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Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - Page updated at 12:33 A.M.
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The India network: The entrepreneur Rajeev Agarwal, 39

Rajeev Agarwal incorporated MAQ Software the day he left his job at Microsoft. A native of India, he is a U.S. citizen who now works in Redmond but travels frequently to India, where most of his staff works.
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High technology from India is just down the street
Agarwal never heard of the vaunted Indian Institute of Technology until high school, and then his counselors discouraged him from applying. "They said nobody really gets into IIT; you're just wasting your money even with the application form," he recalled.

But the hard-working son of an attorney and a teacher beat the odds, graduating from the school in 1986. He got a job in a Suzuki auto factory in India and within a month realized life had more to offer than translating Japanese blueprints into English.

Agarwal attended graduate school in the United States, where half of his IIT graduating class ended up. He joined Microsoft just before the company took off in the 1990s.

"If you talk to my father today, he will say he did not want me to leave because he knew if I left I probably would not come back. He did not want to lose me," Agarwal said. "But frankly, at that time the economic opportunities in India were very limited."

Now he visits India at least four times a year to see family and the Mumbai office of MAQ Software, which he incorporated the day he left Microsoft.

Brier Dudley, Seattle Times staff reporter

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