Rise of Indian Tech CEOs in the US

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, and the top bosses of IBM, Adobe, Palo Alto Networks, VMWare and Vimeo all have a common denominator. They are all of Indian origin.

As per the statistics, there are four million minorities and among them the Indian-born Silicon valley CEOs are among the wealthiest and most educated in the US.

About a million of them are scientists and engineers. More than 70% of H-1B visas – work permits for foreigners – issued by the US go to Indian software engineers, and 40% of all foreign-born engineers in cities like Seattle are from India. The recently appointed CEO of Youtube is also of Indian Origin.

Most of the CEOs come from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) which has an acceptance rate of less than two per cent. Only the top most of Indian brains secure admission there and this speaks volumes about the quality of engineers who migrate to the USA. In an interview with BBC Indian-American billionaire businessman and venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems said, “India’s diverse society, with so many customs and languages, gives them [Indian-born managers] the ability to navigate complex situations, particularly when it comes to scaling organisations”.

India has a good education system with a huge focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Indian immigrants are among the most highly educated in the US; 77.5% had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016 – the highest share of any top-origin country – compared to 31.6% of native-born Americans. Engineers who go to the USA are usually from upper-middle-class families who can afford to go to English Medium school. So speaking flawless English makes it all the easier to assimilate and climb the American Corporate ladder. And thanks to their GRE score, a large chunk of them manage to get scholarships for their graduate programmes.

As per US Officials, Bhutanese students usually pursue higher education in the United States mainly through government partnerships, and special scholarships offered through select institutions. According to officials from the Department of Adult and Higher Education (DAHE), Ministry of Education, there are 15 undergraduate (UG) scholarship students under government funding, 14 self-financing students and three undergoing postgraduate studies in the US.

If Indian engineers are climbing such great ladders, why should ours stay behind?

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