These 9 Indian students went to the USA for their studies but have had considerable impact in the Valley as CEOs, investors or founders.
Every year thousands of students from India travel to the US for their higher studies. Most of these students aim to study either an MS or an MBA—two of the most popular courses worldwide for Indian students. Majority of these students end up staying and contributing to the success of the US and Silicon Valley. But few of them leapfrogged everyone else and established themselves as Silicon Valley giants. Here are the 9 prominent Indian students who made it very big in the USA
9 Prominent Indian Students Who Made it Big in the US
Sundar Pichai, 45, is the CEO of Search Engine giant Google. Pichai reports directly to the founder of Google, Larry Page. Sundar Pichai was born in Tamil Nadu, India. He studied Metallurgical Engineering at IIT Kharagpur. He went to the US and did his MS from Stanford Universty and later, did an MBA from Wharton. Pichai started his career with McKinsey & Company. He joined Google in 2004 and led the product management and innovation team. He rose through the ranks and was appointed as CEO in 2015. Sunder Pichai was also in consideration to become the CEO of Microsft, though fellow Indian, Satya Nadella beat him to it. Pichai is an avid Barcelona FC fan and loves Cricket too.
Satya Nadella, 50, became CEO of Microsoft in 2014, after twenty years with the company. He was born in Hyderabad and did his B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology. He went to the US to study MS in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Satya Nadella started his career with Sun Microsystems and later, went on to complete an MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He has steered Microsoft from their singular focus on Office products to mobile cloud-centered growth. Satya Nadella is a cricket buff and among his prized possessions is a Sachin Tendulkar signed cricket bat.
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Shantanu Narayen, 52, became CEO of Adobe in 2005 after seven years with the company. Narayen is also the co-founder of Pictra, that pioneered photo sharing over the internet. Narayen was born in Hyderabad and holds a B.E in Electronics and Communication from Osmania University. He later went to the US and did an MBA from University of California, Berkeley. Narayen also has an MS in Computer Science from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He started his career with Apple before joining Adobe in 1998 as Senior VP worldwide product research. In 20017, Shantanu was selected as CEO of Adobe Systems. He was chosen by Barack Obama, then US President, as a member of his Management Advisory Board in 2011.
Padmasree Warrior, chief technology officer at Cisco Systems, was born in 1961 in Vijayawada. She graduated in Chemical Engineering from IIT Delhi. She went to the US and did her MS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. Padmasree joined Motorolla in 1984 and rose to the ranks of Corporate Vice-President and general manager of Motorola’s Energy Systems Group, and Corporate Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer. Warrior was among the few women leaders in male-dominated Silicon Valley. Warrior left Motorola in 2007 to become the chief technology officer at Cisco. She left Cisco Systems in 2015.
Fortune Magazine called her one of four rising stars on its Most Powerful Women list” categories. In 2005, The Economic Times ranked Warrior as the 11th Most Influential Global Indian. As of 2014, she is listed as the 71st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes
Vinod Khosla not only is a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, but he is regarded as the person who started the trend of talented Indian engineers moving to the Silicon Valley. He was born in Delhi and did B.Tech in electrical engineering from IIT Delhi, and later went on to do masters in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon. Khosla also has an MBA from Stanford. He co-founded Sun Microsystems with Scott McNealy and Andy Bechtolsheim. He remained CEO until 1984. But his bigger impact on the Valley came as an important player in the venture capital space. He joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm, in 1987 as a partner and led several investments in startups. In 2004, he founded his own firm, Khosla Ventures, near the Stanford campus. The firm manages over $1 billion of capital and invests in startups in I.T. and clean tech areas.
Amit Singhal was born in Jhansi and did his graduation from IIT Roorkee. He then went to the US and did a Masters from the University of Minnesota. Singhal then got a Ph.D. from Cornell, where he worked with Gerad Salton, considered the father of digital search. He then joined AT&T Labs in 1996, until his friend Krishna Bharat, who was then working on creating Google News, got him to join the company in 2000. Amit Singhal currently manages the product that made Google a dominant force worldwide: the search engine. Singhal is responsible for the algorithm that governs Google Search.
Ruchi Sanghvi, 35, was the first woman engineer to be hired by social media giant Facebook as a product manager. She was born in Pune. She grew up there and then went on to do Bachelors and Masters from Carnegie Mellon University. Ruchi started her career with Oracle before joining Facebook. Sanghvi left Facebook and started Cove, a collaboration startup, in 2011, with fellow Carnegie Mellon alumni Aditya Agarwal. Dropbox acquired the firm a year later, and Sanghvi continued working there until 2013 as vice-president of operations.
Deepak Ahuja was born in India and did his bachelors degree in ceramics engineering It-BHU in 1985. He went to the US and got an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. Ahuja started his career with Ford and moved to Tesla in 2008. In June 2015, he said that he would be leaving Tesla, which has revolutionised the electric car industry, to pursue other interests. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX considers Deepak among his most trusted executives.
Pooja Sankar started Piazza, an online platform that enabled teaches and students to collaborate, after working with Facebook and Oracle. The idea to start Piazza developed while Sanghvi was in Stanford’s MBA programme. Since its inception in 2009, the startup has raised $8 million from Khosla Ventures and Bessemer in its latest round.
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