4 October 2020

Engineering batch virtual meet

Saw most of my classmates from IIT-Chennai Computer Science – 85-89 batch – together (albeit virtually) for the first time after 1989. I never had a chance to go for any of the college reunions. Of the twenty odd classmates that showed up today – we missed only a couple here and there and one who we unfortunately lost at too early an age – I have met less than one third of them in my travels. Need to fix that once travel starts back up again.

Thru the call, I learnt about how life has unfolded for all of them. Remarkably, everyone seems to have done so well. One thing I did not realize is how many of them have chosen to stay in the academics area. Unlike me, most of them came to this country after school to pursue higher degrees in Computer Science. Many have proceeded to become professors in renowned colleges like U.VA, Penn State, Carnegie Melon, Georgia Tech and so on.

Of the ones that went the corporate route, what struck me is how most of them went to the big names – I heard Google, Microsoft mentioned many times and then Facebook and Amazon. My guess is these large companies have very different scales of computational issues that attract top talent like my classmates.

And finally there were a couple of entrepreneurs too!

A distinct pattern I noticed is that folks who were into music have kept up with their passion. Did not quite catch if those who were into sports have kept up with the same.

One big difference from my MBA schoolmates (coincidentally, one of the above friends and I went to IIM-Ahmedabad to do MBA right after school) is the geographical dispersion. Most of my IIT friends are in the USA – with a few in India and a couple shuttling between USA and India. Only one is in the UK. Contrast that to my MBA friends – most are in India or South East Asia – especially Singapore and Hong Kong – and other financial hubs like London and Dubai. And only a very small proportion are in the USA.

Good news is that we did not discuss anything about Computer Science – I would have been out of my depths in about a nanosecond!! We talked about our families and personal and professional lives.

I say this with all honesty – it is fairly humbling to realize that I actually went to the same classes as these folks. I know – to a fair degree, what I am good at and I know – to a large degree what I am not good at. Which is why I am still in disbelief that I managed to spend four hours with these luminaries…

Posted October 4, 2020 by Rajib Roy in category "Intersection Points

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