Leading the Charge for Innovation
Kapil Chhibber, Eller MIS and Finance ’01
Senior Vice President, Business Development, Bank of America
By Liz Warren-Pederson
When Kapil Chhibber came to the UA as an undergraduate, he came with a laser-sharp focus.
The Gilbert native doubled-majored in MIS and finance and took on multiple internships. “One summer, I worked for Honeywell International,” he said. “I also got a fellowship through the NASA Space Grant program that gave me a chance to work in the Lunar and Planetary Sciences building on hyperspectral imagery analysis.” In addition, he interned with Intel, IBM, and Morgan Stanley, through which he got class credit through the finance department.
It’s no wonder then, that when the Daily Wildcat interviewed him at graduation, he told them that the 80 hour weeks he would be expected to work at his first job at Lehman Brothers didn’t intimidate him.
After two years as an investment banking analyst with Lehman Brothers (now Barclays), Chhibber said, “I wanted to try something different, so I moved to Seattle for a position with Microsoft.” He started as a senior strategy analyst in the Microsoft Business Group, where he focused on long-term planning and growth opportunities for the company. Over his three years with Microsoft, he worked on the Office Live launch. “It gave me a chance to build a different skillset and to work on amorphous problems without obvious solutions,” he said. “It was a good experience for me to transition from an analyst to a manager, and help launch a startup within Microsoft Office.”
In 2007, he started the MBA program at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. “I wanted more experience on the business side,” he said. True to form, he took on two internships, one with a Chicago-based venture capital firm, DFJ Portage, that focuses on the technology sector, and the second with the private equity practice at The Parthenon Group in Boston.
“When I graduated in 2009, an opportunity with Bank of America came up.” As senior vice president of business development, Chhibber and his team report in to the chief technology officer. “We’re leading the charge on strategic partnerships with early-stage companies across sectors,” he explained. “We focus on areas including cloud computing, big data, social media, mobile, commerce and payments.” His team also spearheads relationships with the venture capital community. “We have a client-centric focus on innovation and need to be agile for the future of the firm,” he said.
His work has not gone unrecognized: Chhibber is among the current class of the San Francisco Business Times’ “40 Under 40.”
Early in his college career at the UA, he’d thought he wanted to go into law. “I am a little surprised that I ended up going in a different direction,” he said, “but I’m not at all surprised that I found a place where I can look at how technology can drive change in our culture and affect people’s lives for the better.”
Top photo of Kapil Chhibber via San Francisco Business Times.