Mr Partha Sen, an IIT Roorkee alumnus, completed his Majors in Computer Science and Minors in Mathematics from IITR in the year 1990. Right after college he worked with TATA Consultancy Services before joining the Bank of America. He entered the world of entrepreneurship after founding Fuzzy Logix in 2007. For a period of about 12 years from 1995 to 2007, Mr.Sen has pursued this passion as a hobby and developed about 100 algorithms and over 700 quantitative models. These algorithms and models are the basis for the solutions being implemented by Fuzzy Logix today Recently he visited IITR, offering internships and placement offers for the students. We got an opportunity to talk to him about his return, future plans and life, in-general. In conversation with Mr. Sen:
###How does it feel to be back here?
Great! I am taken aback by the lush greenery and cleanliness of the campus. A lot of new things have come up in the campus. The greatest establishment would be the MGM library and various hostels for the students and the teachers. It felt good to see the new placement office and the Department for Management Studies. The thing that I found quite remarkable was that even the soothing environment of the college is intact.
###Tell us something about the placement process and your plans.
Well, we are here to offer jobs and internships. The applicants for the internships will be selected now while those for jobs have been shortlisted and will be further reviewed in another visit planned in December. I am glad to say that the quality of students which have applied is outstanding. Regarding our plans, we will also be recruiting from IIT Kanpur this year. We had a meeting with the Director of IITR and we promised our co-operation for the propagation of Data Science as a subject in the college. We have opened our doors for internships and even guest lectures, if there’s a need.
###How do you compare the students from IITs and other foreign institutes?
We have been recruiting from US, of course and I feel that what sets the students of IITs apart is the willingness to learn, the motivation and dedication. As a matter of fact this holds true for all the good institutions in India. I am not saying the students abroad lack this but the peculiar ‘fire in the belly’ is fundamental to a student in IIT. There are also a few shortcomings when we talk of a student in India. Firstly, the level of independent and free thinking is below the mark and this is the sphere where the Americans get an edge. Secondly, a certain mediocrity exists in presentation of oneself. If you are working in a firm you must be able to speak reasonably fluent English irrespective of your background. This particular quality is prerequisite for working in a global economy.
###What was the glitch in the process because of which placement for your firm was not carried out in this college the previous year?
You people weren’t responsive. There are alumni of this institute who are at the top benches in a number of firms. If proper relations are maintained then not only such sort of malfunctions can be avoided but also many job opportunities can be ensured to the graduates of this institute. Alumni relations needs to be strengthened by keeping record of all the alumni in a directory. Even getting in touch with them via phone and mail or exchanging greetings on festivals can help in the maintenance of good relations! The next year would mark the silver jubilee of the batch of 1990 and I don’t see any work being done by the alumni relations cell to mark that event. You ought to use such an event to demonstrate the institute’s accomplishments to the alumni who are placed at a very suitable position in their companies. The alumni would hence realise the need and worth of the students and might actually consider helping the students. Relations can never be one sided. If you want to have good alumni relations you need to put in a great deal of effort.
###Quitting the Bank of America for your entrepreneurial pursuit would have been a difficult decision to make? Can you describe your journey?
The decision wasn’t tough because it had been decided ever since I left college. The reason it took it so long to come up is that I wasn’t from a very rich family and had to accumulate some wealth to come up with a business of my own. Today young entrepreneurs can secure venture capital and get investors interested. But back then the public sector and PSUs were booming and with these kinds of projects, investors were a hard fish to catch. Entrepreneurship is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires a great deal of sacrifice and never keeps up to its promises of glory. To understand the journey, assume that that you take a test and you sore 97. You are happy to score high but then the teacher offers to give you a 100 under the condition that you have to work another 80 hours and you shall be awarded half a mark and then you will have to work for another 160 hours to score the next half mark. If you are thinking of turning that offer down, don’t be an entrepreneur!
###Do you think it was easy to be an entrepreneur in America than it would have been if you were in India?
Most definitely. The social stigma prevalent here in India prevents you to open an enterprise. Also, people are hesitant to work in startups while the condition is quite different on the other side of the globe. This is an environment India should cultivate. Would you like to give a message to the young entrepreneurs of this institute? My message to them would be that you have a dream then you should not give up. Firms like Azim Premji Foundation and TATA Venture Capital provides funding to the business ideas. Hence, if you have good ideas and a sincere attitude, you have plenty of chances to rise up. So, just seize the day! Most importantly the companies today invest not in idea but in the man. You have to prove that you have the substance to achieve what you set out to achieve.
###Would you like to give a message to the young entrepreneurs of this institute?
My message to them would be that you have a dream then you should not give up. Firms like Azim Premji Foundation and TATA Venture Capital provides funding to the business ideas. Hence, if you have good ideas and a sincere attitude, you have plenty of chances to rise up. So, just seize the day! Most importantly the companies today invest not in idea but in the man. You have to prove that you have the substance to achieve what you set out to achieve.