Is IIT Everything? – 5 Non-IITians Who Became Very Successful and Inspiring

Let me start this article with a quite simple sentence, IIT is NOT Everything.

Yes, you heard it right. It’s not the IIT which makes people successful, it’s their talents and a strong determination. Many people see failing in IIT-JEE as an ultimate failure in life.

But, it’s not like that. There are many people who couldn’t make themselves into IITs but, still, emerged as quite successful in their lives.

You won’t believe, some of the most successful and inspiring people that we have seen haven’t even appeared for the IITJEE exams!

Ironic, right?

Well, in this blog post, I will be talking about the 5 such successful and inspiring personalities who did not attend IIT but still, they made it quite big in their lives.

5 Non-IITians Who Became Very Successful in their Lives

No doubt, this is a never-ending list but, for now, I have included 5 such people in the list. So let’s get started…

1. Satya Nadela (CEO, Microsoft)

Satya Nadela, who is the present Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the tech-giant Microsoft, is NOT from any of the IITs. And, it’s quite a big achievement what Satya Nadela has achieved today – CEO of a Billion-Dollar Company. He became the CEO of the Microsoft succeeding Steve Ballmer in 2014.

Satya Nadela - CEO Microsoft

Before he became the CEO, he was Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company’s computing platforms, developer tools, and cloud computing services.

Satya Nadela was born in Hyderabad, India. He attended Manipal Institute of Technology (then part of Mangalore University) in Karnataka in 1988 to complete his B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering.

In 1990, Nadella subsequently travelled to the U.S. to study for an M.S. in computer science at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

2. Kalpana Chawla (Astronaut, First Indian Female to Go to Space)

Kalpana Chawla was the first female of Indian origin who went to space. She had appeared for the IITJEE exam but couldn’t qualify. In 1997, she first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator.

Kalpana Chawla - Indian-American Astronaut

But, unfortunately, on the second mission, in 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

She got a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, India.

Later, in 1982, she moved to the United States and obtained a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984.

She began working at NASA in 1988, where she did Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research on vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) concepts. Kalpana Chawla spent a total of 31 days, 14 hours, 54 minutes in space.

3. Venkat Ramakrishnan (Nobel Prize, Chemistry in 2009)

Venkatraman “Venki” Ramakrishnan is an American and British structural biologist of Indian origin. He shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath, “for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome“. And, he is not from the IITs.

Venkat Ramakrishnan - Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner in 2009

Venkat Ramakrishnan completed his schooling and undergraduate studies at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, Gujrat.

Immediately after graduation, he moved to the U.S., where he completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Physics from Ohio University in 1976 for research into the ferroelectric phase transition of potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP).

Ramakrishnan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 along with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath. Later, he received India’s second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2010.

4. Indra Nooyi (Chairperson, PepsiCo)

Indra Nooyi is an Indian-American business executive, serving as the Chairperson of the second-largest food and beverage business in the world – PepsiCo, and as the CEO for 13 years from 2006-2019. She isn’t from any of the IITs either.

Indra Nooyi was born to a Tamil-speaking family in Chennai, India. Nooyi did her schooling in Holy Angels Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School in T. Nagar.

Indra Nooyi (Chairperson, PepsiCo)

Later, in 1974, she completed her bachelor’s degrees in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from Madras Christian College of the University of Madras and a Post Graduate Programme Diploma from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta in 1976.

In 1978, Nooyi got admitted to Yale School of Management where she completed the master’s degree in Public and Private Management.

Indra Nooyi was named as the 3rd Most Powerful Woman in Business by Fortune in 2014 and she has also been consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women.

5. Shiv Nadar (Founder & Chairman, HCL)

Shiv Nadar, who is an Indian billionaire industrialist and philanthropist, is the founder and chairman of HCL and the Shiv Nadar Foundation. He too is not from the IITs.

In the mid-70s, Shiv Nadar founded HCL and transformed the IT hardware company into an IT Enterprise over the next three decades by constantly reinventing his company’s focus.

Shiv Nadar - Founder and Chairman HCL

Nadar was awarded Padma Bhushan (3rd highest civilian award in the Republic of India) for his efforts in the IT industry, in 2008.

Shiv Nadar completed his pre-university degree in the American College, Madurai and a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India.

Final Words

Hope this article added some value to you. Don’t be hopeless if you don’t get into an IIT because there are many such people who have achieved a lot in their lives without attending into the IITs.

If you wanna add few more people to the list then mention them in the comments and I will try to add them in the list.

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