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Having graduated with an engineering degree in Computer Science from India several years ago, getting into an even better institution or the IIT,was a huge “wow” factor even in those years(there were only 5 IITs then)

Returning to India after a long US stint of 14 years, I was equally surprised to find that the aura of IIT(scroll down for the definition of IIT) combined with an IIM(scroll down for the definition of IIM) education in India had still not diminished. In fact, the IIT/IIM aura had multiplied even further. We used to start our preparation for the IIT entrance only in 9th grade but today, IIT entrance exam coaching begins as early as 5th grade(yes – that is true!) While most of the Western world is still handling cursive writing in 4th or 5th grade – our Indian 5th graders are already aiming for the engineering entrance exams!

Today, India boasts of 16 IITs and there are a total of only 11,032 seats for grabs from an application pool of 12 lakh candidates!! (as per Wikipedia and Quora) Getting into an IIT is no mean task and it is wonderful to see all the brains(my son does the IIT coaching too) competing against each other to get into the elite institution. After all, competition does fuel great discoveries.

The  pressure to get into an IIT is high but are the stakes worth it? Not to take anything away from those who have achieved the coveted IIT/IIM degrees or diplomas, are the lives of those with degrees from other institutions any lower? I would think not… while those with IIT/IIM tag are easy to identify and might have it easy in the early days of their career, we non-IIT/IIM lesser mortals have done well too! 🙂  While academic excellence might start you off well, it is the other aspects of multi-tasking, calmness, composure and other factors that might bring you success and happiness in life.

What do you say?

My 2 cents worth of thoughts for the day…. 🙂



  • IIT – Indian Institute of Technology – some of the most prestigious engineering institutions in India and home to India’s brightest minds
  • IIM – Indian Institute of Management – an equally prestigious institution for management education