January 24, 2019

Episode 2 of India First Leadership Talk Series – Planning for Career


MVJ College of Engineering is a member of MHRD Innovation Incubation Council (MHRD-IIC). MHRD-IIC organised a live session on ‘Planning for Career’ by  Dr. Anand Deshpande, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Persistent Systems, at Seminar Hall 6, MVJ College of Engineering, Bengaluru. The session was held on 24th January, 2019, from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm.

The Episode 2 of the India First Leadership Talk was an interview of Dr. Anand Deshpande, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Persistent Systems, by Dr. Abhay Jere, Chief Information Officer, MHRD, Government of India.

98 faculty members attended the live session. Students were unavailable, as it was inter-semester break.

About the Interview
Dr. Anand Deshpande graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur – West Bengal, and did his PhD from Indiana University, USA. He was working at HP Labs, California, when the entrepreneur in him drew him back to India and start Persistent Systems in 1990. He was just 28 years old when he turned entrepreneur.

Persistent Systems was started at a time when the communication infrastructure in our country was poor, and governments were planning software export zones. So, Dr. Deshpande faced a lot of difficulties. But he was not frustrated, he forged ahead, persistently, to take his organization to the top.

Dr. Anand Deshpande has also set up a not-for-profit organization by name deAsara Foundation, to promote entrepreneurship.

Excerpts from the Interview
According to Dr. Anand Deshpande, to be an entrepreneur, one should have a problem, he should have the ability to solve the problem, and there should be buyers for the commercially viable solution.

The founder of Persistent Systems agreed that Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Block Chain are technical skills which are currently in demand in the industry. But he added that technology will keep changing, and an Engineering graduate is expected to keep pace with the changes. In the course of an engineering program, the undergraduate student is expected to pick up technical skills, communication skills and also develop the ability to learn new skills. Dr. Deshpande opined that initiatives like Smart India Hackathon would be useful for the students to showcase their skills in doing things on their own.

In Dr. Deshpande’s opinion, the millennials are different from the previous generations. They are interested in doing new things, have better ability to take risks, work during their chosen time, and still be loyal to their profession even if they take a sabbatical to acquire new skills.

While talking about careers, Dr. Anand referred to the book ‘Me Enterprise’ authored by Mr. Ashok Shah. According to this concept, an individual should consider himself as an enterprise, and his employer as the customer of ‘Me Enterprise’. So ‘Me Enterprise’ needs to be nurtured keeping in mind the requirements of the customer.

Dr. Anand Deshpande put forth a career plan for 40 years. According to him, during the first 10 years, a fresh graduate must focus on learning and networking with people; after 10 years, he must be an expert at some skill. 20 years into one’s career, one is expected to gauge what is the maximum he can achieve in his career and work towards that goal during the following 10 years, and during next 10 years, plan his retirement. As a general rule, at any stage of one’s career, one should never be doing something that someone 5 years junior to him can do.

On the issue of whether there is gender bias in careers, Dr. Deshpande felt that it was an individual’s choice, and that there was equal opportunity for all.

With regard to whether India is ready for Industry 4.0, the dignitary was of the opinion that we are a few years behind, but was optimistic that we would reach there soon. He explained the evolution of software 4.0: software 1.0 was software for PCs, while 2.0 was a client-server architecture, 3.0 was software for cloud, and software 4.0 involves writing software for multiple devices and calls for micro services architecture.

Mr. Deshpande said that he believed that the selection process should be a combination of hackathons along with the conventional hiring process. He surprised the listeners when he said that the best profession was that of a salesman!

Photographs of the Event

Outcome of the Event:
Participants gained insight about the requirements to be an entrepreneur. They also understood how the new generation of students are different. The concept of ‘Me Enterprise’ was understood. Participants also understood how to plan a career path. Novel concepts of Industry 4.0 and Software 4.0 were also appreciated.