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Rady School of Management Alum Suman Kanuganti Honored by AACSB as a 2020 “Influential Leader”


Rady School of Management alum Suman Kanuganti (MBA ’14) has been recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) as an “Influential Leader” for 2020. The 2020 award is given to only 25 distinguished alumni from AACSB-accredited business schools from 13 countries.

Kanuganti is the founder of Aira, a company created to help visually impaired individuals navigate the world with more freedom and autonomy. Inspired by a friend with deteriorating vision, Kanuganti used his engineering background and entrepreneurial acumen cultivated at the Rady School to create Aira in 2015. By leveraging leading technologies, such as smart glasses and mobile devices, Aira connects users with a network of trained remote human agents, to provide them with instant access to information and assistance in the physical and digital world, when and where they want it.

Aira is today’s fastest growing assistive community, revolutionizing travel, commuting, and shopping for visually impaired individuals. Aira “explorers” are able to connect to agents who are able to see a user’s location and surroundings, providing a clear, live auditory narrative of the user’s environment in virtually any daily activity. Through partnerships with Lyft, airports, shopping venues, universities (including the University of California San Diego), sports stadiums, museums and other lifestyle venues, Aira has brought its assistive service to millions across the U.S. and around the world.

“Suman and Aira have revolutionized the way the visually impaired interact with their world,” said Rady School Dean Lisa Ordóñez. “He is truly an influential leader, who has made a sustainable impact on the innovation economy and the lives of many individuals here in San Diego and across the globe.”

Business schools nominate outstanding alumni for the Influential Leader award. AACSB then determines the select alumni who will receive the award. AACSB chooses alumni for the Influential Leader award by evaluating their commitments to lead or innovate within their industry, impact their community or society, and inspire future business leaders.

“It is our privilege to amplify the stories of business school graduates like Suman Kanuganti who are serving as a force for good in the world,” said Tom Robinson, AACSB president and CEO. “The Rady School of Management prepares its graduates to lead with enthusiasm and dedication and Suman’s inspirational achievements are to be celebrated.”