Ashish Dhawan is the Founder and Chairman of Central Square Foundation (CSF).
He worked for twenty years in the investment management business and ran one of India’s leading private equity funds, ChrysCapital. In June 2012, he left his full time role at ChrysCapital to start CSF. Ashish is an MBA with distinction from Harvard University and a dual bachelor’s (BS/BA) holder with Magna Cum Laude honours from Yale University. He is on the India Advisory Board of Harvard and a member of Yale’s Development Council.
Ashish serves on the board of several non-profits including Akanksha Foundation, 3.2.1 Education Foundation, Teach For India, Centre for Civil Society, Janaagraha, India School Leadership Institute and Bharti Foundation.
After passing out with top marks from St Xavier’s Collegiate School, Dhawan went on to graduate magna cum laude from Yale University with a dual bachelor’s degree. In 1997, he completed an MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS), graduating with distinction. He currently serves on the advisory board of HBS Club of India and is a member of Yale’s Development Council.
Dhawan started his career in 1992 as the only Indian analyst working for Mergers Group at Wasserstein Perella & Co., a boutique investment bank on Wall Street. From 1993-1995, Dhawan worked as a junior associate at McCown DeLeeuw & Co., a small private equity firm in California, where he met George McCown, who encouraged him to study leadership at Harvard Business School.
Through the mid-nineties, Dhawan invested proprietary capital in the Risk Arbitrage Group at New York’s blue chip investment bank Goldman Sachs. Returning to India in 1999, he co-founded ChrysCapital in Mumbai with Harvard classmate Raj Kondur. Despite some initial challenges and market pressures, ChrysCapital endured and emerged as one of the strongest players.
In 2010, Dhawan co-founded the Young India Fellowship, a one-year residential multidisciplinary postgraduate programme with a focus on experiential learning and an aim to develop the next generation of India’s leaders.
In June 2012, Dhawan transitioned from venture capitalist to educator, founding Central Square Foundation, a philanthropic fund and policy think tank focused on transforming the quality of school education in India by making early and growth stage grants to education-focused NGOs and by conducting research on critical issues facing India’s education system.
With the support of more than forty philanthropists in 2014, Dhawan launched Ashoka University—India’s first liberal arts university—located outside New Delhi.
Ashish also serves on the board of several non-profits including Akanksha Foundation, 3.2.1 Education Foundation, Teach For India, Centre for Civil Society, Janaagraha, India School Leadership Institute and Bharti Foundation.
Dhawan lives in New Delhi with his wife, Manisha Dhawan an M Phil in Philosophy from Delhi University and three children, Ayla, Anya and Armaan.