Five Questions with…Haresh and Alpa Bhungalia

2/18/2019

The prominent entrepreneur talks about the Bhungalia Family Scholarship and his connection to today’s students.

Haresh Bhungalia spent his freshman year at UM-Dearborn preparing to study economics and then transferred to U-M Ann Arbor where he received a B.A. in economics in 1997. A successful entrepreneur, in 2000, he co-founded 2020 Company LLC, a Federal IT solutions provider at the forefront of transformational health IT and other projects across the public sector. He sold the company in 2012 and transitioned to CEO for Casepoint, a litigation software firm that provides a full strength eDiscovery platform with artificial intelligence pre-installed. Casepoint clients include large law firms, corporations and the public sector.

According to washingtonexec.com, “Bhungalia rose to prominence as a young entrepreneur who, with a cousin, co-founded 2020 Company, LLC, going from literally nothing and, at one point, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, to a successful leader known for more than just his business acumen.”

Haresh and his wife, Alpa, are committed to philanthropic support of organizations with causes that align with their deeply held beliefs, like Pratham, which supports educational efforts in India. They are also generous donors to the University of Michigan. Haresh and Alpa were recently on our campus and met with a group of economics students.

You and your wife, Alpa, recently visited campus. What did you think of the students you met with?

My wife and I have always enjoyed engaging with college students. It is refreshing to look at the world through their lens. They have the maturity to be realistic while at the same time the youthfulness to have great optimism. Being around them energizes us. We really felt a connection with the students as they had the most intriguing questions and thoughtful insights. We really enjoyed our time with the students at UM-Dearborn as the conversation was engaging. We are hopeful they found it to be as meaningful as we did.

How has the campus changed since you were in school here? How is it the same? What are some of your most memorable UM-Dearborn experiences?

Not having been on campus in over 25 years, it has changed quite a bit. A number of new buildings have gone up and many of the older buildings have been remodeled, which made the physical campus feel different. Even though the physical buildings may have changed, the vibrancy of the student body remained the same.

I made some great friends during my time on campus. Many of whom I am still in touch with today. Building these life long bonds are some of my most memorable moments.

What inspired you to create the Bhungalia Family Scholarship which will provide scholarships to CASL students with financial need (with preference given to Economics majors)?

My wife and I have been very fortunate to be in the position we are in. With it comes a social responsibility to remember where we came from. Given that my higher education academic career started at UM-Dearborn it was only natural that we created something to help the future generation of students. We choose Economics majors as a preference because as I am an Economics graduate. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) majors tend to get a lot of attention and we felt it was important for us to support CASL students.

What do you and Alpa hope this gift will accomplish?

We hope the scholarship will afford worthy students the opportunity to get a college education. I was a first generation college student and given that many of the students at the university are also first generation students, we are hoping this small gift can help ease the burden of obtaining a college degree.

What advice do you have for our students to make the most of their UM-Dearborn education while they are here and to prepare them for their careers?

We are in an era where anybody can be and do anything. We live in an open world and economy where we have greater access to information and knowledge then generations before us. This affords individuals the opportunity to explore and find their passion. College is a great time for self-discovery and while at the same time building the foundation for life’s journey.

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