June 8, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Why tech giants are turning to Indian-trained talent

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Bombay (AFP) – Shivani Nandakonkar, a technical student, is determined to follow the example of Twitter’s new CEO Barack Agarwal, who is the latest in a line of IT executives to have studied at reputed Indian universities in the United States.

The 22-year-old is in his first round at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bombay, but he has already been hired by Google.

Like Barack Agarwal, thousands of IIT students have joined the ranks of America’s largest technology companies.

“When I found out about Barack, it was a real pleasure,” the young woman recalled.

At age 37, Barack Agarwal is the youngest CEO of the S&P 500 index.

Sundar Pichai, 49, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, left India before graduating from IIT to pursue postgraduate studies in the United States, before working for various US companies.

Arvind Krishna at IBM and Nikesh Arora at the Palo Alto Network – alumni of IIT – as well as Satya Nadella at Microsoft and Chandanu Narayan at Adobe are among the other top ranked Indians in the field of technology.

According to experts, this is caused by a number of factors, including a problem-solving culture, mastery of English and hard work.

Vinod Khosla, an IIT graduate and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, believes that Indians who have grown up interacting with many communities, customs and languages ​​know how to deal with “complex situations”.

Initial competition

Silicon Valley technology companies need technical knowledge, leadership of various teams and entrepreneurial managers in uncertain environments.

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In a country like India with a population of over 1.3 billion, competition begins where education has historically been important.

A student leaves his class at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai on December 6, 2021. Sujith Jaiswal AFP

The IIT network is considered to be one of the best universities in India, applying for access to the 16,000 seats available to over one million students every year.

For 18 months, Nandakonkar studied 14 hours a day, seven days a week. Some young people are getting ready by the age of 14 or 15, he insists.

After independence from the British in 1947, a network of technology companies was formed in 1950 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to equip the country with highly qualified science and engineering graduates.

However, due to insufficient domestic demand, graduates went abroad, especially to the United States, where the digital revolution is on the rise.

After graduating from the United States, Devesh Kapoor, a professor at Johns Hopkins University at IIT, recalled that this was not the case for Chinese engineers who had difficulty finding work in their country where the economy was expanding.

Over the years, more than half of those applying for competent immigrant visas in the United States have come from India, mainly in the technical field.

Engineers like Agarwal, Pichai and Nadella climbed to the top of their respective companies for a decade, enriching themselves with the inner culture and gaining the trust of the founders of these associations.

Shivani Nandakonkar wants to conquer the top of the world: “You have to dream big!” He says.

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