Ven Parameswaran interviewing A.M. Rosenthal, Executive Editor of the New York Times (left) in 1970

CBS 60 MINUTES ANCHOR LESLIE STAHL (see video on internet) travelled to India to  interview IIT students and the faculty, to get first hand impression.  She came to the conclusion that a degree from IIT is equal to combined degrees from Harvard+Princeton+MIT.

New York Times Executive Editor Rosenthal said that Indians have high native intelligence, and they are intrinsically very sharp and smart people.  If you transfer them to the best environment in the world with unlimited opportunities for knowledge and research, that is the USA, they will be No.1.

By Ven Parameswaran

If the present trend continues I could dare to predict that within the next decade Indians will head 100 corporations, says the author.

According to the US Census, Indian Americans rank No.1 in education and income.  The Jewish Americans were downgraded to the 2nd rank. The Anglo-Saxon whites had maintained the No.1 lead for centuries till the Jewish outperformed them.  Perfect conclusions are more difficult to make in Social Science, unlike Physical Science.  However, let me try and reason out why Indian Americans  are No.1.


Until 1965, the U.S. allowed only 100 immigrants from India.  With the elimination of national origin criterion and preference for the  highly educated, Indians started immigrating.  In 20 years, that is by 1985, US had  400,000 Indians.   For the first time in 1985, Balu Natarajan won the Spelling B contest.  For the past 12 years, Indian American has been the champion on a consecutive basis.   Spelling B test is the test of one’s memory power.   The Indian youth under 13 are highly disciplined, ambitious and determined to succeed.  Therefore, they studied hard and learnt how to spell most uncommon words.  Strong family values and self-esteem make them most competitive.  Their brain is like a computer that stores information, which they are able to recall any time.


The IIT undergraduates apply for admission to topnotch universities in the USA.  All of them qualify and are accepted because of their superior credentials.  These students and many others who have studied in U.S. high schools score 100% in SAT, CAT,  GMAT, GRT, and other competitive tests for admission to undergraduate and graduate schools.      The IIT is the most outstanding college of technology in the world.    In India, for a class of 250 freshmen, 250,000 apply, signifying the stiffest competition in the world.

CBS 60 MINUTES ANCHOR LESLIE STAHL(see video on internet) travelled to India to  interview IIT students and the faculty, to get first hand impression. She came to the conclusion that a degree from IIT is equal to combined degrees from Harvard+Princeton+MIT.  When she made her broadcast, India and the IIT were proud that the intrinsic capabilities and capacities of IIT students were discovered.  Nobody advertised IIT as CBS 60 Minutes did. The IIT, India and the overseas Indians are ever grateful to Leslie Stahl and the CBS.  The method of instruction in IIT is rote learning. There is not much discussion in the class like in the US colleges.  Rote learning and mastering the fundamentals are very important.  Like the Spelling B students, the IIT engineers have the brain of a computer.  The Wall Street firms used to say that if they receive a resume from any IIT graduate, they must hire immediately even without any interview.  “Send the stretcher and get him/her over here” was the expression!


Rosenthal started his career in India after a brief span at the U.N.  At his request he was assigned to India as its Foreign Correspondent and Head of the NYT Bureau, New Delhi.  He liked India and fell in love with the country.  He liked the  food, dress and the multicultural character of India. I interviewed him in 1970 for an article in Transindia, a weekly published from N.Y.City.    I asked him why Indian Americans are more successful in the USA than in India.  Rosenthal said that Indians have high native intelligence and they are intrinsically very sharp and smart people.  If you transfer them to the best environment in the world with unlimited opportunities for knowledge and research, that is the USA, they will be No.1.


There are more CEO’s of Indian origin than any other nationality, including the Chinese.  Many of them have degrees from the IIT and MBA from Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, MIT.  They are selected after exhaustive, intensive and most competitive search.  The observations made by CBS Leslie Stahl and NYTimes A.M. Rosenthal seem to be convincing based on the sheer performance of Indian Americans.

Microsoft and Google rank amongst the top four corporations based on market capitalization.  Outstanding vision and performance of Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Sundar Pichai of Google have resulted in doubling the value of their companies within a year of their appointment as CEO!

If the present trend continues I could dare to predict that within the next decade Indians will head 100 corporations.

  1. Academia

The Deans of Business Schools of Harvard, Cornel, Chicago, Kellogg/Northwestern and others are of Indian origin.  The Deans of Engineering at MIT, Harvard Undergraduate Arts and Science, NYU, and several others are of Indian origin.   These top universities train tomorrow’s leaders of the industry and finance.


Politically also, Indian Americans shoot for the highest position.   Nikki Haley, 46, was elected and re-elected Governor of South Carolina. Later, she was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations.  She could very well be elected President of the USA one day.   Bobby Jindal was elected and re-elected Governor of Louisiana. He already ran for President of the USA in 2016.   Kamala Harris is the U.S.Senator from California and she is most likely to run for President in 2020.    Indian Americans have raised 26 million dollars to help 20 candidates running for the U.S.Congress in 2018 midterms. Congress  already has 4 Indian Americans.


Zubin Mehta was the Conductor of N.Y.Philharmonic Opera.  Parameswaran is the Conductor of Cleveland  Orchestra.  Dr.Krishnamoorthy served as Surgeon General of the U.S.A.


Columbia University, New York invited Dr.Radhakrishnan to deliver speech as a distinguished statesman. As a former diplomat for India at the U.N., I was helping Dr.Radhakrishnan.  I remember vividly that Dr.Radhakrishnan prepared his speech. It was typed, and copies were made for the media with the caption: CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY.   Dr.Radhakrishnan did not use any teleprompter.  He spoke extempore.  He spoke every word as he wrote his speech.  There was not even a single word change.   Everyone wondered how that was possible. Outstanding Indians have the brain of a computer.

Dr. Satyamoorthy of Chennai was a scholar in the U.K.  He was selected to speak extempore on a subject that would be announced only in public in front of his audience.  He was asked to speak on ‘NOTHING’. He spoke for six hours ex tempore!

  1. BILL GATES, FOUNDER OF MICROSOFT and JACK WELCH, FORMER CEO, G.E.: On his first visit to India, Bill Gates was highly impressed with the Indians he met and predicted that Indians will be the leaders of future technology.  At that time, he never dreamt that Microsoft would be selecting Satya Nadella as its Chairman and CEO.  Jack Welch was also high impressed with the intrinsic strengths of Indians.  Both these outstanding leaders got to know Indians only after they visited India.    Warren Buffet has selected Ajit Jain, who runs his Reassurance business, as a possible successor to him along with another person.  Warren Buffet made this comment on Ajit Jain, who has an IIT degree and MBA from Harvard: “Ajit insures risks that no one else has the desire or the capital to take on.  His operation combines capacity, speed, decisiveness and most important, brains in a manner unique in the insurance business.”

  1. INDIA INVENTED ZERO AND MATHEMATICS. Albert Einstein said that we cannot have a computer without zero.  It was also mentioned that Sanskrit is the ideal language for computer, internet, software!

  1. HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION: One could say that  most immigrants came to the USA without higher education.  Many like Irish, Italian, Eastern Europeans, Jewish came with no education.  They had to work hard physically to make both ends.  First generation Indians beginning in 1965  came  with Masters or higher  degrees.  It is said that the cream of the crop from India comes to the USA for higher studies.

Of late, discrimination against Indian students at  Harvard University was in focus. Harvard University  was  challenged legally on their Admission policy  of Asian students.  Asian Americans have charged Harvard with discrimination because they are better than all others.  The case is being contested in Boston Courts.  Harvard Dean of Admissions is defending by characterizing the personality of Asians on a subjective basis.  He is arguing that Asians do not have the suitable personality for leadership compared to the whites.

I can assert he is totally ignorant and wrong.  Anyone can prove that Asian Americans, especially Indian Americans are leaders because of their personality.  How else can one explain the outstanding success of Indian Americans in different fields?  One cannot be a successful Governor or CEO without an agreeable personality.   I am sure if the case ever goes to the Supreme Court, the judges will do justice to the Asian American students.

(The author is an  MBA from  Columbia Business School; Chairman, Asian American Republican Committee (founded in 1988); and a Former President & CEO, First Asian Securities Corporation, New York. He can be reached at


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