Dr. Wadhwani addressed the Diamond Jubilee convocation of IIT Bombay after receiving the Doctor of Science degree (Honoris Causa) in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. Other dignitaries included Hon’ble HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra Shri C. Vidyasagar Rao and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis.
The degree was in recognition of Dr. Romesh Wadhwani’s outstanding contributions as a technologist and a business leader, and for his efforts in creating social impact through innovative uses of technology which enriched a large no. of lives across India and many other countries.
Dr. Romesh Wadhwani said, “Never be the victim, never blame destiny, never give up and always be resilient. An important lesson I have learnt is the importance of being bold. Most people are willing to settle with mediocracy because great achievement requires great effort and often great sacrifice. But we are not most people; we are IIT graduates. If we are not bold and if we don’t dream the big dreams that will transform India, our families and us, then who will? When I was trying becoming bold, I knew that I have to do it without being foolish, and I knew that for every big dream, I needed to have a plan. So, at Carnegie Mellon University, I took the riskiest Ph.D. topic, and then I worked night and day, and I was extremely fortunate that I was able to get my Ph.D. in less than two years. I started my first company without any business experience, contacts or capital in Pittsburgh and I had to call on 125 venture capitalists; all of them rejected me except for the last one who gave me a paltry hundred thousand dollars. However, I was able to get my first company started. When I built my first two technology companies in Pittsburgh, there were mediocrities, so I decided to be bold and moved to Silicon Valley with my family and start all over again by trying to compete with the best”.
He further added, “When I built that company, and it turned out to be successful, I then decided I should do even something bolder, and build a group of companies. Fortunately, I was able to build Symphony Technology Group (STG) to a level of about two and a half billion dollars a year. We live in exciting times, be bold and seize the moment. Be an entrepreneur and a bold leader who will drive the next big initiative in healthcare or infrastructure or technology or anything that you are passionate about. The most important lesson I have learnt is the value of being generous. I have been privileged beyond belief, between the deep love that my family gives me, and the great education and self-confidence that I gained at IIT Bombay. You are similarly privileged and have an obligation to give back and be generous. True generosity is about changing the lives of others, particularly people we don’t know and possibly the people we don’t like. We have to help in any way possible; I chose an approach of creating a Foundation to focus on accelerating job creation in India and 30 other countries, but every person can have, his or her own dream, in terms of how to be generous. The main thing is don’t hold back; you can be a mentor, you can be a volunteer, you can have your own philanthropy, it all matters; be generous. Now you are about to start, the next phase of your journey, we are all proud of you, India is proud of you. But as you progress in this journey, live your life such that many years from now, when you look back, you will be able to say, that you were resilient, you were bold, you were generous, you achieved your biggest dreams, and you left a lasting impact on India and the world”.