Sunder Pichai from the Beginning to Peak of Success

The story of Sundar Pichai is one of those that inspires people and gives them hope for a better future. Sundarajan Pichai, now known as Sundar Pichai is the present CEO of Microsoft and a Senior Technology Executive. He took over the role as the CEO of Microsoft on 10th August 2015 and has been the pride of our nation ever since.

From the Beginning

This magnate however, has a very humble beginning. He was born in Chennai (India) on 12th July 1972 to Ragunath Pichai and Lakshmi respectively. His father also worked in the technology sectors as he served as the senior Engineer in British company GEC or General electric company. Thus, the technology giant, spend initial years of his life in Ashok Nagar in Chennai. The spectacular track record of his studies is also one of the key reasons behind his success. He finished his 10th standard in Jawahar School at Ashok Nagar. Later on till his 12th he was part of VanaVani School at IIT Chennai. Afterwards his natural inclination towards technology pulled him towards pursuing engineering from IIT Kharagpur, where he graduated with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering. Even though he was advised by his teachers at IIT Kharagpur to do his Ph.D from Stanford University, Sundar Pichai completed his MS, followed by an MBA. He completed his Master of Science from Stanford in Material Sciences and Engineering. For his Master’s in Business Administration, he went to the reputed Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Management.


Pichai went on to work in the field of engineering and product management in Applied Materials after the completion of his studies. Later he switched to Mckinsey & Company to work as a Management Consultant. He started working at Google in the year 2004. Initially, Sundar Pichai, was given the responsibility of new idea generation in product development. This lead to him playing a key role in the development of various Google softwares including Google Chrome, Chrome OS and Google Drive. He even assisted in the application development of Google Maps and Google Chrome. He was the one to present Chrome OS on 19 Nov 2009. Later in 2011, Chrome book was launched by Google for research and development and in 2012 it was made available for public. The announcement for Google video codec VP8 and its open sourcing was given by Pichai which was presented in WebM.

Even though the information of Sundar Pichai being nominated for the post of CEO came out in 2014, it was not until 2015, that it was officially announced that he would replace Andy Robin as the CEO of Google. Larry Page, Google’s co-founder had decided as early as 24 October 2014 that Pichai would take up the responsibility after the completion of the project, Alphabet Inc. Sundar Pichai is liked by his colleagues who often say that he is the “man behind Google’s most important products”. His net worth as of the latest data is $1.2 Billion and he is a married man with two children. In addition to all this, he is also, an avid cricket fan, he is grounded, friendly and a helpful man.

Work Philosophy

Sundar Pichai, has an interesting work philosophy, which just might be one of the reasons for his enormous success. He doesn’t come across as an arrogant Silicon Valley CEO but as a friendly face with passion for technology. Pichai believes in being the nice guy who could strings a team together and get work done. He leadership style seems to be centered on the collaborative ability that he brings to the company. On his most recent visit to his Alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur. He explained his work philosophy to the students of the IIT. He said, “When you’re trying to run something at the scale of Google, we have now over 60,000 people and…you rely on other strong leaders. A lot of what I do is… I have an outstanding leadership team. It’s learning to let go and really empowering people at all levels of the organization, and trusting them to doing the right thing.

As a leader, a lot of your job is to make those people successful. It’s less about trying to be successful (yourself), and more about making sure you have good people and your work is to remove that barrier, remove roadblocks for them so that they can be successful in what they do. So that’s how I’ve always thought about it.

I also value teamwork quite a bit and I think it’s really important to build organizations where people really want to work together. Everything comes out of that. So, setting up collaborative cultures is another big thing I’ve been trying to focus on.”

He doesn’t just discuss his leadership style with students by also discusses useful life and work tips that budding entrepreneurs and potential CEO’s could use in their lives. His main message to the students of today was to “loosen up and have some fun”. He told the young crowd: “Academics is important but it is not as important as it’s made out to be,”

He further said, “I worked hard but we did have our share of fun as well.” Referring to the his times in the college when he was studying metallurgical engineering, when he stayed up late and slept occasionally through lectures, which might have even earned him a C on one of the courses. Another key advice that the CEO had to give the students was not to overthink anything and to not to let setbacks demotivate you. He said, “It’s a long road, setbacks actually don’t matter.”

Sunder Pichai’s Tips for the Youth

Thus, his tips for the youth of today can be compiled into five different learnings.

  • Perseverance

Sundar Pichai would not have reached the pinnacle of success if it wasn’t for perseverance. He worked in Google for 11 years and took some challenging decisions which boosted the company’s growth over time.

  • Simplicity

The CEO focuses on simplicity more than anything else. We can see various incidents of his simplicity, including the one in which a 7-year-old girl wrote in a request letter and he took out time from his busy schedule to write back to the girl, instead of ignoring her.

  • Facing Failures

He once said, “Wear your failure like a badge of honor.” This shows how much be believes in the idea of dealing with failures with optimism. He suggested to the students of his Alma mater as well, that they should never stop working for something that want, not matter how many times they fail.

  • Leadership

One of Sundar Pichai’s key values is: “To not only see your own success, but to focus on the success of others.” He keeps emphasizing that your success lies in how successfully you make people around you feel successful. The CEO does it all, he engages with the employees on a personal note and goes out of the way to support them.

  • Strategic Approach to Challenges

The CEO of Google, believes in staying ahead of the race by playing strategically. When Microsoft decided to make ‘Bing’ its default search, all saw it as a threat Google’s search engine chrome This is when Sundar Pichai stepped in and applied an innovative approach to retain Google’s customers by working on Google’s browser (Chrome) and successfully secured Google’s position in the search market share.

Sundar Pichai brings to life and shows the world what happens when passion and profession come together. He is what every youth of today wants to be. In his own word: “Be well-rounded, do different things, follow passions, take risks, get real-world experience and always value creativity. Setbacks don’t matter. Keep your dreams alive. How life plays up is entirely on you, and no one else can decide.”

Author: Andreena Sung