Is IIT IIM degree a must for startup success?

While there is no denying  the fact that most of the entrepreneurs that we see today are from IITs and IIMs , but that does not translate into the fact that only these premier institutes can produce successful entrepreneurs. Before presenting the non- IIT /IIM entrepreneurs who have made their mark let us analyse why this ratio.

I personally believe entrepreneurship is more of an art or even better- a way of life, if I may say so, just like you can’t become an artist just by enrolling into an art course if you don’t have an aptitude for it , on similar lines you cannot just rise up to be a entrepreneur if you manage to get thru in these top colleges, un-till and unless you have those entrepreneurial qualities. So, to me the entire debate over IIT/IIM Vs Other colleges for being an entrepreneur is kind of overrated.

group of graduates holding diploma

Had it been all about degree from fancy colleges Mark Zukerberg, Steve jobs, Haim Saban, John Paul DeJoria, david Geffen, Les Wexner, Bill Gates,Ray Kroc, Dhiru Bhai Ambani, would not be names I would have in this post! These people either did not go to college or dropped out in the 1st or 2nd year itself but still made in it big in the business world.

To put it in simplest words, it is just your passion, your idea, your courage and how you sell your idea, that matters.  Your educational qualification from a top notch university/college might add color to your resume and your networking profile and your popularity, but it cannot be the sole factor for making your startup a success.

What does help entrepreneurs  from IIT/ IIM is that:

  • They have a entrepreneurial culture in their college life
  • They have exposure and interaction with people who are into it already .
  • Their network of people has seniors who are entrepreneurs  them selves and they have the courage to turn to their plan B of getting a job even if their venture fails .

Having said that, a non IIT/IIM grad can work on these areas as well :

  • With numerous networking platforms you can connect to people who might turn into your mentors and guide you through.
  • If your idea has substance and you can convince the investors- why investing in your idea is a safe bet , you do stand a chance.
  • Learn and learn more,multitask and get habituated to it, this is going to help you in the long run
  • Get into entrepreneurship only if you believe in your idea and you have the time, dedication and discipline for it and do have a secure  plan B , so that the stress of failure does not impact your venture

Here are some Indians who were not from from IIT / IIM but are making it big: ashish kashyap
Ashish KashyapFounder at, Ashish holds an Economics (Honors) from University Of Delhi, India and a diploma in  “International Masters in Practicing Management (IMPM)” from Insead, Fontainebleau, France deepak ravindran

Deepak RavindranFounder of SMSGyan is a Kannaur University dropout - girish

Girish MathruboothamFounder of Freshdesk  was a graduate from University of Madras. - kunal

Kunal Shah– Co-founder of graduated from Wilson College and then dropped out of  NMIMS which he had joined for a MBA degree - neeraj roy

Neeraj Roy – MD and CEO of Hungama, graduated from Allahaabad University and did his MBA from SIMSREE - shashank

Shashank ND – Co-founder at Practo is a graduate from NIT, Karnataka - shradha

Shradha Sharma – founder and CEO at Youstory, is a MICA graduate - Vijay

Vijay Sekhar Sharma – Founder at Paytm is a graduate from Delhi College of engineering

To end it I would quote Dr. Napoleon Hill “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”!

About Author

Ruchi Pandita

Ruchi is a word-weaver, a painter, an amateur photographer and a poet at heart. The ease with with she can explain the most complex stuff impresses people around her. Being a gemini, she is never content, always looking for new ways to explore her self and the world around. The startup revolution has greatly influenced her and she is using her talent to help budding entrepreneurs find the way forward.


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