Each of the five friends who believed in the IT dream and set up HCL in 1975 mapped their own successful paths; livemint caught up with Arjun Malhotra (1970 ECE, RP), one of the five who is now chairman, Headstrong. Read the complete interview at livemint. Here are some excerpts:
Arjun Malhotra, chairman and CEO of Headstrong, a global consultancy firm passed out from Kharagpur IIT, before joining DCM. In 1975, six friends Shiv Nadar, Ajai Chowdhury, D.S Puri, Subhash Arora, Yogesh Vaidya and Malhotra started Hindustan Computer Ltd (HCL). 23 years later he founded Techspan with funding from Goldman Sachs and Walden International. In 2003, Techspan merged with Headstrong and Malhotra led the seamless integration, resulting in Headstrong’s recognition as one of the fastest-growing IT-based Financial Services companies. Livemint met the U.S based Malhotra on his recent visit to India. Excerpts from a freewheeling interview:
When did you leave the company and why?
I wanted to be mentally free to pursue what I wanted to. When Internet came up and HCL was going through a reorganization, it was clear that they wanted to wait and watch which way it was going and then go behind it. From a company point of view this was good, but from a fund point of view it was no fun. It was like you are not to fool around with technology as it is evolving.
What are your plans for the future?
When I have the time, I would like to get into the education segment and focus on high school and the two years following that. But that is only if I have enough supply. Education today is a bigger business than IT and in the coming years, finishing schools will thrive if run and managed well. .
When we started NIIT the idea was to fill a need for good data entry operators with hands on training with quality education. NIIT is doing well today but they have not moved into regular education. Maybe public-private partnership here might be the answer.
If I have 50 defunct universities, I would attempt revitalizing them. This should be a priority, for there are a million people in Delhi alone who can be employed and if they are good, employers will not go to China and other countries to get the right people.