InMobi Co-Founder & CEO Naveen Tewari inspires students with stories of failure and faith
The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) celebrated its 42nd Foundation Day on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, with an inspiring lecture, a plethora of events and activities on campus.
Naveen Tewari, Co-Founder and CEO, InMobi, delivers the Foundation Day Lecture at the 42nd Foundation Day celebrations at IIM Bangalore. (L-R) Dr Sourav Mukherji, Dean Programmes, Dr Ishwar Murthy, Dean Faculty, Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman, Board of Governors, Dr Sushil Vachani, Director, and Dr G Shainesh, Dean Administration, IIM Bangalore
The annual celebrations included the Foundation Day Lecture and the Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony. This year’s theme for the Foundation Day Lecture was ‘Love, Faith & Craziness: An Entrepreneur’s Journey’, which was delivered by the chief guest Naveen Tewari, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, InMobi, at the IIMB Auditorium, from 5.30 pm. An IIT Kanpur and Harvard Business School alumnus Naveen Tewari is the recipient of distinguished awards from his alma maters for excellence in leadership and entrepreneurship. Other than nurturing several start-ups in India, he founded and chairs a US-based nonprofit named India School Fund, which sets up and funds schools in rural India, a cause close to his heart.
Naveen chose to share three stories from his life – the stories of Love, Faith, and Craziness – that turned his life into a dream, instead of delivering what he called “a usual motivational or inspirational speech that tended to put listeners to sleep!” He told the audience if you have faith, hope and belief that things will change, and go through the grind to achieve that purpose, the larger plan will eventually take shape. “So you will fail, you must fail many times. And while you fail people will ask you to quit. Have faith and keep at it,” he said.
His second mantra was “Do what you love”. When one does not traverse the path taken by everyone else and does what he enjoys and has his heart in, will he be able to write his own definition of success for others to follow.
His third story related to “Crazy is good”. To change the world, you have to be crazy and be able to take risks, which is significantly better than trying to avoid failures. “We have 27 offices in 17 countries. And the reason that happened is not because it was planned but because we were crazy enough to believe in what others did not believe in and we went for it. All we did was what we loved, had faith in our plans including our failures and sprinkled it all with our craziness,” he added. He also said that we should strive to make out country better.
He concluded by thanking the IIMB faculty who dedicate their lives to enhance that of the students. He also gave the alma mater full marks for fuelling students’ ambitions. “Your faculty here is treating this institution like a start-up where they are innovating and disrupting constantly. Let us give a big round of applause to all faculty and to IIMB - one of the most premier institutes on the planet. When you leave these doors, it is not a goodbye. You stay connected with your faculty, your institute, and alumni and most importantly stay humble and stay grounded as you will have a long distance to go,” he said.
IIM Bangalore Director Dr Sushil Vachani presented a report on the Institute’s achievements on the occasion. This includes partnering with the world’s most respected MOOC platform, the Harvard- MIT joint venture, edX, to launch its very first MOOCs. He spoke about IIMB’s initiatives towards building a sound research and teaching ecosystem, providing students with a global perspective, deepening engagement in international networks, infusing an entrepreneurial mind-set among students, contributing to national objectives, mentoring the new IIM at Visakhapatnam, and much more.
The IIMB Foundation Day celebrations also saw Distinguished Alumni Awards (DAA) being conferred on Sri R Chandrasekaran and Dr. Hasmukh Adhia. Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIM Bangalore, gave away the awards. It was a proud moment for the Institute to honour the two awardees for their significant professional excellence as well as their contribution to industry, academia and society.
Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, an IAS officer by profession, is the Revenue Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. In his current position, he deals with matters relating to Income Tax, Custom and Excise Duty, GST, etc. Prior to the present posting, he was Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. As Secretary, Financial Services, he is credited with many new strategies for banking reforms such as ‘Gyan Sangam’ and ‘Indra Dhanush’ as well as social security schemes of ‘Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna’, ‘Jivan Jyoti Bima Yojna’ and ‘Atal Pension Yojna’, as also for the scheme of micro-financing of Mudra. He is a gold medallist of the Post Graduate Programme in Public Policy and Management (PGPPM) from the Institute and holds a PhD in Yoga from Swami Vivekananda Yoga University, Bangalore.
Dr. Adhia delivered his acceptance speech through a video message. Thanking his alma mater for choosing him for the DAA, he said that the contribution of all his teachers at IIMB in giving him a new paradigm of learning and a new perspective of public policy was enormous. “My biggest learning from the Public Policy & Management course at IIMB was that one should not make any policy or programme without proper analysis of the relevant data,” he said.
R Chandrasekaran, Executive Vice Chairman, Cognizant India, speaks after receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award 2015 at the 42nd Foundation Day celebrations at IIM Bangalore. Dr Hasmukh Adhia, Revenue Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India, also received the Award
Talking about how the study of Public Policy is more relevant if it is done in the Indian context with the help of Indian case studies, he said that “All prestigious domestic management institutions should offer an exclusive Public Policy programme and the government should also create an atmosphere or a policy environment for encouraging civil servants to join such domestic Public Policy programmes”.
Dr. Adhia concluded his speech by remembering all his batch-mates from the PGPPM programme at IIMB, with whom he had shared many months of living at the MHU in the Institute campus.
R Chandrasekaran (or Chandra as he is known), is the Executive Vice Chairman of Cognizant India. As one of the Co-Founders of Cognizant in 1994 and an Executive Officer of the company, Chandra has played a variety of roles in shaping the company’s vision, strategy and goals, and meticulously implementing them. In his current role, Chandra is responsible for leading the charter to drive higher levels of client intimacy, strengthening Cognizant’s strong relationships with industry bodies such as NASSCOM and CII, driving outreach with government and quasi-government bodies and enhancing the company’s brand and thought leadership in India. Chandra oversees a cross-section of Cognizant’s strategic client engagements and mentors the team on strategy, transformation and delivery excellence initiatives. He is also the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the National Institute of Technology Trichy, Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Chandrasekaran started his speech by thanking all responsible for his nomination and selection for the award. He also thanked and acknowledged the contributions of his family, professors and teachers, his batch-mates and his colleagues at Cognizant towards his glorious career.
Talking about the importance of a good education, he said he got that experience at IIMB, where he discovered himself, which helped him realise his full potential later. “I was fortunate to interact with amazing faculty members and fellow students who raised the “intellectual” quotient in me. I still follow the advice given by Prof. S K Roy during personal counselling sessions; those sessions really made me step out of my “comfort zone”, he added.
He also spoke about his stint at TCS, which was a great preparatory time and helped him acquire a global mind-set and perspective. However, he added that he owes a lot of his professional success to his friends and colleagues at Cognizant. “Cognizant’s agile and nimble start-up environment was the perfect ground to apply the wisdom of my B-school learnings and previous professional experience.
“When I look at the industry today, I wish I could start my professional life all over again. With the opportunities that are unfolding, especially in the digital arena, anyone with interesting ideas can make it really big. This is where institutions like IIMB play a pivotal role in nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit of students and give shape to their ideas. I would be very happy to participate in any capacity to encourage and mentor such ideas”, he said.
As per the Institute’s tradition, each recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award receives a citation and his/her name is engraved on the wall of fame at the Institute.
Long service awards were also given away to faculty and staff on the occasion to honour and recognize them for having spent two decades at the Institute. The recipients were ten employees who had joined the Institute in May 1995.
The evening’s awards included an endowment volunteered by the IIMB PGP alumni batch of 2001 for children of the Institute’s staff, which is based on academic merit and financial need. The merit-cum means scholarship to be awarded every year is for pursing higher education, after 10+2. The scholarship is awarded to one student every year and comprises a one-time cash award of Rs 50,000 and a merit certificate. It was received by PGP hostel staffer’s son Kishan Kumar, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Engineering program at the Oxford College of Engineering, Bangalore.
The evening drew to a close with an inspiring speech from the Chairman, Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. Taking a cue from Naveen Tewari’s speech, she pointed out the huge impact that entrepreneurship has had on the world and India today. “India is now beginning to get noticed as a start-up nation and IIM Bangalore has risen to the occasion. The Institute wants students to think differently and make a big societal change,” she said. To meet the challenge, the Institute should initiate changes. “In fact the MOOCs should also be different from what others are doing. That’s where innovation will come in in a big way. India offers huge opportunities and money is chasing great, bright ideas. There’s opportunity for all of us, irrespective of age, gender, financial status, if you have a great idea, passion, commitment and if you believe in what you do,” she added, making a special mention of IIM Bangalore’s vibrant incubation centre, the N S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL).
As part of the 42nd Foundation Day celebrations, cultural programmes were conducted on 27th October 2015 from 4 pm to 6.30 pm at the Auditorium, which saw the IIMB community participate in full strength.