[This is a career advice to young engineers and those studying Engineering in Nepal]
As an Engineer you have one choice now:
“Either make your own dreams come true or you will be hired to make someone else’s dream come true.”
If you chose to make your dreams come true, do continue below:
Engineers have to become Entrepreneurs for Nepal
Why so? Because Entrepreneurs see opportunity in a problem. It could be any type of problem that we see in our everyday lives. Impure food, lack of electricity and petroleum, transportation, healthcare and many others. Problems that we experience, read of and hear in any area could become an entrepreneurial opportunity.
Problems can come in various flavors – the product – too expensive, scarce, difficult to use, slow etc. Nepalese outside urban centers do not have easy access to doctors. In Nepal, we suffer from long hours of power cuts in the winter months. Food is getting very expensive in the cities. We want the world’s best healthcare in Nepal, but may not have access to it, or afford it.
The harder this problem becomes, the better the opportunity for someone who can solve it. If you are an engineer, know how to create a device that can generate wind power then, you can manufacture and sell that for cheap, this is a great opportunity here. Not many people can create this device, and once you are in customers’ homes, you can continue providing superior service and build a great business.
The larger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. A problem may only be for one person, or for many. If it is for one person, it – a one-time service and not a business opportunity. But if many people have the same problem, then it is a big entrepreneurial opportunity. For example, we all want to live in a well made house. However, we have serious building quality problems in earthquake prone Kathmandu now. This is a great business with a huge market as everyone can benefit from your excellent standards. If you can solve Kathmandu’s haphazard construction industry, with your business, you could be a billionaire. Plus, you would give service to millions and be thanked for the service you give.
Let us take examples of some famous entrepreneurs who were engineers, who have looked at a problem as an opportunity, built great businesses and changed the world and our lives.
In the 1970s , people did not have computers in their homes like we do today. You had to go to a large mainframe computer center and make a request to have your work be done. There may have been one or a few large mainframes in our region and your task may have taken a long time. Businesses such as cheap international calling, which depend on fast and cheap computers, were not around. It was hard and very expensive to make an international call. If your family member went overseas, you may have only spoken once every few months. Today, we are in a connected society in which we use Cisco, Intel, Google, Apple, Skype, Facebook and other technologies to stay connected in real-time.
In Nepal, look at how Bijay Rajbhandari and fellow engineers have transformed CE constructions into a quality brand known for its quality and timely delivery of its projects or how Rudra Pandey developed IT healthcare software company, D2Hawkeye and sold it for millions of dollars to Verisk in USA.
So I hope that you engineers start seeing an opportunity in the problems that we see everyday in our lives and start solving it (instead of waiting for Pashupatinath to come and fix it for us).
Entrepreneurial Engineers have to become bridge-builders of Nepal
Did you know, Nepali engineers were actively involved in building the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world in Dubai? Did you know that Nepali engineers are developing the next generational (rumor has it that they are air-conditioned) World cup stadiums in Qatar for 2022. I know many bright Nepalese working in Apple and Google. Yet, Nepal these days regularly begs for money to renovate its old temples or build bridges/roads/IT infrastructures from foreigners. We have rarely have built any engineering marvels (or any) since Bhimsen Thapa built the Dharahara. Ask yourself why?
This is because we Nepali have chosen to become individually excellent, but collectively as a nation remained a failure. As an engineer, I urge you rise up to move beyond becoming individually excellent to build an environment for an excellent nation. To build such a nation, we have to rise up and beyond to bring the nation builders together. Will you become this “bridge” between nation builders ?
Certainly I am not talking about a plain bridge (made on roads or rivers). I am talking about a man or a woman who builds and safeguards a bridge (platform/environment) that will connect Nepal of today to the “nation builders” of tomorrow. As a bridge builder your role is simply to consistently and persistently align all the positives in Nepal, in the same direction, so that the negative will become irrelevant.
I believe, ‘bridge builders’ are the real leaders of Nepal. Bridge-builders could be someone just like you, talented men and women who decide to rise up to the challenge of building positive platforms for others to easily build the nation. Bridge-builders forgo their short-term benefits in exchange for a long-term inclusive benefits. Only, if you work towards building positive platforms, other nation builders can come in to build Nepal and protect your future and all our future.
As a young bright Engineer, you have the talent, skills and grit to become our nation’s leaders by becoming that “bridge-builder’ everyone is looking for. In the end, I leave you with this quote,
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” – Henry Thoreau
Ask yourself – Will you start hacking at the roots of evil in Nepal (or stick to hacking at the branches just like the thousands before you) ?