Why are there so few IITians in Microsoft?

Microsoft has 70,000 employees across the globe. Indians are said to make up for 12-15 per cent of the total workforce, according to this report, which would work out to 10,000.

“When I joined the company 17 years ago, that number would be something like 4 or 5 and today it’s closer to 100. Now people of Indian origin are making it to top slots in areas like design, marketing and regional leadership. Gone are the days when they were seen only as code writers,” says Sanjay Parthasarathy, Corporate VP, Developer and Platform Evangelism Group at Microsoft.

But how many Indians are in the senior management of the company? And how many of them are IITians?

In May 2004, Kamal Sinha counted 108 names in the list of Microsoft executives of which three were Indian and only the first named was an IITian—a 3 per cent Indian, one per cent IITian conversion rate.

In April 2007, that figure is no different. No Indians in the 10-member board of directors. No Indians in the 20-member Senior Leadership Team. And just seven Indians out of 118 executives: Anoop Gupta, Rajesh Jha, Satya Nadella, Gurdeep Singh Pall, Sanjay Parthasarathy, S. Somsegar, and Amitabh Srivastava.

Of the seven, three of them—Gupta, Jha, Srivastava—are IITians, Parthasarathy and Somsegar are Anna University products, and Pall is from BITS, Pilani.

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Does Microsoft no longer excite IITians with more innovative companies around? Or does Microsoft not find IITians worthy enough despite Bill Gates‘ claim that it’s hard to think of anything like IIT anywhere in the world? Is Anna University as good as IIT Madras? Or should we not break our heads too much because there aren’t too many Chinese (or Pakistanis) either on the Microsoft list?