lily singh
Lilly Singh Source: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

YouTube star Lilly Singh is just one of the recent examples of successful Indian women shattering glass ceilings. Many more have come before them and many more will come after Singh.

They seem like they were born with it — the charisma, the courage, the knowing of everything it takes to be the best in their field. 

The truth is closer to this: they got the right training. After finding their schtick and what they love doing, they were lucky enough to get a good education.

This, paired with a little talent and a lot of hard work, is often cited as the true driver of success, as the journeys of Singh and other stars in their respective fields show:

The education of Lilly Singh and three other successful Indian women

1. Indra Nooyi

lilly singh

Indra Nooyi is the former CEO of PepsiCo and board member of Amazon. Source: Mat Hayward/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Born in Madras, Indra Nooyi is the first female CEO of PepsiCo and is a board member of Amazon. 

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Madras Christian College, she earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta two years later. 

After moving to the US, she received an additional master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Management.

For the next six years, Nooyi worked as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. She later held executive positions at Motorola, Inc., and the engineering firm Asea Brown Boveri (now ABB).

During her time as CEO of PepsiCo, she removed aspartame from Diet Pepsi to make the soft drink healthier.

Her most notable achievements during her 12 years of tenure? Growing PepsiCo’s sales by 80%.

2. Lilly Singh 

Widely known as IISuperwomanII, Lilly Singh, is a Canadian Youtube personality, comedian, and actress.

Though not an international student, she is among the most successful women of Indian descent. 

She attended Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Malvern, Toronto and graduated with a bachelor’s of arts in psychology from York University, Toronto. 

Singh topped the 2017 Forbes Top Influencers List in the entertainment category and is 10th on the Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid YouTube stars.

She also leads the #GirlLove social media campaign encouraging girls all over the world to end girl-on-girl hate. 

Along with the campaign, Singh created a “Girl Love” Rafiki and helped thousands of girls, namely in Kenya and India, to gain an education.

3. Barkha Dutt

lilly singh

Barkha Dutt’s reporting on the Kargil War front in 1999 propelled her to fame as a journalist. Source: Jemal Countess/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

An iconic Indian TV journalist and an unprejudiced author, Barkha Dutt was a part of NDTV (New Delhi Television Ltd) for 21 years. 

Born and raised in India’s capital city, New Delhi, Dutt’s desire to become a journalist was fuelled by her mother who was also a pioneer among female journalists in India.

Her mother taught her survival tactics in this competitive field. 

She graduated with a degree in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.

She then went abroad to receive a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism under the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation scholarship.

Dutt was regarded as one of the prominent figures of the nation after her war reporting on the Kargil War front in 1999.

She has won over 40 national and international awards such as the Padmashri (India’s fourth-highest civilian honour).

She was recognised twice as Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.

4. Mira Nair

lilly singh

Mira Nair, director of the “Salaam Bombay!” film,” found her fire for documentary filmmaking at Harvard. Source: Michael Tran/AFP

Mira Nair is an Indian-American director known for her documentaries and feature films dealing with controversial subject matters.

Among her best-known films are “Mississippi Masala,” “The Namesake,” “Monsoon Wedding” and “Salaam Bombay!”. 

She majored in Sociology at Miranda House at Delhi University and left a year later upon accepting a full scholarship offered by Harvard University.

It’s here that she developed an interest in documentary filmmaking. 

Her movie “Salaam Bombay” won the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards and César Awards in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.