The creators of Hotmail, Foodking, Bharat Forge, MapmyIndia, Onida, TheFind, Varshajal and the Buddh International Circuit, to name a few, were all driven by passion—the passion to realise their dreams. They all built successful teams and created enduring brands. Further, the founders of the companies all had one more thing in common—they had graduate from Bits Pilani. These Bits alumni and many more have been successful entrepreneurs and trailblazers in varied fields. How did they do it? Did they score a bullseye the first time? If not, did they experience frustration—like many of us? How did they balance their work and personal lives? Did they have a success mantra?
The book provides answers to these question by taking the reader the journeys of fifty individuals who realised their dreams through perseverance and determination, be it as entrepreneurs, technologists, scientists, teachers or artists. What is noteworthy is that all of them unanimously attribute their success to the exposure they received in Bits Pilani, highlighting the importance of educational institutes in shaping students’ lives.
This book is an initiative of Bits Alumni Association, Hyderabad, to commemorate the golden jubilee of Bits Pilani (1964-2014).
Harsh Bhargava © is an alumnus of Bits Pilani, IIT Kanpur, Osmania University and Naval Postgraduate School, California. He is a former commodore, Indian Navy, and Professor, IBS Hyderabad. His previous books include Virtual Leadership.
Kinnera Murthy (L) is an alumnus of Bits Pilani, Universities of Pune and Osmania University. Former Dean of the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, she is a strategy consultant and serves on the board of several corporate and academic institutions. She also leads social initiatives.
Anu Khendry (R) is an alumnus of Bits Pilani and State University of New York at Stony Brook. After having spent two decades in the IT industry, she now consults and trains the subject areas of agile methodologies and project management.
The evolution of BITS over the last fifty years from a tiny pathshala (school) for two to the marvel that is BITS Pilani, an institute offering the best of science and technology education, makes for a splendid story. BITS of Success captures admirably how this great institution has spawned and shaped generations of leaders in India and worldwide.
An eclectic tapestry, this volume presents the passion of fifty BITSians, their success drivers, their deep longing to make meaningful contributions and the lessons they learnt in the journey of life! According to these achievers, if they had to think of one single factor that enabled them to reach the top of their league, it would be the strong foundation of values-integrity, perseverance and commitment-ingrained in them during their most formative years at BITS.
I believe the stories in this book will enthuse and motivate not only BITSians but the entire student community to set high aspirations that would lead to a purposeful life that goes beyond the self.
Kudos to Harsh Bhargava, Kinnera Murthy, Anu Khendry-all BITS alumni from BITSM, Hyderabad-for their insightful chronicling of brand BITS through the eyes of these 50 alumni who have made a mark in their respective fields and brought glory to BITS.
I find the dedication and the emotional and intellectual equity that BITSians invest in their alma mater-a matter of great pride for me-truly exceptional. Let me explain what has been the university's strategic vision-"to raise BITS to become one of the leading science and technology universities in Asia with a clear focus on teaching, research and industry engagement" -which I believe will undeniably interest all BITSians. While teaching is understandably the primary objective, the focus on research enables us to occupy a position of prominence among other leading science and technological universities. Further, a close alignment with the industry at every point will continue to set us apart in unique ways.
As we march ahead, our ambitious growth plan to increase the depth and reach of both our on-campus and off-campus programmes will surely lead to more milestones achieved by an increasing number of game-changers from BITS.
BITS Pilani has a large global alumni network comprising individuals who have excelled in diverse careers. On the occasion of the golden jubilee of the institute, the BITSM (BITS Alumni Association) thought it a fitting gesture to honour the institute by chronicling the life stories of some of the outstanding BITSians over the years. A book with the theme 'BITSSO@SO', showcasing the success stories of BITS alumni over the last fifty years (1964-2014), was proposed and agreed upon as being appropriate for the occasion.
The real challenge of putting together the book was to select the individuals whose stories it would contain. We were able to identify some from the list of recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award (OM) instituted by BITS. For the others, we sought nominations through the BITSM website (www. bitsaa.org) and social media platforms. A panel consisting of BITS Pilani's vice chancellor, his predecessor, and four DDA recipients scrutinised the nominations. The shortlisted alumni were then approached to share their life experiences in the form of short biographical sketches.
The stories in this book are of people from diverse fields ranging from technologists to entrepreneurs to artists to teachers. Each story gives the reader a glimpse of how passion, perseverance and determination have helped the person realise his or her dream. The stories showcase experiences in a variety of contexts such as team-building in corporate environments, setting up companies and undertaking new ventures for the benefit of society. The narrators describe their frustrations at the difficulties encountered along the way and how they were able to overcome them with faith and persistence. One thing emerges common to all the stories-all the achievers give credit to BITS for providing them with the right environment for honing their skills and helping them develop networks that they believe has served them well throughout their careers.
We are disappointed that we could not include more stories in the book for want of time and space. Many of the alumni we approached did not want their stories to be showcased. Like them, there are countless other BITS alumni who equally deserve a place in this book but who shy away from being in the limelight. We hope to succeed in persuading them to share their stories in the next anniversary volume.
Suggestions for the title of the book were sought through various social media channels. Within just three days of posting the requirement, more than fifty submissions came in! These were assessed and voted online by more than five hundred BITSians. The title 'BITS of Success', suggested by Jatin Chuglani, a BITS alumnus, was an outright winner. We thank Jatin for his imaginative suggestion.
A project of this magnitude could not have been completed without the active support of many people. We thank the BITSians the world over who passionately relived their stories for us and met our deadlines in spite of their busy schedules and the families of the late Ramesh Grover and Shanti Sharma for their inputs. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of all those who helped us in the compilation of this book-all the alumni for nominating fellow BITSian achievers; Indira Susheel Kumar (parent of a BITS alumnus) for her unmatched line drawings as well as her committed editorial support; Bhashwati, Shyamola Khanna, Jayanti Ramamoorthy and N Raguveer (a BITS Hyderabad student) for their editorial and research support; Deepak Manchanda, former editor of BITS Beat (a campus "as-and-when-we-canly") for sharing his memories of BITS; Sherin Kurien, Rahul Sengupta and Rohit Kaul (all BITS alumni) for helping with the research and compilation of this book; the BITSM Hyderabad team led by Ashok Agarwal and Sanjay Khendry for their unstinting support; Debdaan for the excellent cover design; Susheela for her immaculate typesetting; and Madhu Reddy, Ramya Sriram and the rest of the team at Universities Press, the publishers, for bringing out this book on time. Lastly, we wish to thank our families for believing us every time we said, "Just coming!" but took two hours thereafter!
We hope you enjoy reading the book as much as we did putting it together. Your feedback is always welcome.
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