If you haven’t heard his name yet, you are definitely going to hear it very often from now on, as last week Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, transferred pretty much his absolute powers to Sundar Pichai, making him the most powerful Indian inside the world’s largest Internet company. Now Pichai is the new second-in-charge person of the multinational technological giant Google, which is slimmed down and rebranded as Alphabet. The management shakeup was announced on Monday by Larry Page personally.
Sundar Pichai, who is the Senior Vice President for Android, Chrome and Apps, has from now on been given command of all the products which Google offers, such as the search engine, maps, Google+, commerce and ads, and of course all the infrastructure that goes with that. This adds yet another success story to the list of hot MBA graduate jobs.
If you still don’t get the picture of how important Sundar Pichai is for Google now, you should know that he is on the same hierarchy level as Susan Wojcicki, the sister of Anne Wojcicki, co-founder Sergey Brin's ex-wife and in whose garage Google started from scratch. Anne Wojcicki is one of the veterans inside Google and is responsible for the management of YouTube and other semi-independent units such as Nest, Google X and Calico. Wojcicki and Pichai are both reporting directly to Larry Page. So now you get it, right?
His way to top MBA graduate jobs
Okay, but who is Sundar Pichai and how did he become the most powerful Indian inside Google?
Pichai Sundararajan, to give him his full name, was born in Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, the biggest industrial and commercial centre in south India. Chennai is also known as the “Detroit of India” for its thriving car industry and the second financial hub after Mumbai.
However, Pichai’s family was far from financially thriving. Sundar was living with his mother, father and younger brother in a two-room apartment. They didn’t have a TV nor did they have a car. They all used the family scooter for transportation or just popped on the bus when necessary. Pichai didn’t even have his own room; he shared the living room with his brother, but that didn’t stop him having his own dreams. From a very early age he nurtured an interest in electronics. His father was an electrical engineer for the British conglomerate GEC, so naturally he was the one who introduced Pichai to technology.
As a child Pichai faced technology for the first time when he was twelve and his family bought their first phone. The interesting fact here was that he was able to remember every number he dialled. At the time he had no idea how useful that skill would turn out to be
From Metallurgical Engineering to a top MBA
When he grew older Pichai studied metallurgical engineering at IIT Kharagpur and showed some great promise. According to his teachers, he was one of the brightest students. Pichai did so well at Kharagpur that he even earned a scholarship to Stanford. His family did everything possible to find the money to send their son to the prestigious school. His father spent all his savings and took a loan for a plane ticket to Stanford. Pichai finally arrived but dropped out of university shortly afterwards in order to start work as an engineer and product manager at Applied Materials. Fortunately he got an MBA degree from Wharton in 2002, which probably helped him a lot by landing him a job at McKinsey as a consultant.
At the top of Google
In 2004 Pichai made probably his most important move, joining Google. He started working on Google’s search toolbar and later proposed that the company should create their own browser. His idea was greatly appreciated by the co-founders and today Google Chrome holds 32 percent of the browser market on phones and PCs. This was actually the corporate catapult that fired Pichai right up to the first rows of the technology industry faster than anyone could imagine.
Another great accomplishment of Pichai's was Android, the world’s most popular operating system. In 2012 his version of the Chrome browser for Android replaced the mobile browser Rubin. In 2013 Larry Page made Pichai entirely responsible for managing Android.
And now, six years after Pichai’s breakthrough into Google’s technological world, he is literally number 2 to Google’s CEO Larry Page, who is obviously very satisfied with Pichai’s work and presence because, as his co-workers testify, Pichai’s enjoying a very “warm and easygoing rapport” with Page. As many of them say about Sundar Pichai’s rise in the company, he is the “proof that nice and hardworking guys can win.”
Find more interesting facts in PrepAdviser's infographic below: