While visiting his alma mater, Google Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai got an opportunity to revisit his past and renew the memories associated with the great institution. It was time for existing students of the renowned tech institute to get some great advice from one of the best tech brains in the world.
This was the reason that as soon as Google Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai started addressing the students at The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur yesterday, there was complete silence. There was no voice except his and no one even whispered with fellow students while he was speaking.
Every student was eager to absorb every word of what the old hand at the search giant was to say and the advice they were set to receive from him. And to be true, the Google boss had some great advices for the students of the one of the best universities in the country. When asked by students as to how they could emulate his success to pursue their passions, pat came the answer take risks, and be creative.
Academics important, but not everything
The most important thing that the Google CEO told the students of his old college who had spent sleepless nights preparing to enter the coveted college, “Academics is important but it is not as important as it’s made out to be”. He went on to add that while studying in one of the best tech universities in the country where he was studying metallurgical engineering he stayed up late, slept through the occasional class — and may even have earned a C in one course.
Have fun too
Students in India’s top tech colleges have a life devoid of fun and joy. They are under so much pressure and strain to perform that they forget everything else. “I worked hard but we did have our share of fun as well” he said.
Many students spend years and years first preparing to enter IITs or other top tech colleges in the country and then remain on their toes to be among the best performers in the college to bag the best jobs. He advised the students to have fun too.
Ragging has become more than nuisance for students across the country. He says that when he studied in college, ragging used to be very mild. “The ragging I went through was quite mellow. As freshmen we use to go through something called CG Change, CG standing for Central Gravity. We would lock our rooms and leave for classes and when we got back we would find our rooms completely overturned, with the doors still locked. Our seniors would use rods and sticks and re-arrange everything in the room,’’ he went on to add.
It’s a long road
A very important advice that he told the students who were eager to learn how he succeeded in making it so big in life was that the success doesn’t come easy. He said, “It’s a long road”. There is no denying that this is something that not just IIT Kharagpur students should keep in mind, but also all other students pursuing any other course anywhere in the world.
He further said “In the US the emphasis is on creativity, and we need to push more for this. IT is very hard to get in to IIT and quite an achievement. But an IIT or any other premier institute is not a guarantee for success. At Google we have many people from IIT. But we also have people from other institutions across the globe and India – and these are remarkable people with remarkable talent as well”.
Setbacks actually don’t matter
Sundar Pichai, who had spent at least two years at IIT Kharagpur said that setbacks were part of the life. After graduating from the school in 1993 studied at Stanford University and the Wharton School of Business in the U.S., joined the search giant in 2004 and was appointed chief executive in 2015. He said that setbacks were part of the life and “setbacks actually don’t matter.”
Google is focusing on artificial intelligence
The Google boss said that the search giant’s most important focus right now was in AI or artificial intelligence. “Google’s R&D focus right now is on machine learning and AI. We have recently published a paper on diabetic retinopathy – which is the fastest growing cause for blindness in the world. We are looking at applying machine learning to all fields such as this eye disease so that one would no longer have to go to a ophthalmologist for diagnosis but a regular doctor will be able to diagnose such diseases as well,’’said Pichai.
He went on to add, “Google is trying to build products for everyone in the world. For India, we need to get Google working in as many languages as possible and not just English because everyone does not know English….We want to be able to reach out to India’s rural population and do better there. Giving access to people to the internet is important. So we are looking at cheaper smart phones as well – priced at no more than $30. I have heard that Kharagpur station is now connected by WiFi – this is fantastic. All I remember about the station is being made to carry our seniors’ luggage across the platform – and it is a very long platform”.