Verghese Kurien as soon as derided graduates of prestigious IIM, Ahmedabad as ‘shampoo salesmen’, calling their profession pursuits “a colossal waste of expertise”, mentioned Naukri.com founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani, recalling how the person thought to be the architect of India’s ‘white revolution’ modified his world view.
At a convocation speech at IIM-A greater than three a long time again, Kurien was “downright impolite, condescending, sarcastic, caustic and insulting” as he taunted graduates.
In a Twitter submit, Bikhchandani in contrast the influence of two speeches made throughout his time at IIM-A greater than three a long time in the past—one by the then SAIL chairman V Krishnamurthy at his commencement convocation and the opposite by Kurien a 12 months earlier than that.
Whereas the primary speech was rapidly forgotten, Kurien’s, which he had listened to from a distance, remained with him for many years.
Kurien’s candid and blunt tone, which taunted the graduating class, challenged their behaviour and influenced their decision-making.
“He opened by congratulating the graduating class. He then mentioned that this isn’t the Indian Institute of Administration. That is the Indian Institute of Administration for Shampoo Salesmen. And that your entire graduating class might now stay up for a life the place they spend their time promoting cleaning soap and shampoo,” he wrote in a Twitter submit.
He derided college students for simply eager to work for multinational companies “peddling their wares to Indian customers.”
“Such a colossal waste of expertise he known as it,” Bikchandani, who stop a job with GlaxoSmithKline to arrange Information Edge that owns portals for job search (naukri.com), matrimony (jeevasathi.com); actual property (99acres.com) and training (shiksha.com), mentioned.
Bikchandani, who additionally owns stakes in on-line meals supply outfit Zomato and insurance coverage market policybazaar.com, recalled his personal convocation ceremony at IIM-A and the one held previous to his passing out that challenged and provoked the viewers.
The batch of 1989 “produced essentially the most variety of entrepreneurs within the historical past of IIM-A.”
“Typically heat fuzzy convocation speeches do not make a long-lasting influence,” he wrote, including Kurien was “in your face. Blunt. Calling a spade a spade.”
By the tip of his 30-minute speech, “Our ears had been burning”, he mentioned.
However that speech did have its impact and a number of the pass-outs of that 12 months did one thing completely different.
“He was not well mannered. He was downright impolite. He was condescending. He was sarcastic. He was caustic. He was insulting. He spoke a couple of dwelling truths to the graduating class. He taunted us,” he wrote on Kurien.
And all through his speech, Kurien repeatedly used the time period “shampoo salesmen” derisively to explain the graduates of IIM-A.
“He challenged us to do one thing extra significant with our lives and attempt to make a distinction,” he wrote. “However then he lamented that his phrases had been going to fall on deaf ears and that we might take the safer possibility.”