The Benevolent Erudite: Bibek Sahu
Sahithi Ravipati | Apr 09, 2018
Quiet. Studios. Humble. These are the three words that best describe the final year Mechanical Engineering Student. With an All India Rank of 1917 and an overall score of 71.89, Bibek Sahu stood first among the NITR Mechanical Engineering students.
MM: Tell us about your formative years and your life before NITR. How did NITR happen to you?
BS: I hail from Baripada, which is located in the Mayurbhanj district in Odisha. I did my schooling up to class 10 in St.Ann’s which was located in Baripada itself. While pursuing my class 11 and 12 though, I had shifted to Bhubaneshwar and studied at BJB Junior College. Coming to my personality, from my childhood I have always been very shy and introverted and that has carried forward to date.
From the beginning, I was keen on taking up Mechanical Engineering as at that time it was the “top branch”. Adding to this, even in Class 12, my favorite subject had been Mechanics. So, I felt this would be the right branch for me. That being said, I had initially wanted a seat in the IITs but I did not do well in JEE Advanced. Not only Mechanical but I wasn’t able to secure any core branch in the good IITs. Hence, I decided pursuing Mechanical Engineering at NITR would be the best.
MM: What are some of your most memorable experiences in NITR so far? How have the academics and co-curricular shaped you as a person?
BS: Frankly speaking, for the past year or so, my number one aim has been to secure a good rank in the GATE Examination. Having done that now, I think this is something that I will remember forever very fondly. As far as friends are concerned, there are some memories as well but being an introvert not many are there. Also, when speaking of extracurriculars, I had joined ASME during my second year but I ended up leaving during my third year. I haven’t been very active in the extracurriculars on campus.
MM: Why did you choose to prepare for GATE? How did you go about your preparation for the GATE exam? Did you specifically dedicate a couple of hours per day for GATE? What resources did you use to prepare?
BS: I have a CGPA of 8.58, owing to which I cannot sit for a lot of PSUs that visit the campus. As I, however, wanted a chance at a job at a PSU, I prepared for GATE as it was an alternative. Adding to that, I wanted to appear in a competitive exam like that of JEE before I leave college. So, I began to study for GATE from the summer of my third year. Once college had begun I had to find ways to divide my time between the College Curriculum and the GATE Curriculum. Many times, this division of time would be more difficult than the actual studying. I never dedicated a certain number of hours per day to study for GATE. Rather I studied when I found the time.
MM: Have you attended any form of coaching? How has that helped your performance? If not, how did you get your doubts cleared?
BS: I joined the test series by MadeEasy. For any theoretical information needed, I would often refer to NPTEL lectures. I didn’t stick to any particular set of books during my preparation. Only thing is, I referred to Kreyzig for the Mathematics part. I primarily used to google for the Numerical Ability part.
Whenever I had doubts, I would google it. If this didn’t work I would look into select NPTEL videos to clarify the doubts. Coaching is not at all needed. They may aid you in some ways if you take up coaching but cracking GATE is purely possible without coaching.
MM: How has NITR helped you whilst preparing?
BS: The curriculum for GATE and that taught in NITR do not really line up. In fact, at times they seem to be going in opposite directions sometimes which makes it extremely difficult. Thankfully, I did get help from professors such as Prof.S.K.Patel who taught me in the 7th semester.
Like I said before, the biggest hardship is the differences in the curriculums.
I think it would be of great help if the institute changes the subjects’ contents to line up with that of GATE. This would help more students get accolades in these exams. Also, I think an emphasis on the numerical aspect as opposed to the theory aspect of the course would also be of great help to students.
MM: You pursued an internship in CSIR-IMMT during the summer of your third year? Did that practical experience help your preparation in any way?
BS: During my time there, I was working on a project on the topic “Characterization study of Copper turnings”. I wasn’t very serious about my internship there but I found that the internship was easier than the GATE preparation.
MM: What are your future plans? Will you be pursuing your Higher Education or taking a job at a PSU?
BS: I plan on taking up a job with a PSU as of now. After I work for 2 or 3 years, I will most likely pursue by M.Tech or my Master’s degree for a university abroad.
MM: What tips do you have for your juniors?
I think the most important thing to crack a given examination is the focus and hard work. I suggest that anyone who wants to crack GATE should definitely join a test series. Until then you won’t know how the questions are framed. I believe that is what helped me the most.