Why major global firms can’t get enough of Indian talent


Born in India, Sundar Pichai has been Google’s CEO since August 10, 2015. — AFP Relaxnews

From Parag Agrawal at Twitter to Sundar Pichai at Google and Satya Nadella at Microsoft, in the United States, several major tech firms are now led by Indians or Americans of Indian origin. The superior quality of Indian higher education and the technology boom in the country could explain why some of America’s biggest companies have snapped up Indian talent.

You can’t have missed the news that Jack Dorsey has now left his position as CEO of the Twitter social network. His successor was announced as Parag Agrawal – a 37-year-old Indian-American who has been with Twitter since 2011. Indeed, many Indians – by birth or by origin – now hold senior positions in major companies, especially in Silicon Valley, such as Sundar Pichai at Alphabet (Google) since 2019, Satya Nadella at Microsoft since 2014, Adobe boss Shantanu Narayen since 2007, Ajay Banga at Mastercard, and Arvind Krishna at IBM since 2020. And the list could go on. But why have so many Indians come to helm major American technology companies?

In fact, the recent rise of Parag Agrawal to become Twitter’s new CEO is just the latest in a long line of appointments. And if American companies are particularly fond of Indian talent, it is mainly down to education. The technical qualifications in India, accompanied by the quality of education in this sector, and in the country, give rise to comprehensive experts. Students often take several courses in programming or engineering before perfecting their skills at top American universities. In addition, the Indian government is promoting the creation of start-ups, from which disruptive technologies and company leaders emerge. The Start-up India initiative was launched on Jan 16, 2016, launching more than 36,000 start-ups on the market.

A generation with added value

To take the example of the new Twitter boss, Parag Agrawal graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai and from Stanford University in the United States. For his part, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai studied at the IIT Kharagpur and then at Stanford before obtaining an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.

IITs – or Indian Institutes of Technology – are regularly ranked among the best technology schools in the world. A level almost equivalent to the United States. On April 26, 2005, the US Congress even passed a resolution to honour graduates of these Indian institutions for their contribution to economic innovation in the US.

In addition, the need for US companies to implement technical support tools in the 1990s and 2000s brought this generation to light – they could speak decent English, and they came at the right price. In the early days of the dot-com bubble, it was not uncommon to see scouts from large companies like Microsoft or AT&T going to prestigious Indian tech universities to conduct large-scale recruitment campaigns. Now, this generation has moved on to hold increasingly more important positions and roles in the industry. – AFP Relaxnews

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