Getting to know about some of India’s eminent business personalities

 Getting to know about some of India’s eminent business personalities

Sukriti Tankha

 The Pilani Pioneers by Gaurav Mandlecha and Durjai Sethi (Pan Macmillan) profiles 25 accomplished BITS Pilani graduates who have made great strides in the business arena all the while managing their personal lives deftly. Their tales of passion and perseverance tell us what all it takes achieve success in business.

Included in the book are Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Forge; Hari Menon, Co-founder and CEO of BigBasket; Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian at Tata Sons; Sunil Duggal, Dabur’s longest-serving CEO; Tulsi Mirchandaney, MD of Blue Dart Aviation; Nandini Chopra, MD at Alvarez & Marsal; Phanindra Sama, Co-founder of redBus among others.

The authors have also detailed the role the institution (BITS Pilani) played in making them what they are today. They also made the interviewees reminisce the time they spent at the institution (Back to BITS section), which in a way tells the story of BITS from the 1960s to the 2000s. The business leaders talking about their college memories, canteens, watching movies, stepping out for non-vegetarian food, and its now-famous lax attendance policy makes quite an interesting read. If you are a graduate from this institution, I am sure it will refresh your memories of the days spent there.

For those wanting to turn into entrepreneurs – be it in travel, technology, financial services, consumer products, retail, and energy – the book has a lot of lessons on the importance of hard work, adaptability, keeping an open mind, finding happiness and how to build a large business. There are many valuable insights on how business in India works and what it takes to rise up the ladder, which will be of great help to future business owners.

The book lacks in one aspect though – while some people, like Ajoy MIsra (former CEO of Tata Consumer Products) have been profiled in great details, there are others whose profiles are sketchy, which makes them look dull and drab. The authors should have taken care to give equal space and get out behind-the-scenes information from each participant. That would have made it more interesting. But one can excuse the authors for this since both of them are newbies – in their early 20s with just three years of professional experience.

All in all, if you are looking to find your niche and build a meaningful professional life, get hold of a copy. You surely won’t regret.


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