The Nandy File Featured

8:00pm EDT September 25, 2009

Born: In a small town in a state in the eastern part of India, called Ranchi

Education: Bachelor’s degree in physics, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur; bachelor’s degree in electrical technology and electronics, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore; MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Nuclear physicist. That was my dream to be a nuclear physicist, and I did my first degree in physics. … It’s still my first love. My side reading, when I’m not reading management or technology, I still read quantum mechanics, what’s happening in physics, what are the unsolved problems ... because that still remains a huge interest for me.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The person who came for our convocation was one of the great constitutional lawyers of India, and his advice was, and he put it very nicely, there are two kinds of fools — one that gives advice and one that doesn’t listen to advice, so I will be the first kind of fool in hope that you are not the second kind of fool. And he said, ‘Never, no matter where in the world you are and what industry you’re in, draw circles around the accident in your birth.’ In other words, where you are born is an accident. There are good people, there are great people working all over the world in every religion, culture, skin color. Don’t draw circles. Don’t be parochial — don’t only look for people like you. Look for diversity in every aspect in order to excel.

He just said one sentence — ‘Don’t draw circles around the accident of your birth.’ That was the best advice I ever got from anyone. I love to work in multicultural things. I’ve worked in the U.S. for six years. I worked in Europe for four years. It’s a universal advice he gave, great advice.