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Past Issue • Jul-Sep 2014

Educating for Social Transformation

Educating for Social Transformation

The Indian School of Business (ISB) recently hosted eminent business leader and philanthropist, Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro Ltd as the Chief Guest at the Graduation Day at the School’s Hyderabad campus. Savita Mahajan, Deputy Dean, ISB spoke to Azim Premji about his Foundation and other institutions that are involved in working at building a better, equitable and just society. Edited excerpts from the interview. Savita Mahajan: I thought I will start by taking you 30 or 35 years back. How did you choose to get into the IT business when it was not really heard of? Azim Premji: I think it was fashionable to diversify in those days. We also took advantage of an early opportunity that we were presented with. IBM had to withdraw operations from India as a result of the ruling brought in by the then Union Minister for Industries, George Fernandes. The company’s exit from the country created an enormous opportunity, since IBM enjoyed a dominant market share. We were looking for a business which would be technology focused, with the opportunity to create annuity revenues and which would also have high service content. Information technology at that stage, even with an entry point of hardware provided this ideal opportunity. Subsequently, we set up operations with a strong leadership team, who were more geared and oriented towards business rather than technical aspects.

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