Challenges have always been a way of life for them and when this one was thrown at them, they just loved it. After all, it is not easy to pick the best amongst the best.
On its golden jubilee celebration, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur bent the rules a bit and asked the alma mater to select 50 most distinguished alumni among themselves.
The idea was refreshing. It clicked. An online voting ensued at all the locations dotted by the IITians worldwide.
Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy topped the list hands down. Satyendra Dubey, who had blown whistle to large scale corruption in golden quadrilateral project and got killed later, was voted fourth most distinguished alumni.
"Results are mostly on the expected lines. The biggest surprise is the directors of IIT who were in the initial batches lost out to students," said Prof Kripa Shankar, secretary of IIT Alumni Association.
PK Kelkar who headed the institute later was voted second, current director of IIT Kanpur, Prof Sanjay G Dhande came 13th and former director of IIT Bombay Ashok Mishra took the 28th position.
IIT's board of governors so far picked up the most distinguished alumni for the coveted awards-a rule changed only in the golden jubilee year. "This time we wanted the alumni to decide on who is the best among them," said Prof Kripa Shankar.
"At the start they reaction was more of a surprise. They eventually liked the idea and began voting for the 230 shortlisted and nominated alumni to settle for the final 50. It was a task they completed with proficiency and transparency," he told HT.
Some of final 50 alumnae -three of whom were voted for posthumously-were honoured at the Golden Jubilee Alumni Convention at the IIT Kanpur. And those who couldn't make it to because of the bad weather and train accident would get their awards at golden jubilee events being held Bangalore in June, Washington DC in July and Santa Clara, California, second week of July.
Shantanu Srivastava, founder chairman of Indian business chamber in Vietnam and leading industrialist made it to the list securing 15th place. He's upbeat.
"It feels really good," he said, adding, "it's an honour to have been voted to the list."