the second largest division of Infosys Technologies at that time.
In 2005, he was selected for the UK Governments’ Chevening Gurukul Fellowship on globalization and leadership at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2008 he was awarded the Australian Governments’ Endeavour Executive Fellowship to pursue independent research at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney. His work at Macquarie focused on public private partnerships in the infrastructure sector. In 2010, he was selected by the US India Educational Foundation for a Fulbright Nehru Senior Research Fellowship to pursue independent research at the Harvard Kennedy School. His work focused at Harvard Kennedy School focused on private equity investment in the infrastructure sector.
He has published his research regularly in leading national and international journals. He has been successful in winning international research grants from organizations such as DFID and AusAID. Since 2009, Thillai Rajan has been publishing the annual India Venture Capital and Private Equity Report series, that analyses different facets of the Indian Venture Capital and Private Equity industry.
He is also a recipient of the Young Faculty Recognition Award at IIT Madras and Association of Indian Management Schools’ C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar Award for Young Faculty for his teaching and research activities. Three of his publications have been selected for a Highly Commended Award by the Emerald Literati Network. He is a co-founder director of Money-Wizards a finance education company; an advisory trustee of Hand-in-Hand Seed Trust – a social and developmental organization working in the areas of health, child labour, and micro-enterprises; and a member of the Governing Board of the IIT Madras’ Rural Technology and Business Incubator.