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Lessons learnt from life and career

a speech by NR Narayana Murthy

NR Narayana Murthy , chief mentor and chairman of the board, Infosys Technologies, delivered a pre-commencement lecture at the New York University (Stern School of Business) on May 9, 2007. In his motivational speech, Murthy speaks about the lessons he learnt from his life and career. He began by thanking Dean Cooley and Prof Marti Subrahmanyam for their invitation, congratulated the class of 2007, and then shared the following with all present there.

 

"After some thought, I have decided to share with you some of my life lessons. I learned these lessons in the context of my early career struggles, a life lived under the influence of sometimes unplanned events which were the crucibles that tempered my character and reshaped my future. I would like first to share some of these key life events with you, in the hope that these may help you understand my struggles and how chance events and unplanned encounters with influential persons shaped my life and career. Later, I will share the deeper life lessons that I have learned. My sincere hope is that this sharing will help you see your own trials and tribulations for the hidden blessings they can be.

The first event occurred when I was a graduate student in Control Theory at IIT, Kanpur, in India. At breakfast on a bright Sunday morning in 1968, I had a chance encounter with a famous computer scientist on sabbatical from a well-known US university. He was discussing exciting new developments in the field of computer science with a large group of students and how such developments would alter our future. He was articulate, passionate and quite convincing. I was hooked. I went straight from breakfast to the library, read four or five papers he had suggested, and left the library determined to study computer science. Friends, when I look back today at that pivotal meeting, I marvel at how one role model can alter for the better the future of a young student. This experience taught me that valuable advice can sometimes come from an unexpected source, and chance events can sometimes open new doors.

Read the entire speech in the July - September 2008  print edition of

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