By Shukoor Ahmed
What makes them so successful? Whatâ€™s their manta? Using Google’s AI tool Bard, I conducted research on the background of the top 20 Indian American CEOs to look at some of the characteristics that many of them share.
Their origins in specific Indian states, educational background in prestigious institutions like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), and emphasis on technical fields such as Engineering and Computer Science, collectively contribute to their remarkable achievements.
READ: Top Indian American CEOs steering major US companies (September 5, 2022)
The influence of supportive families with successful parents further adds to their profile as influential and accomplished leaders in the business world.
Our research looked at these 20 CEOs:
Amrapali Gan (Only Fans),Â Arvind Krishna (IBM), Ajaypal Singh Banga (ex-Master Card and currently World Bank President), Dinesh Paliwal (Harman International), George Kurian (NetApp) Jayshree Ullal (Artisa Networks), Nikesh Arora (Palo Alto Networks),Â Parag Agrawal (ex-Twitter)Â Raghu Raghuram (VMWare), Rajan Anandan (Sequoia Capital), Rajeev Suri (Nokia), Reshma Kewalramani (23andMe), Revathi Advaithi (Jabil), Sanjay Mehrotra (Micron) Sanjay Jha (Global Foundries), Santhosh Narayanan (Infosys), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Shantanu Narayen (Adobe), Sundar Pichai (Alphabet & Google), and Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures).
Here are the key findings:
Educational background: Among these Indian American CEOs, all but three are alumni of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). This underscores the high regard and influence of IITs in the tech industry.
Of the three non-IIT executives, Kewalramani went to Boston University, Amrapali Gan to Sydenham and Banga to Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.
READ: Meet the top seven Indian American CEOs (June 2, 2019)
Engineering disciplines: The CEOs’ educational backgrounds are predominantly in engineering. Specifically, 10 of them hold degrees in Electrical Engineering, four in Computer Science, and three in Mechanical Engineering.
Exceptions are Banga who is an IIM alumnus, Biochemist Kewalramani and Marketing Executive Amrapali Gan.
Schooling: In terms of schooling, a noteworthy 18 CEOs attended private schools, while only two CEOs â€” Dinesh Paliwal and George Kurian â€” attended government schools.
Parental background: As many as nine Indian American CEOs had parents who were Electrical Engineers, while four had parents in the field of Computer Science. This indicates a trend of academic and professional success running in their families.
Parental success: Remarkably, all the CEOs’ parents were notably successful in their respective careers, highlighting the influence of a supportive family environment on their own achievements.
Geographical distribution: Half of the CEOs, an impressive 10, hail from four southern states in India: Krishna, Nadella and Narayen are from Telangana; Ullal and Rajiv Suri from Karnataka; Kurian and Advaithi from Kerala; and Pichai and Raghuram from Tamil Nadu.
(Shukoor Ahmed, founder of V-Empower Inc and Meet Hour, is a tech entrepreneur, mentor, angel investor, product strategist and politico.)