What Was Sundar Pichai’s IIT Rank? We Investigate

Sundar Pichai is one of India’s best-known executives. He is the CEO of Google, and has now also been awarded a Padma Bhushan by the government of India. Sundar Pichai’s journey is well-known, starting from his school in Chennai, his stint at IIT, his move to the US, his journey through Google, and his eventual appointment as is CEO. While there’s plenty known about Sundar Pichai’s life, there’s one aspect that’s still not well known: What was Sundar Pichai’s IIT rank?

Sundar Pichai’s IIT rank

We scoured through the internet, and there are no reliable sources that reveal Sundar Pichai’s IIT rank. While there are some claims, there is no definitive answer to what was Sundar Pichai’s IIT rank was. As far as we can tell, Sundar Pichai has never revealed his IIT rank in an interview. Also, his IIT rank has never been revealed by a batchmate and carried in a reliable publication.

While it will be possible to know Sundar Pichai’s IIT rank only when he reveals it himself, or someone from his family shares this information, it can be possible to take an educated guess at what his IIT rank was.

It’s well-known that Sundar Pichai attended IIT Kharagpur. This IIT Kharagpur post from 2013 reveals that he graduated in 1993 with a degree in Metallurgy. Since Sundar Pichai had only finished a Bachelor’s degree from IIT, it can be concluded that he had joined the institute four years prior, in 1989.

Now we tried to find out the number of people who had qualified the IIT JEE in 1989. This article reveals that 90,000 people had written the IIT JEE in 1989, and of which 1,700 students had been selected. As such, Sundar Pichai’s IIT rank is certainly below 1,700.

This article says that Sundar Pichai chose to do a thesis in electrical materials in his third year, which indicates he was interested in Electrical and electronics engineering. As such, it’s unlikely Sundar Pichai chose Metallurgy at IIT Kharagpur because he was interested in the subject — like most people who pick Metallurgy, he chose to do so because he couldn’t find a seat in one of his preferred branches.

Sundar Pichai was also from Madras, so he could’ve chosen to attend IIT Madras, which could’ve been closer to home. But he chose to attend IIT Kharagpur which was a long way away. This also indicates that Pichai was unable to find a branch of his preference with his IIT rank.

As such, we estimate Sundar Pichai’s rank was likely between 1300-1700. A rank higher than this would’ve enabled Sundar Pichai to study one of the more popular courses, such as Computer Science or Electronics, or at least study closer to home in Madras. The fact that he chose to study Metallurgy at IIT Kharagpur indicates his IIT rank, in 1989, would’ve been somewhere between 1300 and 1700.

But even if Sundar Pichai’s IIT rank didn’t quite enable him to get a seat of his choice at IIT, he managed to excel nevertheless. Sundar Pichai topped his batch in the Metallurgy department, his name is on the IIT Kharagpur Metallurgy honours board to this day.

The list of toppers at the Metallurgical Engineering department of IIT Kharagpur bears Sundar Pichai’s name as the topper for the batch of 1993. But IIT remembers him as P Sundarajan, rather than Sundar Pichai. (Shuvankur/HT Photo)
Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/20-years-of-google-iit-kgp-remembers-sundar-the-student/story-m1A6akTDlLWQszk7uLBTIN.html

We will, of course, update this article if Sundar Pichai ever reveals his IIT rank in an interview and it’s published by an established source.