Alumni Interviews

Interviewing the Pantomath – Sujeet Kumar (Part 1)

It is 02:00 pm and Member of the Parliament (MP) and Social Entrepreneur, Shri. Sujeet Kumar has still got his hands full of various duties owing to his unique multi-disciplinary profession, however, he has carved out 30 minutes off his tight schedule to allow the Team Vission to pick his brain on several subjects, kicking off with the four years he spent in the University College of Engineering, Burla.

 “Well, I was in UCE, Burla. In those times, it was called the UCE. From 1993-1998, I had to spend an extra year because of my ill-health. Those days have been very influential to who I am today. A couple of things which stand out are the great friends that I made. Some of the friends in UCE have become friends for life. These have stood the test of time. Normally, when we go to the professional world, the friendships are not as deeper and meaningful as they were in the college or maybe schooldays. And particularly not only I studied with them, I literally lived with them 24×7 and these turned out to be immensely powerful relationships I have made over the years.”

“And particularly not only I studied with them, I literally lived with them 24×7 and these turned out to be immensely powerful relationships I have made over the years.”

“The second thing I learned is the skill of Time-management and which I believe is a very, particularly important skill for everyone to sharpen. I had a great time in my college days largely because I was able to manage my time very well. I could not pursue many hobbies and interests; however, I was involved in a lot many activities beyond the academics’ curriculum which helped me subsequently in learning many valuable life lessons.”

“And finally, I would also like to say that over the time in college you also begin to realise that soft skills and interpersonal skills (if not more) are equally important as the technical skills. I wouldn’t say I learned all these skills at UCE (or VSSUT) but, it definitely laid the foundation for many learnings.”


When someone continues to strive further, often, he/she comes across various challenges and that is how it works in the walk of Life. You adapt, you change, and you grow. Sujeet Sir, after graduating from UCE, completed one more bachelor’s degree from India- Bachelor of law from Sambalpur University. He worked in corporate sectors for few years before shifting his focus to the Government and Development sectors. Along with the unique and wide experiences in three different fields he achieved many milestones along the way while he continued to contribute to the society and representing Odisha in the Parliament.

“Definition of Success. (chuckles), I do not think there is any specific definition of success. It means differently to different people. It is ambiguous to each of us. If you are talking about professional success, it obviously changes with every experience you gain. In college, getting a job is a success and eventually, it’s definition shifts to having a good bank balance, buying a decent flat. It keeps on changing. After a certain point, you realise something important that lies beyond materialistic success. I guess I have never been fascinated by corporate success. Early in my career, I quit my corporate job in Infosys. I started my career there and after a few years, I left them at the peak of the IT boon in early 2002, because I found my personality more attuned to public life. One must be happy in whatever he does. If you do what you love to do, then success will eventually follow.”

“There is this good movie ‘3 Idiots’, which I am quite sure almost everyone must have watched. It says and I quote “Do not run after success. Run after excellence. Success will eventually follow”. If you strive for excellence, success will eventually follow and not only in the materialistic sense but also in a spiritual sense as well. Once you reach a certain point, you will realise that good health is success in itself.”

“One final thing I would like to suggest is to be brutally honest with yourself. This is essential.”

“Sometimes one is compelled by societal pressure, parental pressure or perhaps peer pressure to do things which may not be fulfilling to you and you eventually realise that, that is not what you are meant for and hence you need to decide whether you would continue doing this for the rest of your life which you are totally not happy with or would you like to live the life of your dreams.”

“One final thing I would like to suggest is to be brutally honest with yourself. This is essential.”


“Again, just as the previous question, it’s a subjective topic and may vary from one individual to another. However, I would like to put up my opinions on the matter. How I perceive a true leader is based on a few attributes.”

“First and foremost, would be humility. A great leader should be humble. It’s a quality rarely seen in today’s hypercompetitive world.”

“Second one would be service. when you hire clients, so gain so many opportunities to help those who are lesser privileged. We are incredibly lucky and fortunate for having a decent education and a decent amount of success. I think it’s time to give back to society and when I said ‘we’, that involves the students as well. Right now, the students lack the resources. They may lack enough bank balance or may not have enough money to write checks for Foundations or charitable organisation. But they can devote certain hours to teach the slum kids and keeping the environment clean. There are millions of ways we can give back to society and to the lesser privileged.”

One must have the abilities to stand up for one’s belief, one must have the courage to take the lesser travelled road. It is extremely tempting to fall for the comfort zone but that is not what a leader is all about. A true leader must have to have the courage to push beyond the comfort zone, even at the risk of failure or even at the risk of being humiliated.

“Now the third and most important is Courage. There cannot be a leader without courage and convictions. One must have the abilities to stand up for one’s belief, one must have the courage to take the lesser travelled road. It is extremely tempting to fall for the comfort zone but that is not what a leader is all about. A true leader must have to have the courage to push beyond the comfort zone, even at the risk of failure or even at the risk of being humiliated. Look at Gandhi. He was neither physically strong nor was any stand out as a great personality in a traditional sense. Yet, he fought against the mighty British empire and now he is one of the greatest powerful leaders of all time. So, what drove him to push beyond his comfort zones? It was courage and conviction. A strong belief to do the right thing and a sign of courage to stand upon it.”


“Well, I have already mentioned about the services. Which is giving back to the lesser privileged”, says Sujeet Sir. “I would also like to mention Time management skills. Again, I am stressing, this is a crucial skill to focus upon. There is a great book ‘The last lecture’ by Prof. late Randy Pausch in which he reconceptualised the idea of Time Management. Unfortunately, he died young in the year 2008, however, or you can find his videos on YouTube and I would strongly urge the readers to go through his upbeat lecture ‘The last lecture: Achieving your childhood dream’ which I believe is a great piece of influential work”.

“One other thing I find very essential is a good mentor. I suggest everyone should have one. A good mentor will always guide you through the right path. He/she will be your guidepost. You can have more than one but again, it’s very rare to find such a good mentor. So, I would rather stick with one. And make sure to find someone other than your family members. Of course, your mom and dad are your mentors. But they will always be with you. However, it is essential to have a mentor other than your family, who can be influential not only in your personal life but also in your professional life.”

“At third comes multi-disciplinary learning. It is a great skill. You know, in today’s world, it does not suffice to learn just coding to fit in the IT companies. I would urge all the readers to learn about history, philosophy, legal arts, literature and many more. The jobs are not going to be the same. The world we are living in is not going to be the same. So why not develop these learning skills now.”

“And finally, lifelong learning. The urge to learn throughout the life”. with a fat smile he says, “I know some students study just for the exams and after one or maybe two years later, they would be done for life. However, you see, it does not work that way. One must be curious in order to move forward because the boundary between the jobs are getting blurred. so, learning is the cornerstone in every walk of life. Well, that was quite a long answer, huh”.

“And finally, the lifelong learning. The urge to learn throughout the life”.

2nd Part Coming Soon.

Interviewed by – Chandrashekhar Tandia

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Chandrasekhar Tandia

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