IIT JEE gives examinations all over a bad name; it is the bad boy of examinations. But just like moths that are drawn to the fire, thousands of aspirants perish each year in this race to the top. Their aspirations are understandable as this exam is the doorway to a promised land, and cracking the passcode will open the door.
That, however, is the most difficult part, for the door only opens to the most hardworking and the ones with a bit of luck on their side. But then again, when you spend so much time preparing for it, the line between the most deserving and the ones who are not gets blurred. Like the Sorting Hat, the onus of picking the most deserving then lies on the exam.
IIT JEE has been picking the best of the lot, annually, since 1960. True to what is usually believed, the toppers of this exam, make an oyster out of the world. Rightfully so.
And when you have the entire world in your palm, what do you do? What is that one thing that can match up to your mettle? Not only are the toppers exceptionally hard working, they are equally talented.
A user on Quora asked what the all India toppers were upto and the answers varied from the expected to the surprising.
Most of the toppers went into research, helping to take their respective fields forward. Arvind Thiagarajan bagged the 1st rank in 2001, completed his PhD from MIT and is currently working as a research scientist at Amazon US. Sushant Sachdeva, the AIR 1 of 2004 is currently pursuing his PhD from Yale after having completed his Masters from Princeton University. A lot of them have bagged themselves some very lucrative positions in top MNCs.
Many, however, are giving back to society by teaching because God knows we need their knowledge and skills. Nitin Gupta who bagged the first rank in the year 2000 has been teaching at IIT Kanpur after completing his Masters from University of California.
And the younger crop, yet to graduate have their own vivid dreams. Prudhvi Tej, the topper in 2011 is currently pursuing Electrical Engineering from IIT Mumbai and plans to become an IAS officer eventually. The 2013 topper, Pallerla Sai Sandeep Reddy is pursuing his graduation from IIT Mumbai and wishes to do his post-graduation in robotic technology.
Some of them have become legends of sorts and their success stories are passed on from one batch of aspirants to the next.
One legendary topper was Narendra Krishna Karmakar in 1973 who developed what is known as the Karmakar algorithm.
He was a student of IIT Mumbai and completed his post-graduation and PhD from the University of California. He was the inventor of a polynomial algorithm for linear programming also own as the interior point method. Karmakar eventually taught at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
Some have even taken the path less travelled, like the 2006 topper Raghu Mahajan. He graduated from MIT and completed his PhD at Stanford. He is currently working with Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.
At the end of the day, what the toppers decide to do with their enviable feat is their prerogative because the promised land might differ from one brilliant mind to the other.