Sundar Pichai speaks at IIT Kharagpur

Sundar Pichai at #BackToCampus

Sundar Pichai speaks his heart at #BackToCampus

Google is probably the most important word in our lives. From booking movie tickets to getting through our projects, Google is our soul Saviour. And when the CEO of the search engine decides to speak out his heart at his alma mater, of course, students were all ears. Amidst a thundering applause from over 35,000 students, and teachers, Sundar Pichai-the Google Man entered the IIT- Kharagpur amphitheater. Returning to his alma mater after 25 years, nostalgia and determination of his speech inspired many. Team Plancess too couldn’t refrain from getting some inspiration. Here’s a snippet of the chat #BackToCampus.


  • From Alumnus to distinguished Alumnus, Mr. Pichai had not thought so far. “Getting through IIT was fun, though. Never did I think I would get back.”
  • Bunking morning classes and staying up late is a norm of all the IITs. The Google Man hadn’t broken the trend either. Enjoyed his college life to the brim, is what we understand! “It is like a rite at the IIT to bunk morning classes!!!”
  • Well, we all know how canteen food tastes like. Mr. Pichai and his friends took it to another level by throwing each other challenge to say by the look of it if “It was Daal or Sambhar”.
  • Not a scene from 2 States, but getting to call your girlfriend from the hostel is a tad bit embarrassing, especially when technology was quite handicapped. “I had to go to SN Hall and get someone to call for Anjali (Anjali is now Mrs. Pichai). That was quite embarrassing as the person, would loudly call out, ‘Anjali, Sundar is here for you!’” Yes, he did blush narrating the blossoming love story.
  • But somethings are best unchanged. “Even after 25 years, my dorm room looks just the same. Somethings don’t change for the better.”

Cracking the Google Interview

  • “It was April 1, 2004, and Google had launched Gmail. Now I was under the notion that it was some April fool’s joke. But when my interviewers started asking me about Gmail I was unable to answer them. It was my 5th interviewer who showed me the platform.” It was his last four rounds where he told them about what could be done to make the platform better. And got through!
  • Pichai is often heard joking that he got through Google because the co-founder Larry Page didn’t interview him!!!

The Google Story

  • The Largest search engine focuses on catering to billions of individuals across the world. “We come up with products that can benefit a large number of people, like Google Maps.”
  • They believe in working on difficult things so that the best can be produced. “Larry (Larry Page- is the co-founder of Google) tells us that if you work on extremely difficult projects, you are at a benefit. If you succeed your competitors might not have even thought of it. Even if you fail you will be ahead and have created something new.”
  • AI and Machine Learning is the next big thing happening in the tech world. It has become the buzzword, which was absent even ten years back. “With AI and Machine Learning, we can reach out various sectors and help people at large. Something like detecting Diabetic Retina which leads to complete blindness will come as a great help to the entire world.”

Being the perfect leader

  • With a team of over 60,000 employees, leadership is about teamwork at Google. “You must value teamwork if you want the company to grow.”
  • A good leader doesn’t grow alone. He takes his teammates along in the growth journey. “You have to trust your teammates and remove obstacles from their path so that they can grow. Your organization needs to be such that people are willing to work.

Google and India in Mr. Pichai’s words

  • We are trying to build products for everyone in the world. In India, Google is working to get the search engine in as many languages possible. So that the reach is there in rural sectors as well.
  • The digital progress in India has been phenomenal. There are currently 3 million smartphone users in India, but the prices of the phones need to go down further so that everyone can have one.
  • The connectivity also has to improve. In fact, India has the best PPP model (Private- Public Partnership Model). Working on projects like Aadhaar Card, UPI, and Digital payments have been very effective.
  • The Internet Saathi Training is helping empower the rural women to major extents.
  • India will very soon, in fact in 10 years, be a global player in the digital market and shall be competitive with all countries.
  • We are growing well and will get to it!

The much Awaited Rapid Fire

Pastime: Watching Football and Cricket

Bolly Favourites: Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan

What were the semester scores: The first two were quite disappointing, but I picked up in the latter two.

Inspiration: Narayan Murthy.

Cricketer of Choice: Tendulkar and Kohli

 And the Message of Hope and Aspiration

Have Fun in whatever you are doing. Be Passionate about it. I was in Metallurgy but Programming was what I enjoyed doing. Life is a long road and IIT is not the end of the world. It is one of the most premium institutes, but if you can’t get through don’t lose hope. There are lots of other opportunities awaiting. Understand your likings and passion and try to work towards that. Success won’t be far away.

One Response

  1. Apurve Gour January 7, 2017

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