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Updated: August 25, 2013 00:49 IST

Move over IITians, OU grads make it bigger in US

R. Ravikanth Reddy
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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.

Businessmen 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.

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To those people who think Engineering grads from OU and affiliated colleges are larger in number than IITs are all wrong. OU has around 7-8 affiliated engineering colleges besides its very own OUCE. Certainly the number is very much less than the IITians.

from:  Sai Bhargav
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 09:39 IST

Looking at the metric (value added in $/person/year) will trash this analysis in most respects. And Yes IIITs are not just Computer Entrepreneur manufacturing factoties. Who is looking into all those engineers who keep the gasoline prices far below rs100 per litre? Where did innovators in a company like 3M. I believe the sample size is too small and non random, so generalizing the insights to the iit population is hugely skewed in my opinion.

from:  Harrsha
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 07:01 IST

Most of these startups are consulting companies(body shoppers) for IT Vendors.

from:  mahesh
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 01:44 IST

Most of them faked their resumes to get into US during Mainframe boom.
Anyone with 10+ years in US could easily start a company and if luck
favours, get big. It doesn't mean they all had creativity and were

from:  cv raghu
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 01:36 IST

the study by "American Professors"

silly interpretation, trying hard to sensationalize.

from:  jen
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 20:32 IST

As others have pointed out, the numbers are flawed. There are more people from non IIT background in the US than from IIT background. Hence you will see more non IIT entrepreneurs.
This study is like pointing out there are more white managers in the US than any other color! Of-course, there are more percentage of them.

from:  P Kumar
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 19:41 IST

I wish the more homework was done before publishing the article.

from:  Abhilash Nair
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 19:21 IST

Abhishek Reddy you're much right. In our country most of people think
that engineering means "computers". As you said the core fields like
electrical, mechanical and civil are the major competencies feeding
country's development.

from:  Jagadheesan M K
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 19:13 IST

Instead of debasing one university from India it would have been better
to highlight the general quality of education being great in other
institutions of India as well. This is a cheap shot at publicity for
their study and not expected of such eminent people such as Mr. Vadhwa
et al. No matter what they say ultimately they are using the IIT Brand
to get their study noticed. So there you have it! :)

from:  Shraddha
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 18:58 IST

I seriously don't understand why do people make such pointless debates.There are very few I.I.Ts compared to osmania affliated colleges.there are many middle class people from I.I.T s who have much more passion than there are management quota students in Osmania who simply do their M.S paying huge dollars and working for U.S.A improving their economy.Only do narrow minded misers speak of only silicon valley as if it(software) is only the core branch.People who don't even know what is engineering make such stupid comments.Core branches such as electrical,civil are the ones which actually develop the infrastructure of one country.First learn to develop the labs of electrical and mechanical engineering in your own India and then speak of silicon valley.Labs at i.i.t s are not good first of all.Its simple ignorance to speak about passion taking only computer science as point of view.Not even one I.I.T is in the top 300 of world rankings.First improve the education in our country.

from:  abhishek reddy
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 13:12 IST

Its a passion which drives one to excel , not merely intelligence . Its
a good thing to hear about OU Grads .But this is not entirely true about
IITians , there are IIT grads who are carrying number of patents ;
there is no match for them .

from:  praveen
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 12:57 IST

Another reason could be that the number of engineering colleges
affiliated to OU are large compared to the number of IITs. As a result,
the number of outgoing students from OU could be larger.

from:  abhinav
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:02 IST

engineers stick to core tech areas? believe there is no core engineering that is taught in state universities like OU, their curriculum never thinks beyond C,C++,JAVA and atmost another programming language. I still see people who buy the code and documentation from training institutes in ameerpet, there is nothing to boast about these figures except the fact that many have gone there in dollar dreams :)

from:  Raju
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 10:46 IST

The interpretation of these results seems to be flawed! For one, 87 is
a very small sample size. More importantly, the authors do not seem to
take into account that only a very small percentage of engineering
seats in India are in IITs, probably far less than 15%. Further, it
would be important to ask whether the students who went to second-tier
universities were more likely to be from entrepreneurial families.
This is quite likely since they would have needed to pay a higher fees
to attend these universities than the highly subsidized IITs. If a
student is already from an entrepreneurial background, perhaps they
also had the advantage of greater family support, both morally and
financially, when it came to starting their own business.

from:  Nandu
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 08:58 IST

Where is IIT and where is OU. Why should you compare OU and IIT.

from:  gondu
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 04:22 IST

What type of ridiculous survey was that? Don't compare graduates on the basis of IIT and non IIT,I myself is from IIT and I sincerely believe that all it takes is sheer determination,focus and business proclivity to work on a start up.We should be proud that many Indians are able to follow that suit,rather than comparing who is behind that start up whether he is an IIT grad or not.
It is because of this comparing mentality we are lagging behind.
#come on guys ,bring that wave of change ,Inspire motivate and move ahead.

from:  Rituraj
Posted on: Aug 25, 2013 at 22:48 IST
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