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Internet, India's technology institutes road to riches

students on campus
The six Indian Institute of Technology campuses have produced dozens of Internet millionaires in the past few years  

March 14, 2000
Web posted at: 8:20 a.m. HKT (0020 GMT)

From New Delhi Bureau Chief Satinder Bindra

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- The Internet has become more than the information highway for a select group of Indian science students: It's also a route to riches.

Dozens of Indian Institutes of Technology students -- who have graduated in recent years from the schools' six sprawling campuses -- have earned millions of dollars from Internet-related businesses.

"The start-up bug has bitten the Indian students. Everybody is thinking about start-ups these days," IIT student Sulabh Aggarwal told CNN.

The six IIT campuses -- in New Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Bombay and Guwahati -- were created between 1951 and 1963 as centers of excellence for higher education, research and development within science. The institutes offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

The IITs were "to provide scientists and technologists of the highest caliber -- to help build the nation towards self- reliance in her technological needs," then Prime Minister Pandit Nehru said.

The success of IIT's graduates, which has helped the institutes earn the title Millionaire University, has inspired the current students.

Inspiration or not, however, only the institutes' top students will join the millionaires' honor roll. The students study three to five years to pass IIT's entrance exam.

Boy in lab
Students spend 3 to 5 years studying for the IIT's entrance exam  

Only 3,000 of the 125,000 students who sit the exam will be enrolled. But the hard work will pay off for some students, who will join the 25,000 other graduates who have received full scholarships to study in the United States.

"The course work is so tough, you know how to work hard and achieve what you want to achieve," Aggarwal said. He was awarded a scholarship to study in the United States.

Many scholarship winners continue their studies at Stanford University, in California's Silicon Valley, where they improve their technical skills.

They receive more than classroom training, however. The students also learn entrepreneurial skills, and they have the opportunity to network with the influential IIT alumni who can help them find their dream jobs.

Kamal Rekhi, who calls himself an angel investor, is an IIT alumnus who gives capital and advice to young entrepreneurs, most who have graduated from IIT.

"Several of them have done very well, and I have done very well," he said, adding he has made several million dollars since graduating from IIT. He recently donated $2 million to the IIT.


Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

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