CHENNAI: You have been given all the tools and knowledge. Now, don’t fritter it all away, warned Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group Ratan Tata in his special address to the graduating batch of the Great Lakes Institute of Management.
Addressing hundreds of the college’s students, Tata made no bones about the fact that education, while all important, only provided the tools, “The greatest value that my parents gave me was a good education. Don’t fritter it away,” he said, going on to tell them what would be expected of them, now that they had passed into the real world.
“Your real learning starts now, the tools, experience and exposure have been given to you, but what you make of it in life is what you do after you graduate. There will be thousands of occasions when you have to make difficult decisions and you have to ask yourself whether you are taking the right one, however, difficult or unpopular that may be,” he said.
The key would be to remember that they were one of the few fortunate enough to be handed these skills. “There are millions who are less fortunate. Don’t ever forget that because you need to look at your life as one where you can make a difference,” he said. The rest of Tata’s interaction with the students revolved around one single factor — making a difference; even while speaking of his decision to helm the Tata Group in his own way. “I had to fill some very big shoes when I took over and those were shoes I couldn’t possibly have filled appropriately. So I decided to just be myself. So be yourself — that and the desire to make a difference, to be ethical and fair will define you,” he advised. “If you make your choices to be popular or conformist, they will never see you do the things we now see happening around us,” he said.
Tata also warned students to consider whether every decision they would take would stand the test of public scrutiny.