Sundar Pichai’s Journey from Chennai to Billionaire Google CEO

Sundar Pichai’s father spent a year’s salary on his flight to Stanford.

  • Sundar Pichai’s father spent a year’s salary on his flight to Stanford.
  • Pichai’s net worth now estimated at $1 billion.
  • Pichai shared his early struggles and success story at a virtual ceremony.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, originally from Chennai, revealed that his father spent almost a year’s salary on his flight ticket to the US so he could study at Stanford. This significant sacrifice paved the way for Pichai’s remarkable journey to becoming one of the few non-founder tech CEOs with a net worth of around $1 billion (Rs 8342 crore).

Speaking at YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020 virtual ceremony, Pichai recounted the challenges he and his family faced. “My father spent the equivalent of a year’s salary on my plane ticket to the US so I could attend Stanford. It was my first time ever on a plane,” he shared. Pichai emphasized the importance of passion for technology and maintaining an open mind as key factors in his success.

Pichai urged graduates to “be open, be impatient, be hopeful,” encouraging them to view challenges as opportunities for change. Reflecting on his own experiences, he mentioned growing up with limited access to technology and how his first real exposure came only when he moved to America for graduate school.

Now 52 years old, Pichai has spent over 20 years at Google. He holds a degree in metallurgical engineering from IIT Kharagpur, an MS in material science and engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Despite his humble beginnings in a two-room apartment in Chennai, Pichai’s dedication and his family’s sacrifices have led to his extraordinary achievements.