As a Grad School applicant, I’ve done a little bit of research on how RVCE alumni have fared in admission season. I think I can safely say that RV is pretty well positioned.
There’s no real competition to the IITs, and there’s no question about that. Many schools won’t even look at non-IIT profiles unless you’ve got a killer GRE, acads and seriously awesome research projects.
NITs are much lower than IITs when you look at it that way. Especially in the US, if you’re an Indian student, you’re either from an IIT or not. There exists no stratification like we have (IIT>NIT>Everyone else). This is where the GRE score kicks in; NIT grads tend to have higher GRE scores than everyone else, and the research environment is much better in NITK/W/T, so they have an upper hand. That is of course at an individual level. There may be a chance that some people remember the name of NITK, but for all practical purposes, it’s either IIT or no IIT.
Like many, RV also has some “pet” grad schools (or maybe it’s the other way round). Many, many RV students are there in Purdue, Delft and GaTech (all awesome schools) which indicates that RV students are making a mark there. It does not mean that these places are easy to get in for RVites; Purdue or GaTech is ambitious for anybody. On the flip side, I don’t know many guys who have got into UT Austin, UCSD, UCSB (or any of the UCs in general), ETHZ or Imperial. Of course, I do know of one or two who have got into MIT and UMich AA.