Education of Satya Nadella

Education of Satya Nadella

Whenever we come across the name of the Multinational giant Microsoft, the first name that pops up in the back of our head is usually Bill Gates. However, the name which carries the corporation on its shoulders today is Satya Nadella. One of the greatest personalities in the tech industry today, he is a living inspiration for many youngsters taking their initial career steps, especially in the corporate world. So, let’s look at the illustrious career and education of Satya Nadella and see what made him successful.

“The way I measure my life is – Am I better than I was last year?”


Full name  Satya Narayana Nadella
Birthday August 19, 1967 (age 53 years)
Birth Place Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Education Manipal Institute of Technology (B.Eng.), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (MS), University of Chicago (MBA)
Position Chairman and CEO of Microsoft
Current Residence Bellevue, Washington
Books Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone

Education of Satya Nadella: Formative Years

Nadella was born on 19th August 1967 to a well-educated Telugu family. His father, Bukkapuram Nadella was an Indian Administrative Service Officer while his mother, Prabhavati was a Lecturer of Sanskrit language. Satya has often mentioned how his father’s values and principles still hold water in his everyday actions and words – “I work and live in a very different context and time. And yet I am guided by the lessons he taught me by living his life to fulfil his passions and principles“. These deep-rooted scholarly values were a part of the education of Satya Nadella and reflected well in his performance, as he completed his schooling in Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet. 


“Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning.
You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn.”

Higher Education and Initial Career

Nadella could not crack the IIT entrance examinations in his first attempt and had to choose between Birla Institute of Science and Technology (BITS) Mesra and Mangalore University (now Manipal Institute of Technology). Choosing the latter, he completed his B.Sc in Electronics and Communication Engineering in the year 1988. 

After his graduation, Satya looked for educational opportunities abroad and finally got admitted to University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Shortly after completing his Masters in Computer Science in 1990. After which he worked at Sun Microsystems as a member of the tech team before getting his big break at Microsoft.


“Our industry does not respect tradition it only respects innovation.”

Youtube: Microsoft

Satya Nadella’s Success Story: Working at Microsoft

The year 1992 turned out to be exceptionally well for Satya, as he scored an Engineering job in Microsoft and also tied the knot with his longtime partner, Anupama. Some of his initial projects at Microsoft included the Windows NT operating system which brought in the revolutionary 32-bit system. While working at Microsoft, Nadella decided to pursue an MBA from the reputed Booth School of Business, the University of Chicago which he completed in 1996. This degree was a milestone in the education of Satya Nadella as after graduating, Satya was awarded his first Executive position as the vice-president of Microsoft bCentral in 2001. This department handled website hosting for many small businesses. A number of acquisitions and organizational changes led him to be the Vice President of Microsoft Business Solutions within a single year.

As time went on, Satya was soon recognized throughout the organization as an insightful and visionary leader who took decisive action with considerable foresight. His skills led him to be promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Microsoft Online Services in 2007, handling crucial departments like Bing and Xbox Live. In 2011, he presided over the Server and Tools division, which handles software like Windows and SQL Server databases. Such was his leading capability that the division grew by over 4 Billion dollars in revenue within two years of him taking over.

Courtesy: Xam Consulting

“I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work.”

Prominent Works as the CEO of Microsoft

All these contributions to the organization finally paid dividends for Satya as he was chosen as the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft in 2014, succeeding Steve Ballmer and working under the mentorship of Bill Gates. The time when Nadella was elected as CEO was especially crucial for Microsoft. Other companies were fast gaining foothold in the Productivity segment, while Microsoft’s mobile venture with Nokia failed to gain momentum in the market. As soon as Nadella got hold of the company reigns, he made a few decisive changes, some of which are:

  • Accepted Linux operating system on the Azure cloud, which was long deemed to be a rival.
  • Released Microsoft Office for Apple’s iPad and introduced the company’s first laptop.
  • Diversified by buying Mojang, the company that created Minecraft.
  • Released iPhone and Android productivity apps like Microsoft Outlook.
  • Skipped Windows 9 and released an extremely improved Windows 10

“Finally, I truly believe that each of us must find meaning in our work.
The best work happens when you know that it’s not just work,
but something that will improve other people’s lives.”

Life Lessons from Satya Nadella

Satya is one of the few people today who have led their life as well as their organisation by example. There are hundreds of things that a prospective leader or even a budding student can learn from the career and education of Satya Nadella, some of which are: 

Teamwork is Paramount

An avid follower of cricket, Satya has played the sport at the school level in his childhood. On many occasions, he has stated the importance of good teamwork and leadership values for a functional and effective organization. He once made a statement that went “the new bowler coaxed the opposing batsman to mis-hit a ball skyward, an easy catch for our cantankerous teammate now at mid-off. A catch was taken, and he became the star of the moment.” This implied the message that a single person’s irresponsibility can hamper the whole group’s performance.

Always have a Vision in Mind

Even in times of crisis, Satya took bold decisions. All these decisions were based on a clear understanding of a well-defined organisational objective. He did not focus on short-term revenues or predetermined work lines, instead, he went on to take risks in the market by investing resources in newer domains previously untouched by Microsoft like producing laptops and mobile applications like Microsoft Outlook. Coupled with innovation, these ventures helped Microsoft develop a niche in the market where it was losing its hold

There is no Limit to Hard Work

Satya Nadella’s story is a perfect example of starting at the bottom. He joined the company with an entry-level engineering job, and never looked back. As he progressed with his work with Microsoft, he kept on growing and learning throughout. This was reflected even in the education of Satya Nadella. When he felt the need of having leadership qualifications to progress further in his career, he pursued an MBA degree along with his job. This gave him an outlet from the traditional Engineering, giving him a break at the Vice President’s position in a department of the organization. Even at his executive job, he is known to work tirelessly, coming up with ways to keep the company par excellence.

Be Empathetic

In an interview, Satya recalled a specific question from his Job interview at Microsoft, where the interviewer asked, ‘If you are standing on a crossroad and you see a baby fall, what will you do?’ Unprepared for such a question at an IT job, Nadella replied he’d run to the closest phone booth and call 911. The interviewer got up, told Nadella the interview was over and walked him to the door. Nadella was stunned and asked him what happened. The interviewer said, ‘You need to develop empathy because when a child is crying you pick them up and hug them.’ Although Nadella was hired for the job anyway, he got to learn empathy later in his life on a more personal level when he witnessed his own children suffering from disabilities. 

Satya Nadela: Latest News

Microsoft Corp named Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella as its new chairman, in place of John Thompson  on Wednesday. Nadella, who became CEO in 2014 after Steve Ballmer, has been effectively scaling up its business including billion-dollar acquisitions like LinkedIn, Nuance Communications and ZeniMax. The company states that Thompson, who took over as chairman from the software giant’s co-founder Bill Gates in 2014, will serve as lead independent director.

The important executive change arose just over a year after Gates moved down from the board because he would focus on philanthropic works of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is one of the world’s biggest charities.

Presently, Satya Nadella continues to be at the helm of Microsoft, successfully guiding the company with his sharp acumen through the big changes happening in the tech industry. A company that many deemed to be outdated with its productivity tools in the era of cloud computing is successfully holding its ground in the market today, thanks to the able leadership of Satya Nadella. However, if you would ask him the same question, he would humbly credit his team, like every good player from his favourite sport. 

This concludes the article on Education of Satya Nadella. If you also wish to follow the footsteps of Satya and pursue higher education abroad, Leverage Edu is here to help. With our career experts and specialised test prep modules, your dream career destination is not that far away!

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