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How Nadella revived the fortunes of Manipal University

March 19, 2014 11:35 IST

How Nadella revived the fortunes of Manipal University

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Manu Balachandran in New Delhi

Wall Street might have been lukewarm to Satya Nadella’s appointment as the chief executive officer of Microsoft but in India the development has revived the fortunes of Manipal University, his alma mater. 

Consider this: the number of students applying to Manipal Institute of Technology has swelled 33 per cent to 40,000 in the ongoing admission season.

The number is expected to rise further in the coming days.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Manipal University

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While applications to engineering colleges, especially top institutes, typically rise every year, Manipal’s case is different. For the past few years, the average number of applications has been about 30,000.

The institute believes Nadella is one of the reasons for the rise in the number of applications this year.

However, the institute is not planning to raise the number of seats from the existing 1,500, even though it estimates the total applications this year to touch 50,000.

Among other private engineering colleges, Birla Institute of Technology and Science saw an increase in its total applications from 166,000 last year to 176,000 this year - a growth of six per cent.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Manipal University

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“It is always good to get visibility and we are happy about the success of our alumni. We are not saying that their elevation has not helped us, but the institute is one of the most recognised in India. This is the dream of any institute,” says Vinod V Thomas, director, Manipal Institute of Technology.

The institute, established in 1957, is rated among the top private engineering colleges in India. After Nadella, another Manipal product, Rajeev Suri, is being considered for the CEO of Nokia.

The University is now trying to bring in either of its famed alumni for convocation slated for May.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Manipal University

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Nadella belongs to the 1987 batch, while Suri is from the class of 1989.

On Saturday, Manipal University had issued a press release indicating that Suri, head of Nokia’s telecom network equipment division, is likely to become the Finnish group’s next CEO following the sale of its handset business to Microsoft.

“I would not like to disregard the Nadella factor. But Manipal has been consistently performing well over the past few years and in today’s scenario, I would be surprised if they did not see more interest from the consumers. But at the same time, there are a number of engineering colleges where students can walk in and take admission because of excess supply. Across engineering, over the past decade, interest has been significantly on the rise”, says Satya Narayanan R, founder, Career Launcher, which prepares students for competitive exams for undergraduate courses.

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Image: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft

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Riding high on its alumni wave, Manipal has also decided to raise its fees for the current year by an additional 10 per cent. Currently, first-year students at the engineering college spend Rs 2.46 lakh.

Even as the college has been elated over its famed alumni, the current batch is not sure if the likes of Nadella have done much for the institute. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Manipal University

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“There have been posters across the college and they are trying to bring Nadella for convocation, but the general sense is he might not turn up. Now, they are also raising the fees,” says a second-year student at Manipal Institute of Technology.

“We had agreed on the fee increase much earlier and it has nothing to do with the elevation of Nadella as CEO of Microsoft. The management had decided that a 10 per cent raise in annual fee is acceptable”, says Thomas.


Photographs: Courtesy, Manipal University

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