Of late, one has seen a rise in the number of startups by IIT and IIM graduates. Some entrepreneurs think that studying at the elite institutes have given them an edge over others, as peer group interactions and pedagogy at these institutes accelerate their growth as entrepreneurs.
“I do indeed feel that studying at IITs gives one an edge, especially when it comes to launching new ventures. The exposure to resources and people is formidable and irreplaceable in terms of value. Additionally, engineering at IIT isn’t limited to just the core technology subjects. We also learned critical problem-solving skills,” says Ritesh Arora, an IIT Bombay graduate and co-founder at BrowserStack.com, a cross browser testing tool.
Most of the entrepreneurs from IIT-IIM are unanimous in their praise of peer learning at their institutes. IIT Delhi alumnus Himanshu Aggarwal feels he was made ready for the real world at the institute. “At IIT, I had the opportunity to interact with some of the best minds I have known and gained rich tech knowledge. It was all about competing and surviving – virtues every entrepreneur needs. While getting things done was minimum expectation, risk-taking was essential to be able to stand out in the face of stiff competition,” says Aggarwal, the co-founder and CEO of Aspiring Minds, a job skills credentialing company.
On similar lines, Srinivas Krishnaswamy, CEO and co-founder, Krya, a startup creating products for sustainable urban living, says, “The environment and IIT peer group is a plus. Your classmates are of high calibre and that raises the competition bar.” Some of them also mentioned the brand value associated with these institutes. “Even Harvard and Stanford drop-outs have a name, for example, even if they drop out of those colleges. People would know that they are good enough to get into those colleges. That is the psychological advantage,” says Krishnaswamy, a graduate from IIT Madras and IIM Bangalore. However, as IIM Bangalore pass-out Rajiv Srivatsa, COO and co-founder, Urban Ladder, a furniture e-tailer, says, “It’s useful, but not necessary. You can do the courses, build a strong network, and get out of your comfort zone to do something impactful in any context or good college or young company as well.”