Leadership in Modern Entrepreneurship

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By Anirudh Suresh

HOUSTON: In January of 2015, the YLDP Class of 2015 had the opportunity to learn about leadership in business from Dr. Arun Pasrija, an experienced entrepreneur whose work has been centered on the founding and executive-level management of companies in the global telecommunications industry. Dr. Pasrija’s message to the YLDP youth incorporated his wide range of experiences in entrepreneurship as well as his insightful advice regarding education, persistence, and prudence in the context of business.

By describing the risks he took during his life, Dr. Pasrija conveyed that sensible, high-reward risks, as opposed to haphazard gambles, are the key to achieving greater success in the modern world. For instance, Dr. Pasrija discussed his decision to serve as the expatriate country manager of India for Lucent Technologies Power Division. In this job, he helped to develop a joint venture to spur on telecommunication technology in India. Despite the lower job security this post provided him, Dr. Pasrija showed that it allowed him to cultivate his passion for building something from scratch.

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Similarly, Dr. Pasrija shed light upon a critical life skill and trait of successful enterprisers: perseverance. For example, Dr. Pasrija’s presentation involved the statistic that although over 80% of first-time startups fail, the majority of entrepreneurs return to the industry with better knowledge and experience. Thus, Dr. Pasrija impressed upon the students the idea that truly successful leaders not only achieve triumph but also overcome past failures by learning and improving from their experiences.

Moreover, Dr. Pasrija emphasized that an effective social or business leader must be built upon a proper education. Dr. Pasrija stressed that the U.S. has one of the best higher education systems in the world and that a pursuit for a leadership role in one’s career must begin with the fundamentals of a good education. Yet what fascinated me most about Dr. Pasrija’s presentation was his argument that education alone is not sufficient for effective leadership, especially in entrepreneurship. Specifically, Dr. Pasrija contended that a true leader must also be able to work with others in a courteous and efficient manner. Hence, through a combination of education, personal experiences, and social and leadership skills, Dr. Pasrija indicated, one can establish a culture of leadership.