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BERKELEY, Calif., May 19, 2014 – Sanjay Mehrotra, president, chief executive officer and co-founder of SanDisk, delivered a commencement address to graduates of the University of California, Berkeley College of Engineering on May 18, 2014. Mehrotra’s speech detailed his own journey and related the lessons he has learned along the way from an international student to the head of a Fortune 500 company that is recognized as a global leader in flash storage solutions.
Born and raised in India, Mehrotra first relayed to the graduates lessons he learned from his father about the importance of tenacity. Though now a member of the UC Berkeley Engineering Advisory Board, Mehrotra shared the difficulties he faced in first obtaining a student visa after his application was denied multiple times and how his father overcame the bureaucracy.
“My Dad’s tenacious conviction, courage, and his boldness, not only on that day at the Embassy but also throughout his life, has become my mantra: never, ever give up,” said Mehrotra. “If you have a dream, if you have a conviction, if you believe in something passionately, reach down deep within yourself and don’t take no for an answer!”
Mehrotra’s speech next focused on imparting three crucial pieces of knowledge that he has accrued along the way.
“Making innovation meaningful requires execution, tenacity, attention to detail, and trusting your imagination at the most difficult of moments. Just because you can imagine a better mousetrap doesn’t necessarily mean that you can actually build one. The believer and the builder are co-captains leading the team. It takes more than 5,000 people to make a team like SanDisk successful today.”
“Take risks, be adventurous. Don't wait for all the answers. Get started now. But don’t be reckless! Find a smart and responsible way to do it faster, better, cheaper. I’m not a gambling man, but believe me, your quest will be much more exciting when you place big bets, and then win. You’ll lose a few times too, and that’s OK.”
“Aside from picking the right industry, the right company, the right team, and the right job, I want you to be constantly on the lookout for movers and shakers—the high achievers who can mentor you. In the best sense of the phrase, take advantage of them! Great mentors can accelerate your career growth, help you learn faster, do more and make you shine.”
In his closing, Mehrotra challenged graduates to envision the future that they will help create:
“Thirty-four years ago, I sat where you are sitting today. Even though I couldn’t possibly imagine then what 2014 would really be like, let me now challenge you to imagine thirty-four years from now,” he said. “…Of course, no one knows. However, what I do know is that many of you as Cal graduates will be pioneering and shaping the world on your journey. So, congratulations, graduates! …Go and amaze us.”
The commencement follows a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the university’s newly renovated SanDisk Computing Lab. Renovations to the lab and Cory Hall were funded by a $1 million donation from SanDisk to the UC Berkeley College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The company also recently announced recipients for the 2013-2014 SanDisk Scholars Program, which provided more than $1 million in scholarships and grants to nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate university students in the United States to support their pursuit of degrees in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics discipline.
SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company, is a global leader in flash storage solutions. For more than 25 years, SanDisk has expanded the possibilities of storage, providing trusted and innovative products that have transformed the electronics industry. Today, SanDisk’s quality, state-of-the-art solutions are at the heart of many of the world's largest data centers, and embedded in advanced smart phones, tablets and PCs. SanDisk’s consumer products are available at hundreds of thousands of retail stores worldwide. For more information, visit www.sandisk.com.
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