Move over IITians, OU grads make it bigger in US

By: R. Ravikanth Reddy

Engineering graduates from Osmania University are proving to be more successful than IITians in the Silicon Valley, says a survey by professors of various US varsities. The study revealed that people who graduated from smaller institutions like Osmania University, Bombay University and Delhi University outnumbered their IIT peers in setting up companies there.

A background study of 317 immigrants who started tech companies in the US showed that graduates of Delhi University were twice the number of IITians. Similar was the case with two other public colleges, Osmania and Bombay University that trumped nearly all the other IITs. A similar trend noted among Chinese immigrants, where the tech companies’ founders were from smaller universities compared to famed varsities like Fudan and Tsinghua.

The study, Education, Entrepreneurship and Immigration: America’s New Immigrants Entrepreneurs , was done by Vivek Wadhwa, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University along with Ben Rissing, Duke University; AnnaLee Saxenian of University of California, Berkeley and Gary Gereffi of Duke University.

“We found that India-born company founders of technology and engineering firms had received their education at a wide variety of universities in India. Only 15 per cent had received their undergraduate education at one of the seven IIT campuses. The eighty-seven Indian founders surveyed, accounted collectively for forty-two different institutions across the country, many of which are considered to be second or third-tier universities,” the researchers said in the paper.

Biz by chance

Interestingly, more than half the foreign-born founders of these firms had come to the USA for higher education. Very few came with the sole purpose of beginning an enterprise.

Senior academics from Osmania University College of Engineering (OUCE) are not surprised as they say OUCE graduates who migrated to USA used the opportunities to their advantage during the software boom. Prof. Uma Maheshwar Rao of OUCE says IITians tend to get attracted to jobs in the financial sector, deviating from the technology sector unlike graduates from conventional colleges who stick to their core areas.

Former OUCE Principal and UGC member D.N. Reddy says most OU students come from poor or middle-class backgrounds with a burning desire to excel and that is the driving force. Those who graduated in the 80s and 90s grabbed opportunities provided by the software boom.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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