Kolkata, April 6: Pepsico boss Indra Nooyi on Saturday urged the outgoing batch of the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIM-C) to use their skills and insights to tackle India's "interconnected" and "global" challenges.
Nooyi, herself an IIM-C alumnus, gave a few pointers to graduating students at the 50th annual convocation at the institute's campus in Joka, on the outskirts of Kolkata. Nooyi stressed the "complex challenges" that India faces were interconnected and global, and require solutions, leadership and expansive thinking.
"We still face complex challenges like inequality, climate change, and resource scarcity that demand solutions and leadership. Making these challenges even more complex is the fact that they are all interconnected. You cannot dive into one issue without touching another," she said in her address.
"At the same time, no issue can be contained within a particular country. Most issues you will deal with are global. You will have to learn how to take off your blinders, think expansively, and realise that you are part of a global ecosystem," she said.
She highlighted the "critical" role of students as "problem-solvers". "It is critical that you take this responsibility seriously, because you are the problem-solvers and leaders we need, to overcome our world's most serious challenges."
In addition to "making a lasting impact", "learning for life", giving back to community and appreciating the role of parents, Nooyi stressed giving back to India. "Finally, at this pivotal moment in the history of your country, you must give back to India.
You are graduating with the skills and insights India needs to unleash its massive economic potential. You have the knowledge and the vision to identify new and unconventional solutions to old policy problems that stifle development," she said.
"You can be the force that moves India to capitalise on centuries of potential and take its rightful place as a leader among nations." Reminiscing how India was during her days at IIM-C, she observed that "in the last 40 years, the landscape has changed entirely".
However, she said India still has a long way to go. "You can leave the world a brighter, better place. I say this, not just because it's a convocation speech and my job is to inspire you with grand pronouncements about your potential. But because, as much progress as India and the world have made over the last four decades, we still have a long way to go," she said.