How do Ivy League students compete in the Indian markets?


A number of graduates from Ivy League universities hailing from India have returned back home and utilised their education to make the most of the opportunities in India and to leave an indelible mark in their field of choice. From Kunal Bahl (University of Pennsylvania), who founded, to Anand Mahindra (Harvard University), Chairman and Managing Director of the Mahindra Group, there is a long list of alumni in a diverse range of industries and roles who are doing their alma mater proud.

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Ivy League graduates bring a range of attributes to the Indian market that makes them stand out once they return:

  1. Ivy League students are surrounded by some of the finest minds in the world. Not only do they have classmates from over 130 countries across the globe, but also students from a broad range of backgrounds including renowned musicians, prominent actors, Olympic winners and members of the armed forces. The cultural diversity provides for great learning, as each discussion, exercise or activity on campus exposes students to multiple viewpoints and teaches them to respect an alternate point of view.

India too is a melting pot of different cultures. The grounding received at an Ivy League institute prepares students to embrace each individual’s working style and work productively with them.


  1. Global perspective. Premier global schools become hubs for top global talent – be it students or professors. Professors, regardless of area of study, expose students to innovation, models, case studies and problem statements from across the planet.

s the world becomes increasingly flat, students are taught to be aware of the progress and issues facing their industry, strategise on the most effective course of action, and then seamlessly work cross-border with minimal disruptions.

As India continues to embark on the global path, with both a growing influx of multi-national companies and Indian companies expanding worldwide, Ivy League students can be at the forefront as their firm further broadens their horizons.


  1. Extensive network. The relationships Ivy League students cultivate on campus continue to only strengthen over time. Should an Ivy League student be confronted with a business dilemma, for example, they can consider tapping into an alum or professor to help resolve the issue. They have access to some of the world’s greatest thinkers, who are only an email away.

The strong professional network available in almost every corner of the world can significantly distinguish any Ivy League student from his or her peer group. The connections made during college years have the potential of being not only their life-long friends but also future business partners, co-founders, investors, clients, vendors, mentors, and so much more.

Ivy League universities further foster these relationships by setting up alumni clubs and associations in different geographical locations within India. For example, the Harvard Club of India consistently works towards increased interaction, knowledge sharing, and networking among the alumni by organising social events, workshops, lectures and more.


  1. Soft skills. In addition to the development of hard skills, universities also build on soft skills to enable students to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. For example, within the classroom walls, students are encouraged to actively participate in discussions, work with groups on projects and make presentations. Across campus, students can get actively involved in clubs and societies and take on leadership roles.

Soft skills characterise your relationship with other people. They enable you to work well with groups, solve problems, manage your time, and take personal responsibility for your work. All these traits can accelerate an Ivy League students growth path within a company.


  1. Work readiness. Ivy League universities prepare students to solve real-world problems effectively and decisively. In addition to lectures, the curriculum and degree encompass a wide range of components to ensure students are completely prepared when they enter a professional setup, including:
  • Field trips to relevant locations both within USA and internationally.
  • Case competitions that can convert classroom experiences into real-world learning opportunities.
  • Internships over summer and winter breaks. Universities will have a dedicated career centre working with students to find relevant jobs in their sector of interest to test out an industry or type of career and learn real-world applications.

As students graduating from Ivy League universities enter the Indian work force, it is imperative they identify the right firm with a working environment that aligns with their background and areas of proficiency. They must do their homework thoroughly, including reaching out to the alumni database in India, to get a complete understanding of a company’s work culture. For companies looking to recruit these stellar candidates into their workforce it is important to contextualise the student’s backgrounds and find the right tasks for them. For Ivy League graduates to successfully compete in Indian markets, their unique skill sets need to be recognised and harnessed by their managers.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)