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How Indian Students studying abroad are contributing towards nation building

Updated on 01 October, 2023

Bulbul Sharma

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

nation building

India is a young and dynamic country with a large population. Its rich tapestry of knowledge and heritage has always encouraged its youth to seek enlightenment, both within and beyond its borders. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of Indian students studying abroad. In 2022, over 7.7 lakh Indian students went abroad to pursue higher education.

With thousands of students heading overseas annually for higher education, the interplay between global exposure and domestic development becomes crucial. But how do these global voyagers contribute to India's national building? Let's explore.

Blended support to India

There are a number of ways in which Indian students studying abroad can benefit India. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Boosting the Indian Economy through Investments and Entrepreneurship

Post their international education, many students are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. With a vision to innovate and drive change, they contribute significantly to India's burgeoning start-up ecosystem. Startup India Hub showcases numerous success stories of entrepreneurs who, fueled by their global experiences, are now torchbearers of India's economic revolution.

  • Knowledge Transfer and Skill Acquisition

Studying abroad exposes students to global best practices, state-of-the-art technologies, and innovative methodologies. On returning, they become conduits, transferring these newfound skills to Indian industries and academia. For instance, numerous professionals in India's booming IT sector have had stints at international universities, bringing back both technical know-how and a global work ethic.

  • Building Global Networks

Universities abroad offer more than just education - they provide a platform for global networking. These networks can become the foundation for cross-border collaborations, joint ventures, and

partnerships, positioning India favorably on the global stage. Such ties not only boost business but also foster cultural and diplomatic relations.

  • Promoting Indian Culture and Values

Indian students who study abroad become ambassadors for India, helping to promote Indian culture and values around the world.

  • Enhancing India's Reputation

When Indian students succeed abroad, it enhances India's reputation as a global leader in education and innovation.

  • Strengthening Research and Development in India

Indian students involved in research abroad often collaborate with institutions back home. This two-way flow of knowledge enhances the quality and scope of research in India. 

Contribution of NRIs to Indian Economy

International money transfers stand as the second primary pillar bolstering foreign exchange reserves and external funding for countries with low to middle incomes, right after Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). World Bank data suggests that for the South Asian region, remittances surpassed the influx from FDI in 2021, underscoring their dominant role. These financial transfers play a pivotal role in catalyzing the growth of emerging economies by supporting business ventures and individual families. Moreover, they also reflect a nation's credit reliability, signaling its capacity to secure more loans.

Emigrant populations serve as a rich reservoir of foreign capital, especially during external financial crunches. Many Indian emigrants choose to invest in NRI deposits within Indian banks. The Economic Survey of 2022 revealed that by September 2021, India's external liabilities saw a reduction of 3.9% from its June 2021 figures, settling at $593.1 billion. Remarkably, after exceeding pre-pandemic numbers in March 2021, the external debt saw further consolidation, propelled by rejuvenated NRI deposit activity. Projections suggest that India's external debts will likely stay below anticipated levels for emerging economies.

World Bank insights place India at the zenith of global remittance recipients, claiming a staggering 12% of the worldwide share. Interestingly, after a slight dip of 0.2% in 2020, remittance flows to India shot up by 8% in 2021.

Additionally, the RBI highlighted that the total remittance figures escalated by 61.8% year-over-year, reaching $2.03 billion in May 2022, a jump from $1.25 billion in May 2021.

For many years, the Indian economic landscape has greatly benefited from NRI remittances as a crucial source of foreign exchange. These inflows typically account for 2-4% of the GDP and generously supply around a quarter of India's entire foreign exchange reserves

Indian Students to Business Leaders at the Global Arena

There are many examples of Indian students who have studied abroad and have made significant contributions to their country.

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, studied in the United States before returning to India to work for Microsoft India. He later became the CEO of Microsoft, and he is now one of the most influential Indian business leaders in the world.


Manipal Institute of Technology (BS)

University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (MS)

University of Chicago (MBA)

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet and Google. Pichai studied in the United States and worked for Google India. He later became the CEO of Google, and he is now one of the most powerful people in the technology industry.


IIT Kharagpur (BTech)

Stanford University (MS)

University of Pennsylvania (MBA)

Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, studied in the United States and worked for PepsiCo. She later became the CEO of PepsiCo, and she is now one of the most successful Indian businesswomen in the world.


University of Madras (BS)

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (MBA)

Yale University (MS)

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the founder and chairperson of Biocon, studied in India before going to Australia to pursue her PhD in biochemistry. After completing her PhD she founded Biocon, which is now one of the leading biotechnology companies in India.


Bangalore University (B.Sc.)

Melbourne University (M.S.)

Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, studied in India before going to the United States to pursue his MS in electrical engineering at Stanford University. He later co-found Sun Microsystems, which was one of the most successful technology companies in the world.


IIT Delhi (BTech)

Carnegie Mellon University (MS)

Stanford University (MBA)


Indian students studying abroad are not just securing their futures, but potentially, they are scripting India's future narrative. With every returned scholar, India gains - in knowledge, in networks, in vision, and in global stature.

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

Bulbul is a self-driven professional and an expert writer & editor. She has been a part of the ed-tech industry for the past 2 years now and is motivated to provide study abroad aspirants with factually correct and relevant information. Her knack for impactful writing makes her blogs worth a read!

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