Institute of Personal Leadership Logo

Message from our Founder

After a career in management consulting and entrepreneurship, I decided to take pause after the sale of Paramark, my tech startup in Silicon Valley. I wanted to probe deeper into what makes people successful in life and leadership. So I awoke one day, extricated myself from the warm quilt of the “rat race”, and hiked up to one of the peaks of academia, Columbia Business School, to pursue a new career in research and teaching. I started to investigate the following questions, as much for my own self as for the MBA students and executives I was teaching:

What are the key drivers of success in life and leadership? How should we even define “success”? What does it take to draw out the best in our own self and others? How do great leaders become “great”? Is the pursuit of material success in conflict with the pursuit of a happy, balanced, values-based life, or could these be two sides of the same coin? What is our highest potential – and how do we get there? Can we actually change our character and personality, or is that a quixotic quest?

These are timeless questions, and in the past the only way to explore them would have been to tap ancient wisdom – or new-age gurus. But in recent times, the scientific community has started to turn its attention to these topics. So I was able to draw upon the latest scientific breakthroughs, compile a rich fact-base, build a structured framework, and craft a set of success principles. I also investigated the lives of great leaders from history, and discovered that the same success principles that disciplines like psychology and neuroscience are discovering are in fact the path all great leaders have pursued. And I was privileged to forge collaborations with top 21st century psychologists and psychotherapists to devise practical tools that would help people put these success principles into action. This scientific enterprise became the foundation for my teaching at Columbia and the Institute for Personal Leadership.

But science is only half of the story. The other half is technology. At Columbia and IPL, we are deeply committed to building improved learning methods for our digital age. No longer does learning have to be confined to a classroom – with IPL’s library of online modules, you can now engage in learning anytime, anywhere. No longer is learning simply about intellectual mastery – with IPL’s mobile platform, you can now engage in repeated practice, feedback, goal-tracking and on-the-job guidance. Our mobile learning platform has put IPL at the forefront of technology for personal leadership development.

IPL is privileged to partner with Columbia Business School Executive Education. We provide a range of online courses to serve people who see themselves as a work-in-progress; who are keen to evolve themselves as leaders and as human beings; who believe there is much untapped potential within them; and who are energized by the prospect of using digital platforms to learn and grow in powerful new ways. If this sounds like you, then I invite you to take an online course with us. IPL may be the guide you were looking for to take you on your personal leadership journey and to connect you with others who share your aspirations.

My favorite form of greeting, learned while growing up in India, is “Namaste”. It means, roughly translated, “I bow to the highest potential within you.”

So, Namaste!


Hitendra Wadhwa is Professor of Practice at Columbia Business School, where he teaches MBA and Executive Education courses on Personal Leadership, Driving Strategic Impact and Leading from the Inside Out.

At IPL, Hitendra consults with and provides executive education to a number of organizations. Through a partnership between IPL and Columbia Business School, Hitendra was the first leadership faculty at a top school to launch an online executive education program in 2012.

Hitendra’s widely acclaimed research and teaching on leadership have been covered by Fortune, Psychology Today, BBC World Service, Inc., Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal. At Columbia, he has received the Executive-MBA Commitment to Excellence Award, the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, the Lear Award for Service to Students, and the Most Dynamic and Engaging Professor Award.

In the past, he has been a Consultant at McKinsey & Company and the Founder and CEO of Paramark, a technology startup that was twice recognized as a Top-100 Internet Technology companies by Technologic Partners/Venture Wire.

Hitendra earned an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in Management Science from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a B.A. Degree in Mathematics from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, where he graduated top of his class. He can be reached at

Hitendra frequently delivers livestream talks on Personal Leadership on behalf of IPL + Columbia Business School Executive Education. These are open to the public.

Here are some of his recent webinar topics:

The New Science of Relationships

“How to be True to Your Self in Life and Leadership”

“How to Succeed by Not Trying: The Power of Non-Attachment”

“Simplicity: The Secret to Success in a Complex World”

Working Smarter, not Working Harder: Five Keys to Driving Strategic Impact

The Power of Paradox: Unleashing Your Full Potential by Embracing Opposing Ideas

“Taking Giant Leaps in Small Steps: The Power of Chunking in Driving Transformation”

Hitendra selectively delivers keynote speeches at major industry and organizational events. Recent examples include:

Keynote speaker at HR People + Strategy Annual Conference: The New Talent Ecosystem. April 10-13, 2016. Scottsdale, AZ. “The New Science of Leadership Development: Lessons from the Front”.

Citi Learning Series, Global Livestream Event for Citibank Employees, New York. “The Power of the Growth Mindset”.

HPE Enterprise Group HR Summit, Dallas, Texas. “Maximizing Personal Impact in Times of Change”

GE Ventures Leadership Summit, Dana Point, California. “The Power of the Growth Mindset”

Thomson Reuters, SPARK Leadership Conference, Dallas, Texas. “Shifting Mindsets and Behaviors to Unlock Your Full Leadership Potential”

Bayer CropScience International Management Meeting, Berlin, Germany. “Four Mindsets for Leadership Transformation”.

SAP, Services Organization, Global Livestream Session, Newton Square, Pennsylvania. “Maximizing Personal Impact in Times of Change”

Business Wisdom Summit, Kiev, Ukraine. “5 Success Principles for Life & Leadership”

Tech de Monterrey, Mexico City, Mexico. “How to be True to Your Self”

Begin your journey of a lifetime to become a more authentic leader in both your personal and professional relationships!