Listen buddy, to get into these top schools to do MS-PhD is not a matter of joke!!! Everything, ( I repeat everything is necessary especially if u r not an IITian)..starting from top grade scores to awards, research experiences, paper publications …….everything is NECESSARY!

You can check the top school websites(mainly MIT, Princeton, UCB) at your respective departments and start looking for the Graduate students there.

You see an a number Indian students. Everyone of these students have done either their bachelor’s at IITs or their master’s from IISc or IITs (and all these students have topped in their respective departments).

No one of these top school students who went there from India are from any other institutes..—only IITs and IISc. But you mail them and ask them:- they will say the IIT tag is not necessary. But it is necessary.
The professors, there, ( I mean at the top schools) have only heard about our IITs and IISc and ISI, as well, and nothing else.

So if you really want to get to these top schools try to do master’s from IIT or IISc and be a topper there. Try to publish paper at least at the international conferences. And yes after 3 years… will find yourself at one of your dream top schools!!!!!

Best of luck for your endeavor!!!


Why IIT Tag

Reason you need IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) tag to get into to universities is because of research exposure and standard of education you get from there.

You may apply for Dream school for your profile, but even if you get admission, it’s not going to be easy to manage the academics in top universities.

You can get admission in MIT, Stanford, etc from attending  some random college in India during bachelors, provided you have exposure that someone from IIT.

Another Strategy

If you have strong research interest and desperate to study PhD  from Top program, you can do this

  • Apply for Masters (best school you can get)
  • Complete MS with Thesis track
  • Improve your research exposure (which will be must better than what you get in bachelors)
  • Apply for PhD in  Top program.
  • You may have to retake GRE.

Example of my friend

  • BTech in Biotech from Ok college.
  • MS in Molecular Biology from USC
  • Full time research based work for 2 years
  • PhD in UC Berkley (current)

Also, for PhD, Top university matters to some extent, but choice of research and professors working on same field matters much more than university brand.


  1. priya on January 5, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    I have IIT tag but 6/10 cg , now how MIT can be achieved?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      Just CGPA doesn’t decide your admission chances. Do you have research background or ground breaking idea?

  2. Sunny Marella on November 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Okay,its tough for a non-iitian to get into a top US university.But,a non-iitian can struggle,work hard and find research positions in research institutes abroad/iiisc,which I have done.Its not easy because its not the route of least resistance.We have to work 2 or maybe 3 times more hours than a iit person,for a reason,we just weren’t that good at the beginning.No problem.I realise I wasn’t good enough to get into a top institution for a reason and I will work harder to improve my skills. Thats the attitude that MIT/Stanford looks for.Its the “I will move heaven and earth to pursue my passion” attitude.

  3. Faiz Ahmed on December 13, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Hey guy, i completed my BSc(Engg.) degree in petroleum & mining engineering from SUST,Bangladesh. i wanted to admit in MSc degree in mining engineering in EUROPE. plese send the university website and its university requirements.

  4. HSB on December 11, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    All – I’m reading an article about how top class recruiting works (something in lies of those who gets 300k and more) and how they recruit grads from MIT, Harvard and others.)

    One of the comments in the article clearly reflects the conversation we are having here. Top schools vs mediocre. I’m writing a post summarizing the contents. Should be published in next 1 hour.

  5. Rashi on December 10, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    After reading all the comments i just thought just let chk for facts
    i went thru UC Berkley n Stanford CS websites
    n just listed out indian students wrt deir ug univ ( iit or non iit)

    UC Berkley

    Non IIT (bits pilani) ( from univ of pune atlast I got some1) ( didn’t mention ug but for sure wasn’t iitian )

    Not in the league ug from MIT again ug from mit ug from ohio

    Cudnt get all the links over here so posted their names
    But trust me ive chked their linkedin profiles

    MS ( i was too bored to search for phd students)

    1. Anshul Mittal ( got the first iitian after 8 non iitians )
    2. Ravi palanki

    Non IIT
    1. Rishita Anubhai ( nirman univ)
    2. pune univ
    3. Amit Chattopadhyay ( univ of madras)
    4. (iiit allahbad it )
    5. ( bits goa)
    6. Subodh Iyengar nit Rourkela
    7. iiit allahbad
    8. Rohan kamat ( univ of pune)
    9. VIT Univ of Pune
    10. Amogh Vasekar BITS

    now i dont need we need to speak more regarding this topic 😛

    Berkley prefers IITians but STanford isnt partial to that IIT tag 😛

    der maybe more students i just went thru list of current students ( der were some indians wid BS from US itself)

    • Rashi on December 10, 2011 at 1:10 PM

      nother thing that i realised was these top schools do prefer IITians but not for MS but for phd
      but it isnt coz of the IIT tag
      if u see the profiles of students who get into these top univ dey r exceptionally gud
      so it indicates that even if u are from iit u cant skip research
      the research exp of the students who get into top univ is actually gud ( which students from non iit instis dont have for obvio reasons)
      but then 1 of ma frnd from MU is in UT Austin ( 65% gre 1450 ) but has worked in cyper cell for 5 yrs !!!! wid 3 ieee conference pprs n 2 journal publications

      i just feel if u really wanna get into top u shud have exceptional research potential ( i.e wat univ out der look for)

      • HSB on December 10, 2011 at 1:30 PM

        Students from mediocre universities don’t get that research exposure as part of the regular course schedule. They have to go beyond the syllabus to do research work. How many colleges instructors have PhD? I have seen departments where HOD doesn’t have PhD. With IIT tag, research work and academic capacity of the student is JUST higher.

        Above all there is personal limit and some are just born with higher intelligence.

  6. Anshul Sharma on December 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Awww I think the author was rejected by a top university and now holds a grudge against anybody who gets through.
    Or maybe, the author is actually from an IIT and this article was his way of showing off 😀

    Anyway, having a blog that has a sizeable following entails a lot of responsibility as well. Before dishing out random ramblings on topics that you think are correct, it’d benefit you to check your statistics.

    • HSB on December 10, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      I’m from one of the low class they say.. end of the food chain 🙂

  7. Anshul Sharma on December 10, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    I think, of the thousands of people who go to top universities from “mediocre” colleges in India, only 2 people have commented on your blog. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t others. It just means that you do not have any reply to the question in almost every comment above.

    • HSB on December 10, 2011 at 11:18 AM

      1000’s of students go to USA.
      100’s go to Top Universities
      1 or 2 go to Top Universities from Mediocre Schools.

  8. Anon on December 10, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    Hey HSB, now reply to the above comments. What do you wanna say to above comment makers, who totally disagree to your post. Please feel sorry for misleading people by posting these kinds of post. Huh!!!

    • HSB on December 10, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      1) How many from a class in some ordinary college can go to MIT and Stanford?
      2) If not IIT there are very handful of colleges (Tp ranke in every state), so there will be folks (few) going to MIT and Princeton and others.
      3) If those who think IIT tag is not required, show me the numbers from “just yet another” colleges which sends students to top universities every semester.

      • HSB on December 10, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        I think of 25+ comments, 2 have made to op schools (one is form Anna University – which is the Top University in Tamil Nadu) and one more person. If there were 30 comments (with valid email address, not anonymous) I would have cared to reply.

  9. Gamy on December 9, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Give name of one IIT’ian who has one Nobel prize in Physics, chemistry, Biology or any IISc candidate. IIT is big name doesn’t guarantee excellence or creativity. Think abt. it…….

    • Saad on December 11, 2011 at 8:10 AM

      give me name of an indian who is also an indian citizen who has got nobel prize in phy chem or bio

      • Tejas on September 30, 2012 at 8:18 AM

        Good one bro we indian always land up in these non-sense…no one thinks big

  10. Anonplus on December 9, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    This is ridiculous. The admitted students would have showed passion and maybe had prior research experience.
    IIT is nil is research. IIT is equal to anyother college in India.

    • HSB on December 9, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      IIT is equal to any other college in India – Really?

    • SBA on December 9, 2011 at 7:34 PM

      great buddy think that only and you will be stuck in any other college for your entire life.

    • PRASHNATH on December 11, 2011 at 12:02 PM

      Huh !!

      I feel disappointed to have even come across such a comment.

      There may be a few dumb people passing out of IITs and IISc. But the research opportunities that you get in these colleges, is what makes them the premier research institutes. There are, no doubt, people involved in good stuff in non-IIT atmospheres as well. But !! They are a handful of such people. Thus, the generalization (IITians being the brainiacs of the country) is the most logical extension for most of the universities in US.

      Why can’t you guys get the point which HSB is trying to make ?

      • HSB on December 11, 2011 at 12:09 PM

        You don’t have to feel disappointed – Just read this post –

        Super-elite schools matter because they are strong signals, not because of what students learn there. If you could have gotten in to a “good” school, you would have gone there! You didn’t, so probably you couldn’t, which means maybe you’re not smart enough.

        • PRASHNATH on December 11, 2011 at 12:33 PM

          Just finished reading the link, HSB.

          Very true ! I firmly agree to your concept of Branding. It is really true.

          It is a tough life, if you are not part of the elite colleges. I have had to slog, a lot, just because I had finished submitting all my originals to my college (One of the top 4 in the State) and was too lazy to go back and collect the documents for submission to NIT or BITS (were I got admit).

          I have had to pave my own road that leads me towards my goal. I have been part of IISc during my Undergraduate program and continue to be. But ! It comes at a great price- tiring hard work. But ! I must say it is this journey that I really cherish and would like to pitch forward, when applying for my MS/PhD.

  11. XYZ on December 9, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Probably reservations is one thing in India that is spoiling lot of good chances for lot more deserving candidates at IITs and IISCs.

  12. Harsha on December 9, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Hey guys… I wanted to apply for MS/PhD Mechanical/Material Science/Aerospace for Fall 2012.
    I am giving GRE on 16th Dec and TOEFL on 11th Dec.
    Expecting GRE score around 1100-1300.

    The thing I am worried about is, the university deadlines.
    What universities do I still have the chance ? , wherein assuming I get the GRE scorecards on 1st week of Jan 2012, what all univs can I apply ?
    I am looking for research based MS (not course based) and more preferably Phd directly (If I have the chance).

    My profile is
    74% B.Tech Mech Engg (till 6th sem, from KL University,Andhra Pradesh).
    Good research work :4 papers in international journals and 1 paper in intl conference. (2 more under review).
    Good SOP and LoR’s.
    12 th : 79%
    10 th : 84%
    Internship at Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) and Mahindra & Mahindra (R&D).

    Please suggest me the suitable universities for my profile.( keeping the deadlines in mind)

    • kumar chandrahas jha on December 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM

      Try Colorado at boulder

  13. SONI on December 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    true ! i know about it ,,,

  14. Himadri on December 9, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Hi, I mailed several Professors one of them replied positively but he said that right now he don’t have openings it will be available in 2013. I am applying for Fall 2012 session. What should I do? Please HSB or any body help me out.Thanks.

  15. Anshul Sharma on December 9, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    I got into UPenn. And I am from IP university, Delhi.

    • PRASHNATH on December 11, 2011 at 12:05 PM

      Hey Anshul,

      Can you please let me know the average score of admits at Upen, University Park campus ?

  16. ANonymous on December 9, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    I wanted to know ur opinion abt my profile.
    MSc chem from IITB, CGPA = 9.62, have done couple of summer projects at JNCASR, revised gre score = 314, toefl score = 112……… will i get through UIUC, Stanford, or Cornell with this gre score?

    • sipun on December 9, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      pretty good chance..

      • ANonymous on December 9, 2011 at 10:05 PM

        Thanks 🙂

    • kumar chandrahas jha on December 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM

      Very high chance.
      But also apply some middle band safe university.

  17. Boopathi on December 9, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Funny!!! Who said IIT tag or top schools in India will only be recognized ??? If you don’t know please dont post wrong information. Tons of my friends study in MIT, Harvard, UCB, UT Austin etc are not from any of top 100 schools in India. I have got admission in UT Austin, my BE is from an unknown college in my state :)…

    • Rashi on December 9, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      i wish der was a “like” like fb out here 🙂

    • om on December 9, 2011 at 11:48 AM


    • Peeyush on December 9, 2011 at 1:22 PM


    • Sri on December 9, 2011 at 7:49 PM

      Super Like !!!

    • vignesh on December 9, 2011 at 8:26 PM

      please can u tell with what possible stuffs would i be able to do MS in top university? And what qualified you ter? thanks in advance?

      • Boopathi on December 9, 2011 at 11:02 PM

        Its discussed lot of times in HSB already, admission is not based on 1 or 2 factors. Its completely on Univ selection criteria for that particular term, We could guess, the best chances of getting admission in to a university. Its upto Univ to decide whether to take you in or not.
        In my case, I had GRE score of 1324, 112 Toefl, 2 years of work exp, 79% BE, SOP, recommendation letters, resume (Other factors I have no idea). Its possible that similar profile candidates would have been denied admission (we never know).
        Good Luck 🙂

        • vignesh on December 11, 2011 at 8:55 AM

          yeah thank you so much for ur kind reply.and also thanks for ur wish.

  18. Rashi on December 9, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    im planning the same thing i know its difficult to get a phd (especially CS) admit even from a decent enuf university ( top 50) so better i apply for MS in CS later i can do phd from the top universities 🙂

  19. Anonymous on December 9, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    if you are really good u dont need an IIT tag
    one of the guys in my friends college ( MU )
    has an aggre of 80 n intership from nasa ( i doubt even an iitian made it to nasa)

    he got admit from Upenn

    n i think he may even get admits from more better instis

    if ur profile is gud it says it all an iit tag isnt imp !!!!!!

  20. Ankit Bansal on December 9, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    what about Delhi college of engineering.??Again one of a top 10 college in the country…seriously this iit thing is a misconception…

  21. koushik on December 9, 2011 at 4:28 AM

    what about BITS-PILANI tag ??

    • kumar chandrahas jha on December 10, 2011 at 7:38 PM

      It is equally strong tag internationally.

  22. Yash on December 8, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    What about the BITS Pilani tag??

    • KP on December 9, 2011 at 2:57 AM

      Ten of my seniors are in MIT , Stanford , Yale , Cornell, UT Austin and Georgia Tech. I did not study in IIT. I studied in College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University. So I am not sure about you Mandatory IIT tag requirement.

    • P on December 9, 2011 at 7:57 AM

      Hey, BITS also comes in the top 10 schools in INDIA (either in private or public+ private)

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