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Grant Thornton to help create risk assessment and management institute at Indiana University

$3 million gift will prepare students to manage real-world risk issues

For Immediate Release Feb 12, 2019

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University has announced a $3 million gift from Grant Thornton LLP, a leading consulting and accounting firm. The gift will establish the Grant Thornton Institute for Data Exploration for Risk Assessment and Management, or GT-IDEA, an interdisciplinary institute that will span IU Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business, School of Public and Environmental Affairs and School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.

GT-IDEA is aligned with the core mission of Grant Thornton’s Advisory Services’ consulting practice, which helps businesses create value and innovate, solve problems and strategic challenges, and manage risks, governance demands, and policy and regulatory obligations. GT-IDEA students will gain experience working on real industry issues, engage in case studies and competitions, and benefit from interactions with established risk assessment and management practitioners from Grant Thornton.

The Kelley School of Business and SPEA on the IU Bloomington campus.
The Kelley School of Business and School of Public and Environmental Affairs on the IU Bloomington campus.Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

This innovative approach to learning is designed to prepare students to become the next generation of even more effective industry leaders. It will deepen Grant Thornton’s relationship with IU, allowing the professional services firm to recruit deserving students who are well versed in risk assessment and management.

“Business leaders of tomorrow will succeed by managing a wide range of risks through technology and innovation,” said Mike McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton. “GT-IDEA will give students the multidisciplinary acumen they’ll need to lead the dynamic companies of the future. This program will also build on Grant Thornton’s reputation as an innovation leader with the exceptional students at Indiana University and beyond.”

This transformational investment in risk assessment innovation will further cross-disciplinary collaboration around data-driven solutions. GT-IDEA will provide a common and integrated platform to engage in thought leadership and explore emerging technologies and methods. Initiatives will focus on measuring, quantifying and predicting risk, including data-analytics-infused business risk assessment and management. The institute will also work to automate data exploration for risk management using effective, domain-specific and efficient techniques of artificial intelligence, including various recent advanced methods in machine learning – all with an eye toward policy and regulatory impacts.

“Interdisciplinary learning is crucial in deepening understanding and critical thinking,” said Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president. “We are incredibly grateful to Grant Thornton for providing the opportunity for our SPEA, SICE and Kelley students to engage with peers and faculty across units in exploring risk assessment and management. Our students’ understanding of the topic will develop significantly through this multiperspective exploration, and the mentoring from Grant Thornton leaders will be invaluable in opening students’ minds to present-day issues within the field.”

IU alumnus Srikant Sastry, MPA ’88 and Grant Thornton’s national managing principal and leader of Advisory Services, the firm’s consulting practice, said, “Businesses today are faced with a constantly evolving risk environment, and leaders need to be able to integrate analytics and innovation in all aspects of their operations to stay relevant and a step ahead. Moreover, they need employees who are capable of such integration. GT-IDEA will do just that: develop the employee of tomorrow, while also driving value for Grant Thornton’s clients by providing them with access to the innovative thinking coming out of the program.”

Sastry will serve on GT-IDEA’s executive steering committee, while fellow IU alumnus Aurpon Bhattacharya, MPA ’05 and principal in Grant Thornton’s Enterprise Technology Strategy and Innovation practice, and Ward Melhuish, Innovation principal at Grant Thornton, will serve as the program’s primary corporate liaisons, working with the associate deans from the three schools.

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“Srikant has closely fostered our relationship with Indiana University, grooming many talented IU alums as they joined and grew within our firm,” Bhattacharya said. “He saw the need for integrating business, technology and regulatory disciplines to address the challenges that companies and the government face today. GT-IDEA sprung from this unmet need, and we look forward to collaborating with IU’s Kelley School of Business, SPEA and SICE on this initiative.”

“We are honored to be associated with the Grant Thornton name and grateful for the firm’s support of this institute that will provide opportunities for all of us to come together to share our knowledge, to collaborate on solutions and to explore the future of data-driven risk assessment,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School of Business and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “This collaboration is vitally important in growing the next generation of leaders in risk management.”

IU’s Kelley School of Business and School of Public and Environmental Affairs are consistently ranked atop their respective fields of study. And the university’s emerging School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering operates at the cutting edge of technology research and education, having celebrated the dedication of Luddy Hall, a new 124,000-square-foot facility, in the spring.

This unique collaboration, afforded by GT-IDEA, will empower students by providing dynamic, cross-disciplinary educational experiences that will prepare them to succeed in an ever-changing risk management landscape.

“A flood of data surrounds us every day, and the integrity and security of data are critical,” said Raj Acharya, dean of IU’s School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering. “We could not be more grateful for the generosity of Grant Thornton to establish the Grant Thornton Institute for Data Exploration for Risk Assessment and Management. The opportunity for SICE students to work on multidisciplinary teams with analysts from Grant Thornton and faculty and students from SPEA and Kelley will provide a strong educational platform for our students to help shape tomorrow.”

Luddy Hall
Luddy Hall, home of the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering on the IU Bloomington campus.Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

“We deeply appreciate the support from Grant Thornton, and we’re eager to get started on the case competitions, speaker series and other events at SPEA that grow from this partnership,” said John D. Graham, dean of IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “Because so much of my professional and academic background is in risk assessment, I strongly believe that our students and, indeed, our world will benefit from the skills and mindset the GT-IDEA will foster at IU.”

In 2018, Grant Thornton was among Working Mother magazine’s “Top 100 Companies” and a National Association for Female Executives’ “Top Company for Executive Women.” Crain’s Chicago Business and the Dallas Business Journal named Grant Thornton to their “Best Places to Work” lists, and, since 2017, the firm has earned consecutive perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Corporate Equality Index.” In addition, Grant Thornton ranked fourth in the “Vault Accounting 50” and was included on Universum’s “Most Attractive Employers” ranking.

This gift counts toward the $3 billion For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.

For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses, including IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in June 2020 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial celebration. To learn more about the campaign, its impact and how to participate, visit

About Grant Thornton LLP

Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton, which has revenues in excess of $1.8 billion and operates 58 offices, works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations.

“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see for further details.

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