A Night of Celebrations: IIT Bombay Honours the Class of 2024

The iconic Convocation Hall at IIT Bombay was filled with excitement and nostalgia as the Institute Valedictory Function celebrated the remarkable achievements of the Class of 2024.

The event showcased a lineup of illustrious speakers, each sharing their unique insights and professional experiences.

Prof. Ravi Gudi, Dean ACR, opened the evening, expressing both joy and a touch of sadness at the evening’s festivities. “Congratulations on your graduation! What an incredible milestone moment this is in your lives,” he said, marking the bittersweet nature of the occasion as the Institute bid farewell to its graduates but also rejoiced in their promising lives and futures beyond the campus.

This was followed by Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri, the Director of the Institute, who reflected on the academic year’s significant milestones and offered his wisdom to the outgoing students. “We’ve nurtured you to be innovators and leaders, ready to face and solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Carry forward this legacy of excellence with confidence. We believe in your potential to create positive change, leading with integrity and courage wherever you go. Your hard work and dedication have gotten you to this moment today and, undoubtedly, you will build on this foundation and achieve and inspire wherever life takes you. And this is not a goodbye! This is…until we meet again!” he remarked, guiding the graduates embarking on their next journey.

Welcoming Alumni Back to Campus

Every year, the Institute has the privilege of inviting distinguished alumni and leading industry experts to speak at the Institute Valedictory Function. This year, the Institute welcomed Mr. Rajesh Jain (B.Tech., Electrical Engineering, 1988), the founder of Netcore Cloud, as one of the Guests of Honour. Mr. Jain is celebrated for his pioneering contributions to technology and entrepreneurship in India, and his presence was eagerly anticipated by all in attendance.

During his address, Mr. Jain urged graduates to channel their energies toward meaningful innovations. He advised, “Don’t do a startup because it is fashionable, because others are doing it or you have developed some cool tech. Fall in love with the problem, not the solution, focus on the customer pain points you are going to solve, go out, talk to them, understand their lives; this should be the only criteria that guide you.”

He also shared insights into his own entrepreneurial journey, revealing, “Just when the internet was gaining prominence in the US, even before commercial internet was launched in India, I sensed this was a disruptive opportunity. The old ways would give way to new ones, and industries would be reset. The problem I focused on came from my lived experience in the US—how to get information on India to Indians. I was the first to launch an India portal. I failed 30-plus times, and when failures happen, it is the idea that fails, not you.”

Following Mr. Jain’s inspirational address, Ms. Abha Maheshwari (B.Tech., Electrical Engineering, 2000) and the CEO of Allen Digital, took the stage to share her remarkable journey from an IIT student to a trailblazer in the digital commerce sector. Her speech offered a glimpse into the dynamic opportunities awaiting the graduates in the ever-evolving digital realm.

Addressing the graduates, Ms. Maheshwari acknowledged the unforeseen challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which dramatically altered their expected campus experience. She remarked, “After spending 2-2½ years of gruelling prep for what is arguably the toughest exam in the world to find yourself placed in the best Institute in India only to realize that you were not going to be able to experience that campus life. I just want to say that this is your first lesson in resilience, you all came out of it stronger, and better, and you are all sitting here as proud graduates.”

Continuing, Ms. Maheshwari highlighted the progress in gender diversity at the Institute compared to her own student days, “Allow me to take you 25 years ago when I sat in the same seat. There were much fewer women back then. I am pleasantly surprised and happy to see so many women now. I was the only woman in my electrical engineering class (4-year EE), so it is really heartening to see what I see here today.”

Her speech not only praised the graduates’ ability to adapt and thrive despite significant obstacles but also celebrated the important strides towards inclusivity and diversity within the academic community.

Engagement and Recognition

In addition to the inspiring talks, Prof. Gudi highlighted the ongoing efforts in alumni engagement and the pivotal role played by alumni in shaping the Institute’s future.

Then, a representative from the graduating class of 2024 took to the stage, encapsulating the collective journey and resilience of their batch. The speaker highlighted the numerous challenges undergrads faced and humorously labelled their experiences as a “SERIAL DISASTER.” He detailed the transition from “pixels to people” and how, despite setbacks like the pandemic and stressful placement seasons, the class forged unbreakable bonds.

Reflecting on these trials, the student quipped, “We commiserated over bad internet connections and Professor Prita Pant’s campus reboot updates. Remember when showing resource constraints was a popular side hustle for everyone? Personally, after channelling my inner Devdas to create the most convincing sob story known to man, I finally got approval to come to campus only to realize that I beat the rest of my batch by 8 days because, let’s face it, KUCH BHI HO JAAYE ENDSEMS TO ONLINE HI DENE HAIN!”

This speech not only served as a poignant goodbye to IIT Bombay but also celebrated the enduring spirit and camaraderie of the class of 2024.

Arpan Adak, a student from the Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management and the Postgraduate Nominee in the Institute Sports Council, and the PG Representative expressed his deep appreciation for his time at the Institute, which was marked by significant learning and unforgettable moments. An emotional Adak acknowledged the end of a cherished chapter in his life. “The opportunity to immerse myself in campus life, with its long walks and midnight revelries, may not present itself again. I’ll always miss those late-night canteen munching, yet catching up on morning lectures, punctuated by breaks at Kresit for a chai and a samosa pao, or perhaps a filter coffee at Café 92. I think we’ve all shared these experiences, and we will collectively miss them,” said Adak, highlighting the unique and shared experiences that his and his fellow postgrads’ time at the Institute.

His words resonated with the graduating class, encapsulating the mixed feelings of leaving behind a place that had become a second home.

Cultural Showcases and Closing Festivities

The formal speeches were followed by performances by graduating students, showcasing the diverse talents that flourish on campus.

The event concluded with Prof. Doola’s Vote of Thanks, followed by a dinner under the stars at Kshitij and Gulmohar Lawns.

This informal gathering provided a perfect setting for graduates to connect with alumni and faculty, bridging generations in celebration of their shared heritage and prospects.

The Valedictory Function was not just a celebration but a memorable commencement of new beginnings for the Class of 2024, leaving the graduates with a spirit of camaraderie and inspiration to light up their paths forward.

Congratulations and all the very best to the Class of 2024!