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Classmates remember Satya Nadella as 'humble', 'ever willing to help'

February 04, 2014 20:28 IST

Classmates remember Satya Nadella as 'humble', 'ever willing to help'

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Vicky Nanjappa

Vicky Nanjappa speaks to the new Microsoft CEO's classmates in Manipal and Hyderabad to discover an inquisitive student who still attends the school reunion. 

Satyanarayana (Satya) Nadella has finally been named to succeed Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO. 

Another stratospheric rise for a professional of Indian origin that those who knew him in his growing up years in Hyderabad and Mangalore will be proud of.
 
Though, back in 1988, there was little to suggest that the boy with student registration number 8419218 at the Manipal Institute of Technology would reach such dizzying heights and come to head one of the biggest companies in the world.

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Image: Satya Nadella


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Classmates remember Satya Nadella as 'humble', 'ever willing to help'

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A batch mate from the 1998 class of Manipal Institute of Technology in Manipal. recalls that Satya was a friendly person but adds that there was nothing really spectacular about him that would indicate that he would reach such a position.
 
“He has worked hard for this. In college I would not say that he was a brilliant student. He passed out with a first class. He was not much into sports either. He was not part of the college team,” says Sunil Shetty
 
Shetty says it’s been some time since any of his batch mates met or spoke with Nadella.

“We thought that he would be present at the get-together we had between December 21 and 24, 2013. He did not turn up, probably because he was extremely busy.”
 
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Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft

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Classmates remember Satya Nadella as 'humble', 'ever willing to help'

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Ramdas Pai, chancellor of Manipal University, says it is “a very proud moment for all of us. One of our students has made it so big and that is surely something that we all cherish from the bottom of our hearts.”
 
Harishchandra Hebbar, Nadella’s digital electronics teacher at MIT, remembers him as a good listener and someone who asked a lot of questions.
 
“This was a good trait since he always wanted doubts to be clarified. I am proud of him and the news has made me very happy,” Hebbar says.

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Image: Senior Microsoft executives Tami Reller (left), Amy Hood, Satya Nadella and Qi Lu participate in a One Microsoft Town Hall event.
Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft

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Classmates remember Satya Nadella as 'humble', 'ever willing to help'

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Nadella’s classmates from the class of 1984 at the Hyderabad Public School remember him as a humble person.

They say they have seen his father several times and even interacted with him, and that his hard-working nature has been inherited from his father.
 
Nadella’s father, incidentally, is the eminent bureaucrat B N Yugandhar who was special secretary to the prime minister (1995-97) and a member of the Planning Commission, among several other high-profile administrative positions.

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Image: A class group photograph of Satya Nadella (6th from left, 4th row).


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Classmates remember Satya Nadella as 'humble', 'ever willing to help'

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Nadella Sr politely turned down requests for an interview about his son. “Let us speak after a few weeks. I cannot speak about him right now,” he said.
 
There is no such reticence on the part of the Hyderabad Public School, which is bursting with pride over its star alumnus. Nadella was present for the 90th anniversary celebrations of the school in November 2013 and spoke at the event, recounting fond memories of his school days.
 
Faiz Khan, one of the directors of the school, recalls that when Nadella had last visited the school in November 2013 he had brought along a team from Microsoft.
 
“He told us that they would come up with a better search engine. It would be even better than Google.
 
“He is extremely fond of his school and never misses a chance to come here each time he is invited. What we appreciate most about him is that he continues to stay in touch and we can confidently say that success has not affected him one bit,” Khan says.

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Image: Hyderabad Public School.


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Vijay Sarathy, a classmate, remembers Nadella as friendly and extremely helpful.  Another friend, Chandrasekhar, says that he was a bright student and a helpful classmate with whom no one had any issues.
 
Sathya Nadella seems to have kept a low profile despite his extremely successful career. Neighbours at Sagar Society in the very upmarket Banjara Hills locality in Hyderabad, where he has a house, don’t even know what he looks like.

His name started doing the rounds only after it was splashed across the news dailies over the past few days over his likely elevation at Microsoft.
 
“We know his father very well. All we know about Satya is that he works in the United States of America with Microsoft. None of us really knew that he had made it so big. This is a lot to do with the fact that his father has always maintained a low profile and did not tom-tom his son’s achievements,” says a neighbour, who did not wish to be named.


Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft

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