Serendipity is Real : But you have to make it happen | Alumni Talks

Narayan Murthy once said, “If anybody cares for the institute the most, it is its alumni”. This was very clearly visible when Mr. Abhinav Sinha and Mr. Arnav Kumar visited their Alma mater, IIT Kharagpur. In the very first version of Alumni Talks (2017–18), we were graced with the presence of our two very notable alumni. Mr. Abhinav Sinha who, apart from being a KGPian, is also a Harvard Business School graduate. He has worked in companies like ITC and Boston Consulting Group and now is the COO of OYO and Mr. Arnav Kumar who is AVP in SAIF Partners, a VC Firm. He worked for Deutsche bank after graduation and also founded two start ups. Clearly, both the speakers are very successful in their own fields with immense experience.

Mr. Abhinav Sinha (left) and Mr. Arnav Kumar (right)

Abhinav’s speech was full of wisdom. He took us on a tour through the journey of his life. He told the audience about the major decisions he took in his life and the consequences he faced. Through this journey, he taught us many important lessons that we could instill in our lives to have a successful career. All successful personalities have reached the top with patience and perseverance. One would wonder how Abhinav, being so young, has so much experience. It is gained from a long and arduous journey full of mistakes and the lessons learnt from them.

Abhinav’s corporate journey started from a small town Bihar, Munger. He fondly remembers that place and how his teammates would always complain about being posted in a village rather than a major city. The effortless way of his saying gave us a very subtle quality of his, seeing the positive side of everything. Staying bright and doing his work what got him out of Munger first among his teammates. Being an alumnus of a technical institute didn’t give him much of an experience on the consumer front. Even after going to Harvard Business School he spent most of his time in MIT where he opened a start up. He learnt a lot about business from that start up before closing it down eight months down the line. To learn more and more about the consumer and what he thinks he did numerous consumer based projects in Boston Consulting Group. Slowly and steadily he was gathering as much experience as he could to understand the consumer so that he can lead a company one day.

Benjamin Gupta Auditorium, IIT Kharagpur

After the swift passage of four years, Abhinav realized that he had to do justice to his MBA education in Harvard. India was waiting for him with open arms and immense opportunities in 2014.

“Elections were round the corner and I joined BJP that year after coming back to India.” ~ Abhinav Sinha

Start ups always fascinated him and one day he met Ritesh, CEO of OYO who was just 19 then. Abhinav’s years of experience probably instantly understood the potential of the company in the fast changing world of technology and e-business. Today after becoming the COO of OYO he looks back and shares with us a very valuable lesson on how to make it big in the real world. Sitting on a chair without doing anything won’t ever give a monstrous idea in your head which would make you a global figure. You have to be out there talking to people interacting with them and trying to convince the world of your capabilities.

Audience in Ben Gupta Auditorium
“There is no free lunch. Unless and until one is hard working and dedicated he cannot make it big.” ~Abhinav Sinha

Mr. Arnav Kumar is a very jolly and dynamic person. The one biggest lesson he put across was that Serendipity is real. You just need to make it happen. A very similar thing was said by Abhinav as well. The harder one works, the luckier he gets. He explained a successful career with the help of a very simple Venn Diagram.

“The diagram had three components, What you are good at, What you like and What the world values. The intersection of the first two components gives a person a decently successful career. But it is the intersection of all the components which leaves the biggest footprints on the world.” 
~ Arnav Kumar

This intersection is what makes an idea a monstrous idea. Arnav has experience of two start ups and now he is AVP in a VC company. This experience has given him the analytical mind to know which ideas are the best and can really make it big.

One point he stressed repeatedly was the willingness to take risks and to think out of the box. On one side experience has many positive aspects. But it also has the big disadvantage of caution. Youngsters are always willing to take risks and think out of the box. But as one gets older, he becomes more and more cautious. Becoming cautious is not very good for getting monstrous idea. He valued the advantage of young age very much. He reiterated what Abhinav said — Go out there and make it happen. Nothing can happen unless one talks to more and more seniors, alumni and people in general.

Mr. Arnav Kumar (on the left) and Mr. Abhinav Sinha (on the right)

The first version of Alumni Talks (2017–18) conducted by Students’ Alumni Cell was a huge success and the audience was immensely inspired by the guests. The message all the students took back home was that for us to be global leaders, we will need to be the type of person a global leader is. We have to network more and more by reaching out to more people. Possibility of encountering failures is 100%. But if we don’t fail how will we ever learn?