Narayana Murthy’s IIT dream

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Narayana Murthy at old Infosys campus in 1990s.

If Indian engineering students have taken job placements for granted, it is because of visionaries like Narayana Murthy. He is the Sultan of Indian IT but the journey was not as smooth as that of Tipu Sultan or other kings who were born in royal families.

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Young Narayana Murthy at IIMA 

Coming from a middle class family, like any other Indian, he had a dream of getting into IIT. He had managed to clear the IIT-JEE exams but his father could not afford hostel and tution fees, due to which he made up his mind and joined a local engineering college (NIE, Mysore). He said to himself “All students from the IITs study well and do big things in life. But it is not the institution, ultimately it is you and you alone who can change your life by hard work” and he went on to prove his statement!!

After Engineering, he received Master’s degree from IIT Kanpur. His first job was at IIM-A as systems engineer (He had 5 job offers including HMT, Air India, Telco after graduation but took up IIM-A which was the least paying because it was a challenging role with scope for practical experience).

He was initially a firm believer of communism but an interesting incident changed his life which led him to become a capitalist & an entrepreneur. During a foreign visit, for having talked against the Bulgarian govt with a co-passenger in train, NRN was jailed for 4 days without food but later released because he was from India (which was a friendly country to them). This changed his life, he gave up the idea of communism and decided to create jobs in India. Thats how the story of his entrepreneurship started.

Infosys was his second attempt as an entrepreneur. The first one being Softronics, which was targetted to domestic market. Since India was not mature for IT yet, it turned out to be a big flop. So he started InfoSys (yes, the S was capital) and the rest is history.

Here is an interesting 3 min clip from a BBC documentary showing Infosys, Indian IT in general and the impact on India.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6-2hIImXok

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