It’s not every day that one of the most influential business men in the world decides he wants to spend the day with you, but then not every business man is Dr. Ratan Tata. The Great Lakes Institute of Management was overjoyed to have Dr. Ratan Tata, who flew down all the way from Mumbai to our college exclusively to spend time with the students.
Accompanying him were Mr.Ramadorai and Mr.Mahalingam from TCS. Also present was most of the top board of TCS. I had the honour of escorting Dr.Tata from the airport to our college. The first thing one notices about the great man is the humbleness and warmth he displays. While numerous CEOs whom I have met shake hands with a certain sense of military detachment, Dr.Tata had the all important personal touch to the hand shake. He acknowledged the presence of everyone there, which included a small battalion from the Taj Coramandal who seemed fairly jealous that we were getting more air time than them. Off the grapevine, Dr.Tata visits them only one a year only for a few hours. So I guess we’re really lucky.
With the entire team, we proceed to the college. The two main events for the day, in terms of the official agenda were to inaugurate the Tecpro Faculty block and to bestow Mr.Ramadorai with the very first ‘Great Lakes Life Time Achievement Award’. But what the students were looking forward to was the interaction with Dr.Tata. Being the man he is, Dr.Tata made it very clear that he would speak for a few minutes and throw open the floor to questions. He very patiently answered the barrage of questions regarding the Tata group, leadership, career, the economy and many others. No question was treated with the normal diplomacy one would expect from a honcho at the level of Dr.Tata, but every student was given a frank and open response which left many students wanting for more time, despite the 45 minutes he spent only on Q&A.
Upon receiving the award from Great Lakes, Mr. Ramadorai spent a good amount of time giving the students insight into not only TCS but what the future held in store in terms of industry.
After spending some time with our faculty over lunch, Dr.Tata left by 3 PM to head back to Mumbai and to the hustle bustle of Tata House. From most of the updates on Facebook and Orkut, the entire affair had touched a lot of students who were over awed and overwhelmed by the personality that is Dr.Ratan Tata.