It has been reported that no Indian universities are currently among world’s top 100 in the current QS World University Rankings (‘No Indian universities among world’s top 100 but NUS and NTU top 2 in Asia‘);
In response, some netizens have pointed out that quite a number of the top US tech companies are already headed by current or former Indian nationals who have studied in Indian universities.
However, upon closer inspection, it is found that they are also educated in US universities:
Sundar Pichai – CEO, Google LLC & Alphabet INC: Pichai started his career with Google in 2004. He obtained his MS from Stanford University followed by an MBA in Wharton.
Satya Nadella – CEO, Microsoft: Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 and became the CEO of the company in 2014. He did his MS from the University of Wisconsin, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Shantanu Narayen – CEO, Adobe: Narayen started his career at Apple. He joined Adobe in 1998 as the senior vice-president of worldwide product research and became the COO in 2005 and CEO in 2007. He did an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS from Bowling Green State University.
Arvind Krishna – CEO, IBM Group: Krishna was appointed CEO of IBM in 2019. He has been with IBM for almost 30 years and before becoming CEO he was a senior vice president with the company. After moving to the US, Krishna completed his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in electrical engineering. Additionally, he is also a co-author of around 15 patents.
Sanjay Mehrotra – CEO, Micron Technology: After co-founding SanDisk in 1988 and serving as their President & CEO until 2016, Mehrotra was chosen as Micron Technology’s new CEO in February, 2017. He started college at BITS Pilani and then transferred to University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences by Berkeley. He graduated in 2009 from Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Education Program. Mehrotra holds more than 70 patents.
George Kurian – CEO and president, NetApp: In 2015, George Kurian became the CEO and president of NetApp, a hybrid cloud data services and data management company ranked in the Fortune 500. Before joining NetApp, Kurian was vice president and general manager at Cisco Systems. Born in Kottayam district, Kerala, he pursued engineering at IIT-Madras, but left six months later to join Princeton University; he also holds an MBA degree from Stanford University.
Failure of India to produce business environment that nurtures high-performing talents
According to an article on Foreign Policy (FP), a news publication focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy published by a division of The Washington Post Company, it also noticed that most of these Indian-born CEOs received their graduate training and management expertise at top universities and firms in America.
“Yet for the most part, individuals like Nadella (Microsoft CEO) and Pichai (Google CEO) obtained their graduate training and management expertise at top universities and firms in the United States, not in India,” said FP (‘Why Are So Many of the World’s Best Companies Run by Indians?‘).
“In other words, the success of Indian-born CEOs in America is as much about what’s right with America — or at least what used to be right before immigration became more restricted after 9/11 — as what’s right with India. In fact, it may be more about what’s gone wrong on the subcontinent.”
FP further added, “So before Indians pat themselves on the back for exporting star chief executives, they might want to consider how this reflects the country’s failures. How can India produce a business environment that nurtures and provides incentives and opportunities to high-performing individuals like Nadella or Pichai?”