Experiencing IIM Kolkata – Talking to PGPX students

Yesterday, 29th August 2015, I had an opportunity to be a guest lecturer at IIM Kolkata, one of the most prestigious management institute of global repute. Invited by Professor Sanjiv D Vaidya to talk to 2016 batch of PGPX batch, I was all excited to go there once again after a gap of couple of years. When I visited last, it was for campus selection where I spoke to students about my company, way back in 2012. This time, students were there to listen to me and understand from me the story of my success. It was a big responsibility on me to share the best things I had, in the given 90 minutes.


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A night before I sat thinking on what can be the best input I should give to these students. PGPX course in IIM is focused on those students who opt for management course after few years of work experience. Each of them take a leap of faith and risk a significant amount of money on the table that comes in form of the opportunity loss due to their job break for the course and a hefty fee that institute charges for their one year course. It is just not about getting another high paying job but looking at opening the doors for their careers that had not been open for them yet that leads them to the corporate board room eventually.

My experience with most of these students had been significant as my company hired many of them through campus selection from various IIMs. One thing I found missing in them was the basic change in their attitude. Probably the education they got from the institute did little to change their basic attitude but just added to their knowledge on how corporations work by going through case studies and a lot of rigour. Most of them continued to struggle to show signs that would help them elevate themselves to higher levels as it is not the education and the degree, but the basic principles in life that they should have imbibed first.

I thought of taking my time to share those basic principles what made me successful and what I felt would help them become successful too. Going back on these principles I shared with them how they can be successful by knowing that success is not instant, it is only a progressive realization of a worthy idea and a worthy idea is something that they have to be passionate about. I shared with them my experience of meetings with successful people and my realization that each of them was passionate about the work they did and eventually excelled in whatever they did. I took time to explain to them that following six principles in professional life would do them wonders. Networking, being positive, managing negatives in life, believing their inner voice, being mentally and physically healthy and being ethical were the key discussion points and how I adopted each of these principles in my own life to see success.

Students asked me several questions ranging from my brush with my own failures, bad times to how did I find time to write my latest novel ‘Spy from Unaula’. I shared that it was ultimately focused discipline and sustained working towards the goals I set in my professional and personal life that my success rate became higher than others.

I finished my talk by telling them the genesis of my novel being the true story of my own father. They all were highly appreciative when they learned that myself, son of a farmer’s son who had to struggle hard for getting even a basic education and dignity in his life could become a CEO and that they all have capability and qualities become someone better.

It was a great interaction and I look forward to share my experiences and help the young generations become successful.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by IndiasGreatest.com ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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2 Responses

  1. Vijay Shirke says:


    Excellent insight. The Six principles of life has surely a great value and one can use these for being a successful person in Life. Proud to be a part of your mentor ship for so many years. These learning would help me in each step of my corporate and social life. Thank you once again for all the rich experience your had and still sharing.



  2. Gaurav Sharma says:

    Very inspiring story sir. Combination of attitude and hard work makes a person successful in life.

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