When Prof Steve Evans at Univ of California at Berkeley came to know that I has taken statistics under Prof. Feinsilver at SIU, Carbondale, he was excited. Seemed like Feinsilver was well respected in academic circles. SIU-C is hardly rated very high but that didn’t matter. Berkeley was rated very high but it didn’t matter.
It is quite prevalent in USA. A person gets admission to MIT, but his family is in Colorado, and his family needs him, he rejects MIT and stay backs in Colorado. Nothing unusual.
In America people just need a fairly decent place so they can study to the best they can.
In India technical people needs IIT, and any department, and change it to computer latter if given a chance.
And most don’t learn at IIT. In my entire 5 years in IIT I attended 4-5 courses, for the rest I skipped them. Didn’t learn a thing. Afterwards got admission at IIM-Bangalore and a job at Larsen and Toubro.
That’s why people want to attend IITs. Mostly to get a job abroad, get 1.5 crore or so rupee package, become a very suitable marriage partner.
Therefore preparing for IIT is like you are preparing for your life’s destination, Getting in is getting getting Moksha. Was in likely 2018 in Powai, Ola rental’s CEO was there, he talked about his journey from Kota to IIT and people liked it.