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Sunday / March 26.

Sundar Pichai’s Bharat Darshan

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By Shubhra Agrawal

After a period of 23 long years, Google CEO Sundar Pichai returned to his alma mater, Indian Institute of Technology, IIT Kharagpur. The festive cheer that spread across the campus was evident by the euphoria of over 3000 students. They had all come together to welcome their “campus rockstar”. He engaged in a light-hearted chat with Hitesh Oberoi, Chief Human Resources Officer at Info Edge. The 1993 alumnus answered a series of questions, ranging from the ‘sambhar’ served in the mess to meeting his wife on campus. He even talked about how technology has changed student life.

How he made it to Google

Describing his job interview when he first applied at Google, Pichai said, “I still joke that I got into Google because Larry didn’t interview me.” Incidentally, at the time when Pichai interviewed with Google, Co-founder and Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page had just stopped interviewing people himself. At the interview, when Pichai was asked about the then recently released service Gmail, he thought it was an April Fools’ joke.
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Pichai is the alumnus of the reputed IIT Kharagpur. Photo Courtesy: Get My Uni.

Pichai said that India has the potential to be a “global player in the digital economy,” with more and more people getting online for the first time, especially on inexpensive smartphones.

Google has partnered with the Indian Railways to provide free Wi-Fi services to 400 railway stations across the country. The leading technology company has also tied up with the National Payment Corporation of India for the UPI scheme, and the Government of India for Aadhaar.

Vouching for Holistic Growth

What was most inspirational about his talk was the piece of advice that he gave the young crowd

“Academics is important but it is not as important as it’s made out to be.Take risks and be creative but, most importantly, loosen up and have some fun”.

Pichai emphasised on the importance of all round development, encouraging people follow their interests and have unique experiences.

This is unconventional advice in a country where most parents pressurise their students to focus on education from a very young age. Pichai emphasised on the importance of all round development, encouraging people to follow their interests and have unique experiences. Pichai described memorable moments of his college life, where he had spent late nights, as a result sleeping through the occasional morning classes- which may have even earned him a C on one of his courses.

During his visit, Sundar Pichai was also conferred with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in the Boardroom of IIT Kharagpur.

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Pichai has visited India before and enjoys a close relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo Courtesy: Blogs.

The soft-spoken, congenial Chennai native studied at Stanford University and the Wharton School of Business in the U.S, after graduating from IIT Kharagpur in 1993. He joined Google in 2004 and after working for 10 years was appointed the chief executive in 2015.  From a graduate in Metallurgical Engineering to CEO of one the largest technical companies in the world, Sundar Pichai’s journey is certainly an inspiring one.


Featured Image Courtesy: Office Chai
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