Elated over their pupil’s elevation as the CEO of microblogging giant Twitter, Parag Agrawal’s former teachers on Tuesday said he had all it takes to excel, adding that focus and innovation made him stand out.

“He was a typical topper type material. He was extremely well-organised and very well-behaved. He had all the qualities in him to excel in academics in IIT-Bombay,” said Prof Supratim Biswas of the department of Computer Science and Engineering of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

“We get toppers from all over the country. But to the top among all of them requires a special calibre,” Biswas said, noting that Agrawal, winner of a silver medal at the IIT, was awarded the Young Alumni Achiever Award in 2019.

Subhasis Chaudhuri, Director of IIT Bombay, said the significance of a university is often judged by the collective achievements of its alumni and the glory that they bring to their alma mater.

“Parag Agrawal is one such alumnus that IIT Bombay is proud of. The education and the ambiance that IIT Bombay provided to Parag, not too long ago, helped in bringing out the best in him. Building on top of it with hard work and dedication, Parag has reached the top,” he said.

Anand Kumar, the principal of the Atomic Energy Junior College, Mumbai, where Agrawal did his Class XI and XII in 1999-2001, said he was always aiming for the IIT.

He had opted for science along with Vocational Education with electronics in junior college. In the projects he undertook, Agrawal displayed a lot of innovation, Kumar said.

“The findings (during the projects) may not have been noble, but they were definitely innovative. He was very focused and his answers were to the point without any kind of deviation,” Kumar told PTI.

Agrawal (37) then fulfilled his dream by gaining admission to IIT Bombay which boasts of alumni like Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and late Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

Son of an employee of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Agarwal did his initial schooling at the Atomic Energy Central School no 4, Mumbai.

School principal Jitendra Kumar said Agrawal was an exceptionally good student. “We take pride in his achievement,” he added.

After completing B Tech, Agrawal did his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2011. On the alumni page, Agrawal has written about his special memories associated with IIT Bombay.

“Working with friends to build shared storage and streaming services over the Hostel intranet and spending time near Vihar Lake behind Hostel 4 with close friends”.

He also wrote down his mantra for success: The whole can be much greater than the sum of parts. Indian Institute of Technology Bombay congratulated him on his elevation.

“Congratulations to our alumnus Dr. Parag Agrawal for being appointed the new CEO of Twitter. Dr. Agrawal obtained his B.Tech. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay in 2005,” the institute tweeted.

Mumbai-born Parag’s mother is a retired school teacher. His father was employed in the atomic energy sector and held senior positions there. Parag moved to the United States in 2005. In 2011, he joined Twitter while still pursuing his PhD at Stanford University

Twitter’s outgoing CEO Dorsey announced on Monday that Parag Agrawal will be the company’s new chief executive as he stepped down after 16 years at the company that he co-founded and helmed.

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