Q. The biggest challenge you faced in your career
A. I started an IT firm called Mastech (now iGate) in the 1980s. The first two-three years had been so difficult that we were about to shut it down three or four times. I was almost certain that we would not survive. But thanks to the hard work everyone had put in (we had a tiny team then) and the good luck we had, we were able to pull through and started growing.
(iGATE went public in the US and Capgemini acquired it for $4 billion.)
Q. Your best teacher in business
A. The people from whom I have learnt the most are very often not in business but in the social sector. They are the people who want to make a difference, want to help others who are less fortunate, and I find that inspiring. We have many such people in India. The one I would like to mention here is Kailash Satyarthi. He was shot at and his wife was threatened because he is trying to stop exploitation of children.
Q. Key management lessons for young people
A. I can say it in just nine words. Aim really high; work really hard; believe in yourself. It will ensure success in whatever field you are working, be it a business or the social sector or learning the piano.
Q. Two essential qualities a leader must have
A. Again, quite simple - empathy and an inspiring vision. And as I said before, believe in yourself.