Connecting Opportunity with Passion

Nitin Nohria: My advice to people is to be open-minded about where the opportunity is, but find opportunities that connect with your passions.

As an undergraduate I attended IAT Bombay, which was a very, very competitive school to get into.  It was a place in which 100,000 people would write the entrance exam and a few thousand were admitted.  In my graduating class from IAT Bombay, two-thirds of my graduating class found opportunities in America. 


I had the opportunity recently to go back for my 25th reunion from IAT Bombay.  And I asked the question, "How many people from last year’s graduating class went to the United States?" Less than a quarter of the students were trying to now seek opportunities to come to the United States.  Many more people were finding opportunities in India as what was being offered vy great American companies. Great Indian companies were now competing for this talent and giving people opportunities to grow and prosper.  

That to me is a sign of the changing opportunity structure of the world.  And I think that people need to ask themselves this question: where do you see the best opportunity for you?  And to recognize that today, the opportunity structure of the world is a lot more diverse and is much more fluid than it ever used to be.  

I don’t think people should ever go to a place about which they don’t have a passion.  They should not just chase opportunity.  They should chase opportunity where they have a passion.  And for me, one of the most exciting things that’s happening about this new global century is that it creates many, many more possibilities for people to find places where they have an opportunity and a passion.  I think the reason why so many of my IAT graduates from more recent years are staying in India is because they’re passionate about the development of their country and can now find opportunity there.  

In the same way I think that these opportunities would be available to people in many, many other ways.  So my advice to people is to be open-minded about where the opportunity is, but find opportunities that connect with your passions.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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