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When it comes to naming prestigious colleges in India, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) bag the trophy. This chain of technical schools boasts of the best curriculum, faculty and also placement records in the entire nation, particularly in the engineering domain. Undoubtedly, this has remained the case since past several decades. The history of the IITs dates back to 1951, when under Abul Kalam Azad’s leadership, who was the first Minister of Education in the Indian government, the first Indian Institute of Technology was established in Kharagpur. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, in the first convocation address of IIT Kharagpur in 1956 said, “Here in the place of that Hijli Detention Camp stands the fine monument of India, representing India’s urges, India’s future in the making. This picture seems to me symbolical of the changes that are coming to India.” Institutes of such caliber have a reputation of producing not only capable and extraordinary engineers, but also entrepreneurs, civil servants, artists and even leaders of top ranks.

Since the motivation behind the establishment of IITs was to provide a much-needed technological impetus to the country, it has often been a point of controversy as to why IITians opt for civil services or even pursue management. After all, as the critics say, the government has invested four to five year worth of resources on these supposedly brilliant students, betting on them to become successful engineers. When IITians opt for careers other than engineering, it is regarded a loss for the government and the nation, which looks forward to capable individuals on the tech front. The situation creates chaos as other individuals from non-engineering backgrounds have to compete with IITians for a spot in their own backyard. But then we have several notable alumni from IITs present in diverse fields such as Manohar Parrikar (Defense Minister), Sundar Pichai (CEO, Google Inc.), N. R. Narayana Murthy (Co-Founder and Former Chairman of Infosys), Raghuram Rajan (Current Governor of Reserve Bank of India), and also Chetan Bhagat (Writer and Columnist). Also, aren’t we all proud of them? The point here is that IITs are not just factories designed to churn out world-class engineers, they are places where some of the best minds in the country are trained and equipped to go for their dreams.

Statistically, in every batch of IITians:

  • around 20-30 percent go abroad, majorly to pursue higher studies and sometimes for a job
  • about 10 percent go for further studies (MBA/M.Tech) within the country
  • the rest, around 60 percent, take up jobs in India itself
  • a small but increasing, and not yet estimated percentage venture into their startups  

IITians can be found in various industries around the world and excelling everywhere they plant their flag. One emerging trend in recent years has been the increasing number of start-ups that flock in to recruit IITians. What’s even more interesting is that several of them go for launching their own start-ups. This trend has emerged due to the high level of exposure provided by these institutes. Truly, being a spectator myself, the environment at IITs is saturated with the promotion of entrepreneurial ideas, especially by the institute. Somewhere down the road, this is what helps them take this up as their ultimate profession. Not only do the institutes provide overall personality development, but an inherent quality of problem-solving is inculcated in the students, which pushes them towards starting up, finding solutions to the most prevalent issues through technovation.

Below is a graph depicting the placement statistics at IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur and IIT Roorkee in start-ups.

Recruitments by Start-Ups

With an increasing reign of start-ups that are only a few years old, established companies face tough competition during campus placements in IITs. However, this is definitely a good sign for the nation as the IITs stand more for innovation than anything else. Opposed to earlier brain drains a few decades ago, these start-ups bring out the best of these students within the country. Moreover, the recent surge in the number of start-ups by IITians has created a huge job creation opportunity for India. A few of these start-ups include Infosys (Narayana Murthy (co-founder), IIT Kanpur), Sun Microsystems (Vinod Khosla (co-founder), IIT Delhi), Snapdeal (Kunal Bahl (co-founder), IIT Delhi), Flipkart (Sachin and Binny Bansal, IIT Delhi), CommonFloor (Sumit Jain, IIT Roorkee) among many more.

This diverse pool of intellectuals is a clear sign of the significant level of exposure this chain of institutes provides to its students. Elevating students to the privilege of finding where their true interest lies, is what forms the soul of an IIT, and ultimately makes it stand out. And as destiny is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice, every year each IITian writes his own life story by doing what they are best at, in fields as diverse as our nation itself.

IITians have been renowned in all fields, be it technology, writing or politics! In the wake of huge changes in our nation, take a look at this list of IITians who joined politics!

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