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Abhishek Bhardwaj, ICE batch 2011, is another one of our meritorious students who continues to embark on and magnify our story of success. Presently pursuing an MS from CMU, Pittsburgh, Abhishek takes out time for an interview with Vibhor Relhan of NSITonline.
Vibhor: You are amongst the very few in college who were successful
in making it to such an elite university while maintaining a good aggregate overall.
What is your “success mantra”?
Abhishek: There is no ‘success mantra’ as such. Honestly, it is about doing what you like and doing it sincerely. I realized that embedded was the domain I wanted to work in and started working towards it step by step. Since, working on projects related to Embedded was something that I was really passionate about, it never seemed to add to my work stress. Instead, it seemed to help me put my mind away from the poor way our education system is designed. Having said that, I was always keen to get the best out of what we were taught in classes and tried to apply that knowledge in my projects. I don't know if you can call that a “mantra”, I just did what I loved. As far as scoring marks is concerned, it doesn't signify anything but the mere fact that someone solved the previous years’ papers and studied on 2 consecutive nights with full honesty. A guy who studied the whole semester and a guy who studied the night before were more or less in the same boat. Just be sincere and honest, that should be enough.
Vibhor: What embarked your interest towards MS?
Abhishek: Frankly, the fact that programming chips seemed kind of cool was perhaps the only driving factor in my first year. The idea of writing a code that actually holds significance in the physical world seemed awesome. I wanted to be the guy, who could do a bit of tinkering with hardware and also be able to hack some code at the same time. Of course I now realize that embedded development is a far more rigorous process. But yes, an initial fascination to be a "cool" hacker and to be able to ‘play’ with hardware pushed me to continue learning about this further.
Vibhor: How did you prepare for GRE? Did you join any coaching?
Abhishek: I just studied a lot earlier than is advised. I don't think I am smart enough to crack a big exam in 2 months. So I decided to give myself ample time. (Think of it as Rahul Dravid spending more time at the crease but scoring a lot of runs :-)). By the end I was thorough with the wordlists.
I did join a coaching center towards the end, but it was more of a luxury expense. I didn't want to cut any corners, so I joined for tuning and practice tests. But having done that, I feel people can, and should score well without these coaching classes.
Vibhor: What according to you is the ideal time to start preparing yourself to achieve a good GRE score and a suitable profile to make it to the best universities?
Abhishek: A good GRE score is just one of the requirements. Ideally, one should start early and start exploring different fields. Once you know what interests you the most and is something that you would like yourself to associate with, stick to it and work towards specializing in that field. There is no specific ‘ideal’ time as such but somewhere in the middle of your 2nd year should be the time to start exploring and building up on a field of interest.
Vibhor: Could you shed some light on your Placement session…
Abhishek: I did not prepare for the placement season. I wasn’t interested in most of the jobs that are offered in India. However, due to "peer pressure" or just a mental psyche, I ended up sitting for placements. I applied for 11 companies in all-TI, DE Shaw were some of them. My coding skills were decent and I had a fair bit of knowledge of electronics. I was confident in my conversations and was good with my Math too. So I sat in Tech- Hardware and Software as well as Non-Tech, and ended up getting a job offer from ZS Associates.
Vibhor: How have your four years in NSIT affected you overall?
Abhishek: Having spent the last four years at NSIT, I am definitely more mature and open about certain things. Meeting different people with different backgrounds and skill sets (who are very good at what they do) forced me to really think and evaluate my opinions about life. I also learnt a lot from people across various branches. There were good people and bad people as well and college taught me how to deal with both of them.
PS- On a lighter note, the hostel was a lot of fun. I made some amazing friends and had a lot of adventures or misadventures as one may choose to call them :)
Vibhor: What is your vision of NSIT in the coming years? What is the one thing you would like to change in NSIT?
Abhishek: I don't really think that things will ever change at NSIT.
But I would have liked to change / update all courses and take some electives from CS. I would also make active research publications mandatory for the whole faculty.
Vibhor: What advice would you like to give to your juniors?
Abhishek: 1. Don't follow money, jobs or a particular University. Follow what you like and let it lead you where you are supposed to end up.
2. College is about your career but at the same time, It is also a very important part of life. So work hard but make sure to have fun along the way.
3. Make friends with the nerd, the "social-bee", the drinker, the smoker, the athlete etc. all these stereotypes can teach you a lot or at least be able to appreciate your stereotype a lot more. :D
In the end, I would just like to thank my close friends, especially from my class ICE-1.
For any queries or advice, please feel free to contact me at: