Talking about his love for Hyderabad and his school, Satya Nadella, says, "I am still deeply connected to Hyderabad. Both my wife and I went to Hyderabad Public School (HPS). Our parents live in the city and we visit them every year.
"There were many influences on me while growing up. In the late seventies and early eighties when I was growing up in Hyderabad, it was a bit more laid-back and that gave me time to think about things differently without perhaps being caught up in the narrow approach to one’s journey through life.
"Perhaps more than anything, I think playing cricket for HPS taught me more about working in teams and leadership that has stayed with me throughout my career. There was this one particular incident in a match where my school captain noticed I was bowling some really ordinary stuff. He took over the next over himself, got our team the much-needed breakthrough and then threw the ball back to me in the next over! I will never forget that. What made him do that? Is this what they call leadership? These are the kind of questions I have since reflected on as I approach many of the things I do today leading teams."
Schools like St Stephens, Delhi, or The Doon School, Dehradun, have always flaunted the uncanny ability of its institutions, to nurture some of the biggest names in sports, music, public life, business and entrepreneurship. Joining the bandwagon of such illustrious schools is the Hyderabad Public School (HPS), Begumpet. And who else can make the school more proud than Satya Nadella?
Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft, succeeding Steve Ballmer. He is a proud Eagle (alumni of HPS are called Eagles), from the 1984 batch.
His wife Anupama Nadella, is also an alumnus of the same school.
His parents BN Yugandhar and Prabhavati live in Sagar Society, Banjara Hills.
As the news goes around, the city is euphoric. The ambience at the HPS testifies the mood.
RS Khatri, current principal of the school is evidently proud of Satya. He said, “It is a proud feeling for the school and as a principal, the pride and happiness is doubled. I met Satya when he had come for the launch of iSpark. He was down-to-earth, articulate and also witty. I am very happy for them and proud as well.”
Faiz Khan, general secretary and treasurer of the HPS Society and another member of the alumni batch of 1984, has been in touch with Nadella, ever since he moved to the US to bag an MS degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Milawaukee and after that an MBA from the University of the Chicago Booth School of Business. As a result, he played a key role in persuading Nadella to reconnect with him in 2009 for a reunion and for the launch of iSpark. "It was very good to bring him to the school and talk to our students who have been deeply inspired not just by his achievements but also by his modest and humble ways. He also supported our school by helping launch Microsoft's iSpark robotics programme at the HPS in 2009," said Khan.
He also vistited the school in 2013 on its 90th anniversary.
Faiz Khan also recalled about Nadella and said he was a very sober, simple and down to earth boy since his childhood. “He joined HPS in middle school. He was soft spoken. He took apart in sports and other activities as well. He was well-dressed. He was very focused about his life. He was good at academics. Teachers liked him. He is the same since then.”
G Jayanand, Satya Nadella’s science teacher and also former principal, said, “My heart is filled with joy. My boys are doing great in their lives and respective fields. Satyanarayana Nadella, my sweet little boy from 1984 batch is the gem of a person since his childhood. He was a wonderful boy, cheerful, well-behaved, sincere, and willing to do anything and was extremely good at both academics and sports. He was very affectionate. I was his house-master, biology teacher and moral science teacher.”
“I was sure Satya would make ‘Microsoft’ into ‘Megasoft’. He is doing extremely well in his career. God bless him more and more,” said Jayanand.
YV Krishna Rao, retired teacher of HPS said, “I was his organic chemistry teacher. He was a very honest and a hardworking boy. We were closely related. We shared a cordial relationship. In fact, we were like a family. My happiness is beyond words. It is every teacher’s dream to see their students shine bright in life. And Satya as made me proud every day.”
The real Eagles
Hyderabad-based entrepreneur Shaaz Mehmood, joint secretary of the HPS Alumni Association and one of the younger members of the alumni who passed from the school a decade ago, is part of the team that is active in connecting the current students with their alumni. "We have many prominent alumni members who are in leadership roles in government and we also have senior corporate leaders such as Prem Watsa and Satya Nadella. Last December, the HPS celebrated 90 years through many big events and we hope that such efforts would help our alumni to reconnect with their alma mater and give back to it," said Mehmood. HPS is given a tick for its unprecedented ability to produce exceptional students. The list of these alumni is quite stunning, which includes the present Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Kiran Kumar Reddy. The HPS has produced a lot of great people. When asked the Principal on how HPS is striving to produce CM to CEO’s, he smiled and said, “There is only one answer to it. We have a holistic approach towards education and upbringing of the students. We groom them in a way that they pass out as a good and productive human being. We give them freedom, liberty and space which helps them explore and learn.”
Asaduddin Owaisi, MP (Hyderabad), President of AIMIM: A foundation of good education and good background is essential for any individual. I feel really fortunate to be a part of the esteemed school. And I owe a profound to my teacher for all that they have taught me. All of them were great.
K Hari Prasad, CEO, central region, of Apollo Hospitals: "It's not just academics; the school gave us freedom of thought in every way. Students are at liberty to focus on sports and other activities as well.”
Harsha Bhogle, "The school did a lot to shape up kids. It gave plenty of room to hone your talent, be it in cricket or chemistry. In fact, students (like me) would often go to school seven days a week as they just loved it. The school offered everything — from great teachers to great sports facilities."
G Vivekanand, "we had to wake up at 5.45 am — and the freedom of thought and expression that the young minds had that made the HPS culture special.”`
CV Anand, Commissioner, alumnus of HPS said, “It’s a pleasure to see another eagle fly so high. Microsoft is bigger than many countries and a man from our school is the CEO now. I am more than happy. The open space in our school made us think openly. We all have lateral thinking. It was a school which focused more on quality than quantity.”
"Satya Nadella spoke about the importance of the technology back-end at schools in India (when he visited a year and a half ago) and students at HPS were very inspired by their interaction with Nadella," recalls Marri Adithya Reddy, secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee.
Alumni of Hyderabad Public School
1. Kiran Kumar Reddy, chief minister, Andhra Pradesh
2. C V Anand, Commissioner of police, Cyberabad
3. Shantanu Narayen, Chief Executive Officer, Adobe Systems
4. Sridhar Tayur, Ford Distinguished Research Chair and Professor of Operations Management at Carnegie Mellon University; founder, SmartOps and OrganJet
5. Akbaruddin Owaisi, MLA (Chandrayangutta, Hyderabad) - Leader of AIMIM in Legislative Assembly, AP
6. Asaduddin Owaisi, MP(Hyderabad), President of AIMIM
7. Asher Noria, Commonwealth silver medallist in shooting
8. Harsha Bhogle, journalist and cricket commentator
9. Akkineni Nagarjuna, actor
10. K Hari Prasad, CEO, Apollo Hospitals
11. Ramendra Kumar, writer
12. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Member of Parliament, President YSR Congress
13. Srivatsa C Kowsika, Health Care Professional in United States and Notable Indian Movie Critic
14. Talat Aziz, Ghazal singer
15. Prem Watsa, Chairman, CEO, Fairfax Financial Holdings, Canada
16. Yarlagadda Sumanth Kumar, actor
17. Marri Adithya Reddy, Member, HPS Society, Member of Management Committee and Board of Governors, HPS Schools Secretary, AP Congress Committee.
18. Syed Akbaruddin Official Spokesperson Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India
19. Rana Daggubati, actor
20. Ram Charan Tej, actor
21. Karan Bilimoria, Baron Bilimoria, Chairman, Cobra Beer
22. Bapi Raju Kanumuri, Member of Parliament (Narasapuram), Lok Sabha
23. G Vivekandn, Member of Parliament (Peddapalli, Karimnagar Dist, AP), Lok Sabha
24. D Venkatesh, Telugu Actor
25. Pallam Raju, Minister of Human Resource Development, M.P.(Kakinada), Lok Sabha
26. Venkatapathy Raju, HPS, Ramanthapur, cricketer, played for Hyderabad and India
27. Ajay Kumar, Lok Sabha MP from Jamshedpur, Retd. IPS Officer, Trained Doctor
28. Jaideep Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, Indraprasta Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi