Mar 26, 2018 | Nupur Mohapatra

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He is the perfect definition of “Persistence pays off”. After securing a stellar rank of AIR 13 in the combined subject of Geology and Geophysics and a whooping AIR 2 in the Applied Geology stream, Somya Ranjan Mallick an M.Sc., a scholar of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences has succeeded in capturing the limelight amongst the numerous GATE qualifiers. He is a self-motivated learner and his patience and persistence have helped him in reaching great heights. Here are a few of the excerpts from his interview with Monday Morning.

Monday Morning (MM): Tell us about your childhood days?

Somya Ranjan Mallick(SRM): I was born and brought up in Keonjhar, Odisha. I have done my matriculation from Ashadevi government school and then boarded the CHSE train for my 12th boards. I obtained a decent percentile in both my 10th as well as 12th boards. Then I went on to do my graduation from Dharanidhar College in Odisha with Geology Honors. I was a naughty child back then and had a lot of fun at school. I took part in several science fares and exhibitions and was enlisted in the meritorious student’s category in a few of them. I was the kho-kho captain for my school and lead the team to several victories.

MM: How is life at NIT Rourkela?

SRM: I wanted to pursue engineering right from the start and adhering to the advice of my teachers and parents I decided to go for this “not so explored” branch of engineering. This stream provides ample scope for research as well as decent job opportunities.

I am not a part of any club at NITR. The time constraints do not allow me to take part in any extracurricular activities. Furthermore, GATE preparation also takes up a lot of time. Besides all this, I always try to find some time to share the fun ride with my friends out here.

MM: What are some of the conferences and research papers you have been a part of?

SRM: My conference paper is on “Determination of Seismic Potential in the faults in Northeast India”. The paper basically deals with finding the seismic potential in the faults in the North-Eastern zones of India to predict the frequency of earthquakes. The basement rock in these zones is very weak and thus the possibility of earthquakes in this region is high. I am doing this paper under the guidance of Prof. Bhaskar Kundu.

MM: When did you decide to start preparing for GATE?

SRM: I decided to take up the GATE exam because of the numerous career opportunities that the success in this exam provides. I wanted to be a part of PSUs like ONGC and the path that leads to it is a good rank in GATE. I decided to prepare for GATE just six months prior to the examination that would be around mid-July or August.

MM: How many hours did you spend each day on GATE preparation? What is your key to success and what resources aided you in the process?

SRM: I spent about 2-3 hours each day on my preparation. I did not take any classroom coaching for the GATE exams. I feel meticulous self-study is enough to achieve such goals. Prof. Md. Equeenuddin, the Head of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences served as an ardent motivator and guide throughout the entire preparation period.

The key to success would be smart and consistent studying. Working hard a bit each day and sticking to the syllabus will definitely prove useful in the long run.

I obtained the suggestions for the requisite books from seniors who had previously appeared for the exams. An Introduction to Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology by J.D. Winter, Sedimentology by Gary Nicols and Structural Geology by Hackon Fossen are some useful books. I got my doubts cleared with the aid of the Internet and few of my friends Omkar, Satyambad, and Subhransu were very supportive during the entire process.

MM: How instrumental was the institute in general and department in particular to your success in GATE?

SRM: Institute played a major role in giving me the push towards success and I am fortunate enough to have had the facilities. As far as GATE preparation is concerned, one doesn’t need very high experimental facilities but you need to have people who can clear your doubts. All the professors of my department have played an instrumental role in my success.

MM: How was your internship at IIT Kharagpur? How did you manage to bag the internship?

SRM: My first internship was at IIT Kharagpur through the Indian Academy of Sciences just after my graduation. A thesis needs to be written and submitted at IAS following which the impact points are evaluated and the thesis is ranked; based upon which a person gets selected for the internship. At NIT during my M.Sc. tenure, I did a mandatory internship at BSLC, Biramitrapur.

MM: You recently got placed at Vedanta. Tell us about the selection procedure.

SRM: It was a two-step selection process. The first step involved a Group discussion followed by a Viva-voice. This is the first time after the setting up of the Department that students have got placed.

MM: What are your future plans?

SRM: I plan on joining ONGC as that has been my aim right from the very start.

MM: Any advice for the future aspirants of GATE?

Prepare for the worst situation by giving your best each time. The main key lies in getting your concepts cleared. Too much studying is not necessary but regular studying is a must. Smart and streamlined studying will certainly lead you to success. A period of 6 months is enough to finish the entire preparation provided you have the prerequisite knowledge of the things to be studied and the approach to be taken.

HOD Speaks

Being a new department, each of our faculty members is trying their best to set a landmark. He (Somya) has achieved a stellar rank owing to which the prospects in this department are being seen in a new light. This is the only NIT that offers MSc. in Applied Geology. This is a great achievement for our department and I hope our students draw inspiration from this and come out with flying colors each time. The placement scenario of the department is also changing and we were very pleased to have our first batch of students placed after two years of the inception of the branch.


Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


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