Naveen is a BSN alumnus, class of 1991, and, since September 2023, a BSN Parent.

Born in India, when Naveen was five years old, his father became a contractor for Shell, and the Menon family moved to the Netherlands. Naveen spent his entire school career at the BSN. This experience opened up a lot of opportunities, relationships and a mindset that helped him succeed.

“The school was so influential for me personally and has actually given me such a tremendously solid foundation for everything that I have achieved so far.”

Currently, Naveen is a global technology leader and is responsible for heading the Cisco/Splunk integration, a $28 Billion acquisition, the largest in Cisco’s history. He is responsible for delivering the top-line synergies by integrating both companies worldwide footprint across sales, marketing and customer experience. He is married to Sumitra, and they have three sons. His older brother, Sunand, also a BSN alumnus, lives in Boston.

Naveen has fond memories of the BSN—he shares a few of the most vivid and powerful with us—and pays tribute to his amazing teachers and brilliant mum!

Class photo

Family History

Naveen’s mum was the driving force behind the decision for Naveen and his brother to go to the BSN despite the significant financial commitment this involved. Growing up in India, Naveen’s mum grew up in a privileged household with close contact with the British in India. In fact, her father (Naveen’s grandfather) had worked closely with the British before Independence when he held top management positions in the Porcelain industry. Naveen’s mum was educated in the British system and attended a Catholic school run by nuns. She later went on to receive her Master’s in English Literature.

“She had that kind of international upbringing in India, so she wanted a British education for us”.

Naveen’s mum volunteered in the library at the BSN (although this was quite embarrassing for Naveen at the time!) because she wanted to get to know the school and the people. Naveen’s heartfelt admiration and appreciation for his mum is evident: ‘She is brilliant’.

“She could have worked anywhere but decided to stay home and focus on building a stable home for the family”.

Naveen’s father left home at 14 and obtained his bachelor’s degree in Physics when he was only 17 years old! He moved out of India in 1962, where he got his master’s in Chemical Engineering in Milan, Italy. His father always had an international outlook and loved taking on new challenges. As an Indian in Italy, studying in Italian in the 1960s, he was a minority, but equally a minority when the family arrived in the Netherlands in 1978.

Naveen’s parents lived in the Netherlands for 40 years before moving to Singapore in 2016.

An International Education

Growing up with internationally-minded parents, one of the things Naveen loved the most about his school experience was the multicultural environment.

“It’s a British School, obviously, but it’s really an international school, and I think that’s what makes a difference. I grew up with a very international mindset, which was a key part of my love for the school: appreciating all the multiculturalism and diversity and everyone we met”.

In Naveen’s small Junior School class, there were students from Egypt, Ghana, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, and the UK, and his best friend was from Nigeria. It was only looking back that Naveen thought about how special that was in 1978.

Naveen’s mum was ‘acutely aware’ that the BSN would be more international than the name implied, and this was one of the driving forces in her desire to send her children there.

Naveen remembers having a lot of fun in the Junior school and his teacher, Ms Bates, who was ‘just the best teacher’. He also felt ‘very grown up’, which was probably because they wore ties then, but also, the teachers respected the students and didn’t talk down to them.

MUN

Model United Nations at BSN Sixth Form was a unique developmental experience for Naveen:

‘I will never forget the learning I got from the Model United Nations’

He began as a delegate in Year 12 and then became Ambassador for the USSR in Year 13. He and his team of fellow students represented the BSN at The Hague MUN conference, where they won best delegation, beating out 190 other teams.

“It was an incredible kind of experience for me because I was, for the first time, leading a group of 15 students across a lot of different topics, like sustainable development, human rights, security council, and speaking in front of 2,000 people, making sure every single one of my team spoke, which was actually the key to winning”.

In Naveen’s current job, he meets regularly with heads of state and ministers of Finance and Trade. He has realised how important his MUN experience was ‘in terms of how to deal in diplomacy, discuss geopolitics, negotiate with skill and engage in a dialogue around economic and social policy’.

BSN teacher, Pam van Driel was:

“ …instrumental in driving our development for MUN and teaching us how to have political discourse and political conversation, not just discourse, but also conversations and constructive dialogue to get issues passed and resolved. Ms. van Driel was just an amazing, amazing woman”.

A multitude of lifelong memories

Naveen has had many great, lasting memories from his time at BSN. Most importantly, he met his wife, Sumitra, through one of his best friends at BSN (Lis Bowman). Lis graduated from BSN and went on to study engineering at Cambridge, where she met Sumitra and soon became best friends in Magdalene College. When Naveen went to Cambridge on an Erasmus exchange program, Lis introduced him to Sumitra, and they have now been together for 30 years! They have three boys; their second son is in Year 12 at the BSN.

He also remembers fondly how he was chosen to meet Mrs Sadat, the First Lady of Egypt, soon after her husband Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981. When Naveen was just eight years old, he was lucky enough to spend the day with Mrs Sadat at Madurodam, which left a deep impression on the reality and dangers of political situations in the Middle East.

Sports has always been strong at BSN, and early on, he was exposed to many sports, including football, rugby, swimming, track/field, and hockey. Later in his time at BSN, Naveen focused on tennis and was the tennis captain for BSN in Years 12 and 13, representing the school in the Netherlands and abroad.

Finally, the school trips! Between 1986 and 1989, he loved the trips to Terschelling, Ahrweiler, Poole Harbour and Engelberg. In fact, he was selected by the teachers to go to Ahrweiler as a student supervisor in 1991, taking care of the Year 8 students during. It was a unique experience to connect with teachers in a more adult-like way.

BSN Tennis Team

Acknowledgements

Naveen is eager to acknowledge some of the incredible teachers he had at the BSN, in addition to those mentioned above: Mr Singleton (Physics), Mr Davies and Mr Daniels (Chemistry), Mr Bayross (Maths), who sadly passed away this year, Ms Menant (French), Mr Melville (Spanish), Mr Porter (Geography and Economics) and Mr Irving (Computer Studies).

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