Earning a spot in one of India’s elite universities is no easy feat. The grueling entrance exam weeds out all but 2 percent of those vying for an education at one of the campuses of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). There’s no consideration for extracurricular activities or personal obstacles overcome. “It’s one test on one day. Every child gets a national rank. On the basis of that, you get in or you don’t,” says Akshay Saxena, who graduated from IIT Bombay with a degree in chemical...


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