Leadership, Technology and Life Lessons from Rajeev Suri3 min read
Manipal: Rajeev Suri, CEO, Nokia and alumnus of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) took part in an interaction session with the students of Manipal – ‘In Conversation with Mr.Rajeev Suri’, here at the MIT Quadrangle on Saturday. He also unveiled the new logo of MIT, marking its diamond jubilee anniversary.
The one hour session was a blend of Suri’s insights into leadership, technology and his college life in Manipal. The 49 year old didn’t hold back to share his views as he answered the students’ questions in his professional manner with wit and a sense of humor.
Laying emphasis on leadership skills, Suri shared his mantra with the students revealing that he honed his leadership skills by experience. “Every time I feel I am getting stale or into a comfort zone where things are too easy, I needed a change. I would take myself out of my comfort zone, change my role, and change my country so that I can learn more. Every time you move your county or job you are putting yourself in a very uncomfortable situation. Every time you are not in your comfort zone, you learn the most. Your back is against the wall and there is pressure on you. That’s how I learnt leadership”, he remarked.
He didn’t fail to recall his small scale activities in Manipal and add how they had helped him grow as a professional. One of them was his stint as a founder member of a private mess called Sheetal. “Being the mess secretary, managing the menu and making decisions with the cook were leadership lessons. To make decisions that fall within the budget, that’s what you do in a large company, at a bigger scale”, he quipped.
The UN broadband commission was another area he touched upon where he discussed the role of technology in the betterment of living standards. The UN has 17 sustainable development goals and Suri is one of the broadband commissioners. Most of these goals, may it be eliminating poverty, more education, better healthcare, and all these things in some way shape a form linked to technology. He said that every time broadband penetration grows in a country it leads to higher GDP growth, better education and better health care. “If you follow the mobile industry we are moving to the fifth generation of technology. 5g technology will enable driver less cars, remote connected critical healthcare, industrial internet and it will give back one precious resource back to consumers like us which is time; more time for more productivity, more efficiency and to do the things we like”, he added.
Suri, who was a part of the 1989 Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) batch at MIT found his revisit to Manipal to be an emotional and nostalgic one. He also shared a few of his best memories in Manipal, one being his 8 hour bike ride with 15 other friends to Jog falls despite a heavy downpour. Though the fog at high altitude deprived them of a view of the falls, Suri remembers the trip as a beautiful, memorable experience. Yet again, he connected his personal experience to learning professional values as he cited the trip as an example for choosing ‘conviction and courage over clarity’.
The session ended with his message for the students where he asked them to follow a longer but a safe and fair route which is better for the human kind. “Be a lifelong learner. Commit yourself to be so curious that you want to be a lifelong learner”, he added.
Suri was honored with a doctorate by Manipal University at the convocation that took place later that day at KMC Greens. He was also the chief guest on the second day of the 23rd Convocation on November 20.
Edited by Prajwal Bhat