One could say that the FLY program itself is an example of a group of people who took initiative, persevered in the pursuit of innovative problem solving to address the issue of how to inculcate the 5 pillars of competitiveness mindset.
It was the winter of 2017, Uday Nadkarni’s family and mine had met for dinner. He mentioned that he had met a gentleman named Harsh Bhargava, who had discussed a study that his company Bankworld Inc., a management company in the USA had conducted with IIT Gandhinagar. The focus of the study was to identify what makes up a competitive mindset and how India stacks up in comparison to other BRICS nations. Details of this study can be found elsewhere on this website.
Uday asked me if I had believed that an educational program could be designed to effectively inculcate and foster the practice of those attributes that the survey had identified as key in developing a competitive mindset. I confidently replied that it could be done. Another month passed by and I put this conversation out of my mind thinking that it had been a hypothetical question. In February 2018, Uday invited me to meet Harsh Bhargava and we discussed the same “hypothetical” again. And I realized that it was not a hypothetical.
We determined that we would developing an educational program aimed at inculcating conscientiousness, perseverance, innovativeness, and the ability to take initiative, and solve problems.
Then began the process of designing and developing the program. We invited Drs. Amrish Garg and Aruna Bhargava, and Erik Dauwen to join us in our endeavor. We met week after week for several hours, worked and reworked the sessions that many of you have now experienced. It was not until several weeks into the design process that we named the program FLY – Finding the leader in You. The countless hours were a labor of love. We delivered our very first FLY program at IIT Gandhinagar to about 140 students in August 2018. It was very well received and worth every minute that we had spent developing that first course.
Fast forward to today, more than 1000 participants later, the program has sessions tailored to professionals in academia and the corporate world in addition to those for college students. And we continue to work on making the program stronger and more relevant.
To me personally, working with the team in the US has made me think deeply and practice the 5 pillars in my daily life. The team has become ‘family’ and we are bound together by our passionate belief that youth in India have tremendous potential and India can be a powerhouse on the international stage. This is our opportunity to play a small part in helping to make this happen.