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.

We personally believe entrepreneurship is more of an art or even better – a way of life, 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. The entire debate over IIT/IIM Vs Other colleges for being an entrepreneur is kind of overrated.

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 we 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:

1. Ashish Kashyap, Founder Goibibo.com

Ashish holds an Economics (Honors) from University Of Delhi, India and a diploma in “International Masters in Practicing Management (IMPM)” from Insead, Fontainebleau, France.

2. Deepak Ravindran, Founder SMSGyan

Deepak Ravindran is a Kannaur University dropout.

3. Girish Mathrubootham, Founder Freshdesk

Girish Mathrubootham is a graduate from University of Madras.

4. Kunal Shah, Co-founder Freecharge

Kunal Shah is a graduate from Wilson College and then dropped out of NMIMS which he had joined for a MBA degree.

5. Neeraj Roy, MD and CEO of Hungama

Neeraj Roy is a graduate from Allahabad University and then did his MBA from SIMSREE.

6. Shashank ND, Co-founder Practo

Shashank ND is a graduate from NIT, Karnataka.

7. Shradha Sharma, Founder Yourstory

Shradha Sharma is a MICA graduate.

8. Vijay Sekhar Sharma, Founder Paytm

Vijay Sekhar Sharma is a graduate from Delhi College of Engineering.

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

Image credit: wendyonline.nl



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Author: OOS Team

Explaining bits and bytes of startups and entrepreneurship.

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