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From IBM to Linux Classes

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Jagjit Phull, a computer engineer by education and an entrepreneur by profession tells us what it takes to break the regular mould and go on the path less travelled.

When you are a computer engineer with a job at an illustrious multinational company, you’d be considered crazy if you even mention the idea of starting from scratch. But this is exactly what successful entrepreneurs like Jagjit Phull do. A graduate from Bharathi Vidyapeeth (1992-1996), Mr. Phull worked with D-link (Manufacturing electronic goods) for two years.  That was topped by General Electronics (GE) where he learned about the six sigma concept.  His next job at IBM, according to him, was by far one of the best learning grounds any engineer could ask for.

So what made him switch to his personal project of Linux Classes? He says, “It was the lack of a challenge”. Both technical as well as financial growth should go hand in hand for complete job satisfaction, but that did not happen. “There came a point when there was financial growth but technically it was not challenging enough and I was not enjoying it”, he recalls. The appraisals for the IT sector were no talking point either. One can soon get complacent and in no time, growth stops and you get the pink slip. “One should keep jumping, and continually find new stimulus.  So, I decided to jump to what I liked most – ‘LINUX’.

Every challenge comes with its fair share of difficulties but Mr. Phull seemed confident in his ability to weather any storm. The project started with only a small group of students and  involved training them in labs. Being a computer engineer he would connect the routers and switches himself. Marketing and advertising costs were curtailed as he did not believe in wasting resources. “We don’t even pass pamphlets, so we save trees too”, he adds jokingly. Clearly the only thing the project relies on is the robust word of mouth publicity they enjoy.

Although he was lucky enough to float by easily, Mr. Phull is unhappy with the lack of openness of our education system today. “Our current education system doesn’t encourage entrepreneurship. Parents only care about grades and what the society thinks. Students today lack emotional and spiritual intellect”. Mr. Phull believes there are four pillars of education: intellectual, physical, spiritual and emotional. He staunchly advocates that today’s generation should go back to the gurukul way of learning rather than blindly emulating the Harvard way.

Finally, he ends with a Sanskrit shlok ‘sa vidya yeh ya vimukta’ which means ‘education liberates’.  “LINUX made a difference to my life and I want to give back to society and contribute to making India better.” I wish more and more truly educated students develop the courage of building their own stepping stones towards entrepreneurial success.

Interview by: Malleswari Bhupathi (PGDM 2012-14)

Edited by: Manjiri Durge (PGDM 2012-14)

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