Indra Nooyi’s Message to Indian Students

Nooyi points out that, over the years Indian students are known for their hard work and success, but sometimes youngsters are getting addicted to drugs and other dangerous stuff…writes Shelja Pallath

Indra Nooyi, former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, has delivered a poignant message to young Indian students aspiring to study in the United States, urging them to prioritize safety, academic success, and mental well-being. Nooyi urged young Indian students who have aspirations to come to US not indulge in drugs or excessive drinking. The video that includes some pieces of advices for the Indian students in diaspora was shared in Twitter by the Consulate General of India in New York.

Nooyi, one among the most powerful and influential business executives arrived in the US around 45 years ago to pursue her dreams and aspirations as she mentions in the video. She is the first woman, first immigrant and first person of colour to run a fortune 50 company. In the 10 minutes video, she commends US as multicultural nation with welcoming nature and environment, that made many well-known Indian American to make contributions to both India and USA with their positions and achievements.

At the same time, she emphasizes to be very judicious about the selection of universities and opportunities. She strongly suggested to engage with the university support system in order to assure the available resources. To her, there is no guarantee in getting a job for a lifetime security, despite making hefty investments in education. Nooyi in the video clearly says students should accept the ‘cultural sea change’ that happens especially in the initial phase while making friends and new habits.

Nooyi points out that, over the years Indian students are known for their hard work and success, but sometimes youngsters are getting addicted to drugs and other dangerous stuff. Many of the students from abroad are not aware of the rules and regulations of the host country. There are many boundaries to foreign students in the US. Nooyi highlights concerns about substance abuse and unawareness of host country regulations.

She gives alert on money mules and social networking scams. Scammers constantly looking for people and taking their money off. They used to call on phones by asking personal details to cheat others. ‘It’s very important to stay connected with the group of people or friends around you’. Even when we go out in the late nights, ensure that you are along with a trustful team, she adds.

“It’s up to you to make sure you do what it takes to remain safe…stay within the law, do not venture out into dark places alone at night, do not engage in drugs or excessive drinking please. All of these are just formulae for disaster,” she said.

Furthermore, Nooyi asks students to be careful of their mental health as the educational system of United States is so rigorous and there are chances to have anxiety and to be stressed. By keep in touch with families and buddies that stress in the fast-paced lifestyle is easily addressable. She advised students to prioritize mental health by staying connected with loved ones and embracing activities like travel and exercise. The foremost thing for Indian students in the US is to upskill themselves by acquiring knowledge.  Nooyi prompts students to go back to India, if possible, to make contributions to their homeland rather than confining their career and ambitions solely to US.

Acknowledging the prevalent challenges faced by Indian students abroad as a parting message, Nooyi extends her wishes to all the students to be safe and successful in the future with the help of the strong educational and other support systems around them.

Students’ missing and tragic death cases in US happens frequently that remind people about the challenges to study and get placed abroad. The recent death of Purdue University student Neel Acharya has put the focus back on the security and safety of Indian and Indian-origin students in US universities. Nooyi’s advice is really ideal for the Indian students to prioritize their safety and mental health while pursuing educational opportunities abroad.

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