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IBM: “India Is More Than Good”

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 6th 2006

At the heels of Apple pulling out of India comes IBM’s announcement that they will triple their investment in India to $6 Billion over the next 3 years.

In the past three years, the company has invested more than $2 billion in India and increased staff from 9,000 to 43,000, becoming the largest foreign employer in the country. India is IBM’s second-largest base of operations, trailing only the U.S., which has 125,000 of IBM’s 330,000 people.

Earlier, Cisco and Microsoft have already announced Billions of dollars of investment commitment into growing their India presence.

IBM has followed the strategy of building mutliple operations in different parts of India, and has large offices in Bangalore, Pune, Gaugaon, Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta. In the next round of investment, I am sure they will also tap into Hyderabad and Chennai, as well as other second tier cities. The sheer volume of their hiring needs offer them the opportunity to follow
The Team Of Twenty One philosophy.

Recently, a friend of mine came by to brainstorm about his career strategy. With a Bachelors from IIT Bombay, a PhD from Stanford, and several years of work experience in the US, his is a classic profile that feels velocity constrained in the US, but his career could absolutely fly in India, given the country’s hunger for Grade A engineering talent and leadership.

Of late, I have been advising all my Indian friends who are doing engineering careers in the US to go back to India. Interestingly enough, most of them have been in the US for a dozen plus years, and want to only return to a city where they have friends and / or family, and do not have to rebuild a social network from scratch.

I wonder to what extent employers understand and leverage this socio-cultural dynamic!

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