Sorry, IITians

Graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology have played a far smaller role as entrepreneurs than has been widely assumed, according to a new report.


The report “Education, Entrepreneurship and Education” by researchers from Duke University, University of California, Berkeley, and the Kauffman Foundation found that only 15% on Indian American entrepreneurs surveyed received their undergraduate degree from one of the seven IITs. Delhi University graduates tied with IIT Mumbai, with 7% each, as the most common institutions of Indian American founders.

Vivek Wadhwa, lead author of the report, said: “This tells us more about Indians than their education. The fact is that no matter what school they graduated from, given the right opportunities, they flourish. The IITs are great schools, but are not the only ones that produce successful entrepreneurs.”

By contrast, China’s five leading universities accounted for half of all Chinese American entrepreneurs: Peking University (20%), followed by Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiao University and Tianjin University with 10% each. However, almost 90 percent of Indian founders received their graduate degrees in India whereas only a third of Chinese founders went to undergraduate school in China.

The study had earlier reported that fully a quarter of all science and technology startups in the United States between 1995-2005 had at least one immigrant founder. Indians led all groups, with 26 percent of firms reporting an Indian founder. 

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