Perseverance — Nobody trips over mountains; the small pebbles cause us to stumble. If we pass all the pebbles in our path, we will find that we have crossed the mountain. Achievers do not give up and keep on trying.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Krishna C. Mukherjee, Engineer, Inventor, and Executive. Krishna C. Mukherjee is originally from India. In 1988, he was recruited by Microsoft from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kanpur to create architectures, and design and develop software products. He was completing his Master’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering at that time. He graduated at the top of his class at IIT Kanpur with a perfect GPA. Soon after that, he joined Microsoft at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, USA. He served as Principal Architect and Lead Software Engineer for Microsoft. He played a pivotal role in developing Microsoft’s famous products, including Office and Windows. He architected, designed and developed key features and technologies of the Microsoft products that we use every day. Over the years, his stellar contributions have helped Microsoft to emerge as a leader in the industry. Krishna C. Mukherjee is a pioneer of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation. In the early 1990s, he introduced AI technology at Microsoft. He oversaw the creation of AI-based features that have become an integral part of Microsoft products. Since then, he has worked extensively in creating AI-powered systems that are used today in an array of industries. Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mukherjee paved the way for performing business transactions online, on the cloud, with his unique Software as a Service (SaaS) model. He invented the Intelligent Filing Manager to automate complex workflows. He built compelling business cases and disrupted how enterprises operate. He revolutionized the SaaS space by creating the heavily used, award-winning applications: CTAdvantage.com, hCue.com, MediRegs.com, and LienSolutions.com. Mukherjee selected Windows servers to host these SaaS applications for Wolters Kluwer. Thus, he helped Microsoft to get established in the enterprise software market. As the Chief Information Officer, he transitioned Wolters Kluwer from paper-based to automated electronic processes. He enabled Wolters Kluwer to emerge as a global provider of information services.Since immigrating to America in 1988, Krishna C. Mukherjee has made it his mission to make our lives easier and more productive through his innovations. He has a wide range of achievements from popularizing personal computing to pioneering AI and automation to advancing financial and health care technologies to creating advanced payment services to implementing omnichannel retailing to creating innovative customer service solutions. His work has positively impacted many businesses and the lives of billions of people worldwide. He received many academic and professional awards for his outstanding accomplishments. His story helps to highlight the success story of an invaluable immigrant to the USA.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I hail from Kolkata, India. I received an excellent education in India. I learned from my parents and teachers. They taught me the meaning of hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice. They appreciated and nurtured my talents. They provided me with the inspiration to overcome obstacles and strive for the best. Their advice and blessings have remained a constant source of enlightenment in my endeavors.
Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US?
During my childhood years, I heard about the USA from my elders and relatives. Some of my best professors had studied in US universities. They told me about their experiences in the USA. I formed the impression that the USA is the world leader in science and technology. The USA appeared to me as the land of opportunities. In the back of my mind, I wished to come to the USA.
Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?
In 1988, I received my Master’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Kanpur. During my time there, I developed a keen interest in AI and Robotics. I wrote a thesis on AI. I researched and published papers at AI conferences. I received prestigious offers from highly reputed companies and universities. After some deliberation, I accepted Microsoft’s offer. Soon after completing graduation from IIT Kanpur, I started working for Microsoft at Redmond, Washington, USA.
A long time has gone by, but I remember the day when I arrived in the USA. Microsoft had arranged a warm welcome for me at the Sea-Tac airport in Seattle. My colleagues at Microsoft took me out for a sumptuous dinner that evening. They were friendly and brilliant. I got a great feeling on the first day of my arrival in the USA.
As days passed by, I learned that the culture and traditions here in the USA are quite different from what I was accustomed to in India. Fortunately, I was able to meet with wonderful people who helped me to adjust to the US culture and way of life.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped make the move more manageable?
I am grateful to Microsoft for making my move to the USA a pleasant experience. Microsoft took care of my relocation needs.
So how are things going today?
By the grace of God, things are going very well. I have been able to attain the goals that I set for myself early in my life. My family members, colleagues, and friends greatly appreciate my work. They are very proud of my achievements. They provide me with encouragement and support.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I leverage my success in different ways. I bring goodness by encouraging people of all religions and races to recognize our shared humanity. During my career, I have inspired many through my writings, talks, and presentation. I have undertaken major housing projects to provide shelter for the homeless. I participate in many charities.
My passion for technology is greatly known among my family members, colleagues, and friends. They often come to me with questions on how to solve difficult problems. I help them to the best of my capability. Thus, through my own work and through the people I associate with, I bring goodness to the world.
You have the first-hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you change to improve the system?
- Here in the USA, we value families. I would work to preserve the integrity of the family. I would put an end to family separation and ensure that children are not separated from their parents. I would work to protect the parents or sponsors of unaccompanied children so that the administration does not deport them while the children are going through immigration court proceedings.
- I would boost legal migration by giving people hope of regular migration. I would give them the opportunity to migrate pursuant to law. My objective would be to create more work visas for people in areas of the labor market where there currently are shortages — for example, in the elder-care sector. Because of my efforts, people would feel encouraged to enter the USA through regular migration avenues. My work would bring transparency to the immigration process and avoid the problem of bolstering organized crime. I would be able to create a win-win situation for the USA and its immigrants, just as I have done for organizations and their customers.
- Australia, Canada, and New Zealand use points-based systems to determine if someone qualifies to enter the country as a skilled worker. In Canada, for example, applicants earn points based on their language skills, education, work experience, age, adaptability and whether they have a job offer. Candidates, who score a high number of points, are invited to submit a visa application. I would introduce a similar merit-based category for obtaining permanent resident status in the USA. A certain number of permanent resident visas, or green cards, would be issued under this category every year.
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.
- Vision — Everything begins in the heart and mind. Achievers dream of the possibilities for themselves, their families and for others. I developed a vision for the future of technology at IIT Kanpur and specialized in AI and Robotics. Subsequently, I introduced AI technology at Microsoft, automated enterprise workflows and greatly improved the efficiency of business processes. I disrupted various industries by utilizing AI. Today, the world is at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. AI, Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality (VR) are changing the way we live and work. Cloud computing and SaaS have revolutionized the way software is delivered and maintained. My vision has been unwavering from a young age. Over time, it has become an overwhelming reality.
- Hard Work — There is no substitute for hard work. Achievers work hard to improve current skills and develop new ones. They are disciplined and focused. I have always gone the extra mile to build highly successful products and provide superior customer satisfaction.
- Perseverance — Nobody trips over mountains; the small pebbles cause us to stumble. If we pass all the pebbles in our path, we will find that we have crossed the mountain. Achievers do not give up and keep on trying. Over the years, from a school going child to a senior executive, I have overcome many challenges and hardships to accomplish my goals.
- Optimism — An optimist sees opportunity in every difficult situation. Achievers are optimistic. They are hopeful and bounce back from difficult situations. From a longer life to better performance at work, optimism has many benefits. I have been chosen to head large organizations because of my positive behavior. As a leader, I encourage others by showing hope, optimism, and generosity. I bring a feeling of well-being to my colleagues. I feel I am a source of attraction to the people around me, similar to what honey is to bees.
- Honesty — Honesty is the highest level of quality in human character. It is a true commitment between behaviors and relationships with other people. Achievers believe in honesty and its importance in living a prosperous life. I communicate truthfully, free from deceit and fraud. As a result, companies have experienced remarkable growth under my leadership.
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
- From my children, I can see that the younger generation in the USA is eager to build on the groundbreaking work done by the previous generations. Our young population wants to march forward.
- Education is very important for a country to grow. My children studied at the best universities. I feel the university education in the USA is of very high quality. Many international students aspire to study at these universities.
- The USA continues to remain the land of opportunities. I believe there are ample opportunities for everyone to succeed if they are prepared to deal with challenges.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
They can visit my website www.KrishnaCMukherjee.com to learn more about me. They can connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kcmukherjee. They can contact me by email at [email protected].
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
It was my pleasure! Thank you for interviewing me.