I personally have a keen interest in every small expression and word of Google CEO Sundar Pichai while he was interacting to IIT Kharagpur students. Nearly 25 years ago, he was here as a student, pursuing a BTech in metallurgy. On Thursday, he went back to his alma mater as an old boy and CEO of Google.
Sundar Pichai left IIT Kharagpur in 1993. When he came back, students staying at the B wing on the third floor of Nehru Hall, Pichai's hostel, relived the Google CEO's college days as he remembered his "wingies" (wing mates) and visited his old room: room B 308.
Pichai arrived at the hostel on Thursday to find the eight residents of the wing waiting for him. The student who now lives in his old room, however, was still not back from vacation. "Nehru ka tempo high hai," the boarders cheered. As a former boarder of the hostel, the words must have been familiar. He went up to the third floor, where Harsheel Singh from room B 309, along with seven other wing mates, met him in front of his old room.
At the session with students, sharing his journey to becoming a CEO, he said: "There are 60,000 people at Google. To lead the company towards success, I always relied on other strong leaders. Learning to let go and to empower others is essential. One should always try to remove roadblocks so that other people can achieve success. Promoting teamwork is essential to become successful."
The alumnus of two illustrious institutions — IIT and later, Stanford University — said the road to success was long and difficult. "Entering an elite institute will not necessarily guarantee success. Take up something which you enjoy doing," he advised.
Pichai also said that he believed it was more important to work in the real world, rather than spend one's time with just books. "Be well-rounded, do different things, follow passions, take risks, get real-world experience and always value creativity," was his mantra.
"Setbacks don't matter. Keep your dreams alive. How life plays up is entirely on you, and no one else can decide."
When a student asked when he decided to become a distinguished alumnus and not just remain an alumnus, Pichai burst out laughing. "One doesn't decide," he said. "I always wanted to work on computing so that it meets [the needs of] a lot of users. The change started there."
When asked where he saw himself in 10 years, pat came the reply: "I've always wanted to innovate and devise products which benefit billions. Maybe I shall keep doing it."
A student asked him how he could replace Pichai at Google. "Be careful what you wish for," he smiled. "Maybe we can discuss this over a cup of chaai."
Waving to the hundreds of students who patiently stood listening to him, the Google CEO, as he boarded the bus to leave, made a promise to the IIT-Kgp director and his teacher Partha Pratim Chakrabarti. "I shall return," he logged off.
Oh, I dont think the students interact with Pichai are the same students now like before. There must be now so many thoughts, inspiration, energy and dreams into the minds. Lets work hard and keep going !!