The Multifaceted Achiever: Kumar Shaswat

The Multifaceted Achiever: Kumar Shaswat

Smruti Sudha Biswal | Feb 18, 2019

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Hard work, dedication and commitment. These three words might fall short describing Kumar Shaswat. A jubilant person, fondly called as “Golu” in his peer group, Kumar Shaswat, a final year dual degree student from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is one gem of a person. From being a robust shuttler in his freshman year to shouldering the responsibility of Dean’s nominee in his third year and finally being one of the Placement Coordinators in his fifth, he has tapped into the adventurous space of college life garnering memories to cherish for oblivion. Amidst the backdrop of groping silence at the TnP cell (or Training and Placement cell, as is officially known) in TIIR building, he narrates his “best days of life” to team MM. 

Here is an excerpt from the interview.

MM: Tell us something about your background regarding where you were born and brought up and where did you complete your schooling?

KS: I hail from a small place in Odisha called Sukinda Chromite mines. I did my schooling from Stewart schools, whose branches are spread all over Odisha. My hometown is famous for its chromites. There is a Tata Steel campus brimming with Mining culture. Since there was no scope of intermediate education there, we had to move to Bhubaneswar. I joined Mother’s Public School for my intermediate studies. I undertook coaching for JEE along with my school academics.

MM: How did NITR happen to you? Was engineering a choice or it occurred to you by chance?

KS: Yes. Engineering was my choice. The place where I used to stay hosted Tata Steel interns from institutes like IIT (ISM), Dhanbad, IIT BHU. They were quite influential. We used to play with them and shared quite a good time. By seeing it gave the vibes and strong determination that I have to crack this IIT thing. Regarding Computer Science, it was the only branch I was ready to opt. Had it not been for Computer Science at NIT, Rourkela I would have pursued the same discipline at some other private institute. Though I did not fetch a good rank in JEE Mains, I would deem myself as one of those lucky persons who got the advantage of the 40/60 division of JEE marks for getting admission into IITs and NITs. I was placed among the top 10 students of Odisha which gave me the privilege of bagging a CSE seat at NITR. I used to fall in that mischievous category of boys where we used to sit in the back benches, used to play cricket during leisure. But seriousness hovered during the time of examinations. And then NITR CS happened which I am really proud of!

MM: Can you describe your experience at NITR as a fresher?

KS: Nervous! I had one of my family friends who were in his final year. So I had this hopeful feeling that I might escape from the clutches of ragging under his name. Moreover, I was a known face to many of the students here. The first month was exciting. Badminton court was housed in the hostel. I also fell victim to ragging. It is quite a common notion among people that ragging is unhealthy. I would approve this in a partial affirmative statement. Ragging is not that bad, but then it somewhere bridges the gap between seniors and juniors. Fresher’s happened where I was adjudged as the Mr Fresher. That boosted up my morale and shot up my confidence to perceive that I want to do some commendable things in my college life. I used to be in the institute Badminton team Shutters, even now I am a part of it.  Unfortunately, other assignments and engagements render it quite difficult for me to attend. As a result, my attendance in the team has now been compressed to just attending parties.

In my freshman year basically after October, I was dedicated entirely to Badminton.  I met some amazing seniors, Rajesh sir, and Gourav sir to name a few. They were the ones who occupied the position next to my parents. Starting from teasing to teaching those seniors happened to stand by me through thick and thin. Sports are something which always keeps you connected. The transition from nervous to smooth occurred just then.

MM: Shed some light on the extracurricular activities you were a part of. Were you a part of any clubs?

KS: I got inducted into Spawn in my first semester itself. I also tried for Design Tab. I sat for the inductions. We were asked to design a page. I completed my task. It was appreciated by one of the mentors who were from a pre-final year or final year. But to my dismay, my name wasn’t shortlisted in the list of inductees. Later I came to know from some sources that I had forgotten to write my name in the sheet. It was back then but that was the club where I wanted to get in to.

MM: Can you enlist your contributions to the club at the time of fests and other activities you were a part of?

KS: Spawn at that time was not a renowned club. The domains were restricted to coding, though now students are being guided through other allied areas. One thing which is unique about spawn is you familiarize with some amazing seniors who will be your constant support system with regards to coding. We conducted many attractive and well-received events like Codex. A few workshops, as well as events, were renewed in my sophomore year which was no more conducted.

The CS Museum was our initiative along with a few other students who are presently in the fourth year. It is like a family as most of you are aware of.

Coming down to fests, we organized Codex bringing forward the legacy of our seniors. Not many such events were organized at NITR, so we decided to perform this on a grander scale. There were 2 rounds for it. We had allotted juniors for carrying out some tasks. We made them sit at the library and listen to the rock band music from DTS; we prepared questions in the night. That round went really well. From there, we became familiar with how the events were conducted.  The first day was successful. It was followed on the second day by a bidding round. The girl whom we had entrusted this responsibility panicked at the last moment. Everything was then in chaos. I sent back everyone and assured them that I would come up with some of the other solutions. I stayed awake for the entire night and sorted things out. The remaining event was conducted from 7 am to 9 am and it turned out to be a grand success.

MM: You had a very instrumental role in conducting Urban Crusade. Could you narrate this experience of yours?

KS: Well, I would say that was the best phase of my college life. It is the one which influenced me to take up the leadership role. I being an introvert, this event led me to come to tap the space out of my comfort zone and take up the responsibility of a leader shedding all inhibitions and inner constraints. One of my seniors asked me to frame a team. Urban crusade was the brainchild of Ashwin Behera. It was a treasure hunt kind of event. Since we were in my freshman year, we simply prepared a few questions. What occurred in my sophomore year was great! We tapped our highest potential and gave efforts to spending sleepless nights. It was one of the most highlighted events in NU drawing the participation of around 275 participants.

My sophomore year as I recall was one of the best years of my college life. Our seniors had won the elections. I was the Central coordinator in that year itself. I was responsible for event management. We started working for NU from December itself visiting different companies for sponsorship. Many of our requests were turned down. We started visiting different colleges as a part of the offline publicity.

Different teams started working alongside. Generally, in a fest the design fails to get the required amount of credit, but it is their contribution which heightens the aesthetics and vibes of a fest. Few members of Chitraang had contributed a lot to the designs. Bibhu bhai, the then convenor of NU had coined the terms: left wing and right wing. While I came in the left wing, Avishek Sahoo came in the right wing. We were responsible for transportation, guest house bookings etc. Those days were filled with mixed emotions where we have been lauded for our accomplishments and at the same time rebuked for being inefficient. Yes, they were the golden days of my college life. Urban Crusade was also being organized that year. We ended up getting sponsorships from Essen Construction. We (Sibasis, Deepika, Dibyam and me) had also developed an app. I remember Ashwin bhai knocking my door early in the morning one day to shoot a short campus tour video in order to guide the participants. We sought the help of the design team and executed the plan really well.

Coming to NU, the best pro show I have experienced till date is The Local Train. There hasn’t been any band yet which can match the standards of the Local Train. The music gave me goosebumps and it does even now.

MM: You were the Dean’s nominee in your third year. How did this opportunity come by for you?

KS: Since I was an active member of extra-academic activities in my sophomore year, all the VPs had known me really well. Sasmita Ma’am was aware of my contributions to the NITR society. We were in the zone, so I wanted to contest from the elections. We had our group, and I was the representative from my zone. There was a lot of chaos and disturbance at that time. Eventually, there were other groups who were contesting the elections and we all lost, only Nishant Thacker won. It was heartbreak for me and I was shattered. I was quite ambitious to take leadership this time, but since we lost elections all my hopes were shattered. Since they had seen the amount of work I had done, Sasmita Ma’am called up Bibhu bhai, the then convenor and asked him to consider my name for the Dean’s nominee. I was indirectly chosen. Sasmita Ma’am had said that I would be one of the Dean’s nominees. I then followed the official procedure by submitting the requisite documents. Moreover, I had lost elections and I deeply wanted to shoulder a big responsibility this time. So this is how things were carried forward.

MM: How did you manage to strike a perfect chord with your academics and extracurricular after being involved in so many activities?

KS: I was able to fetch a 9-grade point in the semester where I had worked for innovation, while my CG drastically dropped down to 7 when I was deeply involved in NU. That semester of CS is a bit tough. If the grades of toppers had reduced from 9.8 to 9, it is obvious for people like me to score less who study the night before the exams. The main rescue point was I never had any grade backs. Even though I used to doze off in class, I never missed any classes. I have also been kicked out of the class many times. But the night before the exam used to be very crucial. I had a good friend circle that used to make those tough times bearable. We would feed ourselves from the Night Canteen and then sit for study at a stretch. Honestly, I had a decent CG all along.

MM: Narrate your experience of NU while being the Dean’s nominee.

KS: The experience was really wonderful. I and Punjaya used to look after a lot of things. Most of our work was reduced due to Samyak. He is a wonderful junior to me. Whenever I used to entrust him with any work, he used to carry it out with full efforts. His work culture echoed with mine, we both performed tasks with full dedication and effort. We three along with Nishant took care of many things, though were some disturbances poking in the middle. Until end December everything went on well. We weren’t responsible for everything, though. Things didn’t go well. The equations did not fit. We were a bit sidelined. Whatever efforts were possible with the help of Sasmita Ma’am were carried out successfully. I was much more into Urban Crusade. Every year it used to be a highlight. It used to break the records of the previous year. When we used to do, the BBA used to be full. There hardly used to be any space when Synergy and Mavericks performed in Footloose at BBA. My experience for NU was best when I used to be the Dean’s nominee.

MM: Please tell us about your group “Buzzing Birudis”.

KS: Buzzing birudis was an integral part of our college life. We all hailed from BBSR, and the 10-12 of us had been allotted the same block in our freshman year. The same 10-12 people were allotted in DBA! Not everyone is lucky to get a hostel seat in DBA. When the list was out, out of 14, 12 were allotted DBA initially and 2 of us, I and Sidharth Pujari were allotted SD. We were shattered. After some requests, we were shifted to DBA. That entire block from 301 to 312 belonged to our group.  We used to play football the entire night. We even broke a few tube lights in the corridor! From there buzzing birudis happened. We used to have unlimited fun and there are a lot of memories treasured with them.

MM: Please share your internship experience at IIT Bhubaneswar and Amdocs.

KS: Bagging an internship at IIT Bhubaneswar was lucky for me. My father was quite worried at that point of time and used to consistently enquire about my studies. So, I applied for an internship at IIT Bhubaneswar through the official portal. My roommate Sidharth Pujari was a very influential person in my life. He desperately wanted to bag an internship at a good place. Seeing him even I applied. Experience at IIT Bhubaneswar was quite good. I think I got selected into it because I had uploaded all the requisite documents starting from the Science Olympiad certificates to the then achievements. I was mentored by a professor Prof.Manoranjan Satpathy. My project was based on a simulation which we encounter in Matlab. The project title was “Adaptive cruise control” which basically deals with the automatic movement of a car without the involvement of gears and other related parts. I got a recommendation from him for Mitacs as he was really impressed by my work.

Regarding Amdocs, it was started from my batch. I was called up for arranging everything. One of the PCs from Placement cell called me up. There was an event which they wanted to conduct for Amdocs. He gave me everything and left. They wanted 3 teams from the college. We circulated a message and somehow managed to get 2 teams from our department. Not many were interested in such opportunities back then. I had been entrusted the responsibility of handling the entire thing. Late Leo Paulose, one of our alumni, was instrumental in bringing Amdocs to our campus. They are a company based in Pune. It was a rare event for a company like Amdocs to visit our institute here at Rourkela where communication is a major hindrance. Yet the brand name of NIT, Rourkela along with the efforts of Late Leo Paulose made this feat possible. 3 teams were framed. 2 teams were from the CS department. There were various rounds like Idea Jam, Business ideas in the selection process. We were a mentored by a guide from Israel. Both teams from the CS Department made it to the top 10. My teammates were Debakant, Dibyam, Deepika and Sunil. We were not selected to the top 5 and we concluded that we are not bagging this internship. It was March and still was with no internship just like the previous time. I was chill but there was pressure from my father. I applied at IIIT Allahabad and ISI Bangalore, 

Then came a time when I got acceptance from 4 different places i.e., IIIT Allahabad, ISI Bangalore, Tata Steel, and Internshala as well! I wanted take up the Bangalore offer since I was deeply inclined towards Machine learning, something my internship was based on.

Tickets were booked, bags were packed. I was to leave for Bangalore when we got an acceptance from Amdocs. This was the fifth internship in which I was selected, and I didn't hesitate to accept it straightaway. All in all, that’s how Amdocs happened.

MM: Could you share your experience at Amdocs.

KS: At Innovation lab, we were expected to prepare an internal tool for them. Internal as in referred to prepare a tool, an internal webpage-based app to find out the loopholes in the software. We had to analyze the chunk of data they had given based on various factors. We had to present the solution in such a way that the person at the helm of affairs when opens the app can know just by seeing that this is the reason why such defect is taking place. We ended up doing really well. We used PHP, Bootstrap to make the web page app. We made pie charts.

MM: What difference do you feel interning in the corporate sector and a research organization?

KS: Corporate sector demands pressure. We were answerable to the HR every day regarding our progress in the project we were involved in. We were accountable about the work we were a part of. We even found ways to escape answering his questions. At the end of the day, we had to submit our progress card. The main difference between a research organization and a corporate sector is that corporate sector work is managed by deadlines whereas in research internships you are flexible to submit your work. At IIT BBSR my guide used to entrust me with work and gave me enough freedom to submit my work. But the thing with me is that I enjoy working under pressure. Engineers love to work in deadlines.

MM: Narrate your experience as the Placement Coordinator.

KS: I had not applied for PC Intern. I entered through wild card entry. We had a friend of ours whom we wanted to be the PC Intern. There is a lot of pressure in the 4th year for Dual Degree students. Dual degree students are the one who can stay in summer and call the HRs. My friends suggested to me that I should be the PC. All the allotted tasks went smoothly. My PC intern task was really easy. I got BITS, Pilani in the institute watch task where I took screenshots of their websites. I had also asked a few of my friends to gather information regarding the same.

Being a PC in itself is a huge responsibility and is a herculean task. And the selection procedure is a rigorous one. There are around 3-4 rounds of the task given. The difference between general candidates and wild card entry candidates was that the former got 3-4 days to complete the task whereas the latter got only 1-2 days. We ended up doing the task and that was a very interesting phase of my life. If you are really dedicated to the task, you will enjoy it. The previous placement coordinators will grill you in your interview. There is a proper process where they might state that you are inefficient, you are incapable which will make you frustrated as well as bring your morale down. But within they know that you have worked. At the end when you submit the task it will give you a sense of satisfaction that you have successfully submitted your task. I have held many posts of responsibility starting from being the class representative to Dean’s nominee to being an active member of SAC, but what excited and enthralled me the most was this job of being the Placement Coordinator. When you see students getting placed it gives immense pleasure. There is also a difficult part of this job. When regular companies do not visit the college, many people lose their opportunity and it results in heartbreak.

My interview went in 2 parts. I was surrounded by the panel. If one person asked a question, the other used to cross-question it. They gave me the phone and gave a situation where I have to convince the HR of a company to visit our campus, to convince why he should recruit Dual Degrees. They will ask you to be perfect at the statistics as they will ask you. Everything went fine and I got inducted.

We had a party after induction. We started off with a discussion of the policy in summer, which was a very important phase. Earlier the Department of Electronics used to be clubbed with Computer Science for all placement companies (for those who couldn’t understand the same Category ranges). We had a big debate and finally decided to lower the bracket for EC to the same levels as other branches. Personally, I was still in support of treating EC the same way as CS, as there are plenty of students in the former department who are inclined towards software roles. They deserve better packages. However, many others are still not sure until the end whether or not to go for a core. Opportunities differ each year, and this year it was quite high for electronic profiles, thanks to the branch PCs. They have given a lot of efforts and brought up good companies like Qualcomm, Synopsys and Marvell semiconductors to recruit.

The main attempts to call companies are done in summers, by initiating a discussion with unlisted companies. Some respect us and respond to our calls, others aren’t keen at all, or evade all calls for 2/3 days straight. We called 10 companies each day, and it was imperative to follow up every 10 days or so. All companies prepare a list of colleges by June. We also had to contact alumni. The tasks were really well-planned and engaging until now. The real business started in July.

We had many new converts among IT companies this year. Myntra, one of our biggest converts this year was brought by the efforts of Sumit (Nagdeo) bhai and me. I was in a hospital when Myntra, which only visited top NITs and IITs so far, sent a mail stating they would be recruiting here this year, and it was an erupting moment of jubilation for all 3 of us CS PCs.

In Analytics, Tredence shattered us by turning us down, since this is a sector which takes up many students. Deloitte, ZS Associates were also not responding positively. I had found an alumnus in Quantiphi, and after a lot of my initiations and follow-ups, they came to recruit up to 20 people, although they ended up with 8 only as most went for the Business Analytics profile instead of AI/ML. Qualcomm was another big success in the Core sector, Suraj followed-up really well there. There were some major disappointments as well, namely Oracle, Fidelity, whom we were ready to host but both declined our invitations. Oyo and ServiceNow were two other very good converts this year. Capgemini, IdeaForge and Schneider also played a good part in our achievements this year.

Interestingly, the day I got placed after a gruelling selection process that lasted until 3 am, I got to handle Oyo next morning at 8. There was a time I had to carry my brush, soap and toiletries with me at TIIR, there were 4/5 really hectic days. Going earlier to pick up at stations, dropping off at hotels and picking up from there, getting the auditorium opened and arranged for PPTs, all formed part of my good old days. Maybe it was mainly because I was placed by then, else it would have been stressful.

MM: Which according to you was the best company among this season's converts?

KS: Although debatable (grins), I consider Quantiphi as one of my favourite converts. Again, when 49 people got recruited at a decent package at Capgemini, I was happiest as part of PlaceComm, it was a day of glory for the family. We were crossing record number of placement offers secured at a very rapid rate in the early days, and we got to celebrate frequently. The early days went by in a blur.

So far there have been 700+ offers from 150+ companies this year. The number of zero-recruit companies also went down from 39 to 13 or so, some got 2 to 3 offers. As of now CS, EC and EI are almost saturated with an average package hovering around 12, 14 lpa higher than last year. Even so, we aren’t complacent with the statistics, we still hope to place more people in good companies and have set a target for ourselves by the end of this season.

MM: Can you please give us a briefing about the different selection rounds of placement for selection in Teradata, the company in which you recently got placed?

KS: From my first year I eyed a few companies, one of which was Teradata. Teradata favours M. Tech and Dual Degrees, even as many companies are still confused with the Dual Degree structure. I always aimed to crack Qualcomm or this. On Day 0, the questions were in GATE pattern which I appeared for already in the previous semester. 14 were shortlisted, and to my dismay, my name wasn’t there, although I was pretty confident. The process of PIs started (3 panels). I was already rejected in a couple of interviews by then. My morale was naturally down. At 5 o’clock when the PIs were almost done, they announced 4 more names, and mine at the end! Imagine my surprise and happiness.

Thereafter I faced 3 questions on skype--- one aptitude, one on Algorithm and one on DS, and finally my CV go-through followed by HR. The same HR I had interacted with before, awkwardly enough, came along to ask some typical questions. The entire process went smooth and professional. 3 were selected finally. Looking back it was a very emotional experience, you would often find in reality students working in Placecomm cry even more after bagging their dream jobs, the added stress of getting a job gets deep into you sometimes as you deal with hiring procedures each day. The turn-around worked wonders for me, much to my relief. While I worked only for 2 or 3 companies until then, I fully invested my efforts in 12 to 13 more following my selection.

MM: Narrate some interesting tales about Placecomm.

KS: There was an interesting phase with the Quantiphi HR, he had been in the industry for quite long and was a matter-of-fact persona. He suspected our pleasantries all along, he suspected our rankings, our statistics and achievements and everything. We were too desperate for an Analytics recruiter back then, and we brought things like coconut water for him all the way from Jagda. We took aloo paranthas from the night canteen at 10.30 in the night. But the heart-warming thing was that they were all very down-to-earth. So was a recruiter who came from Microsoft. They may be earning in crores, but very humble, you learn a lot from them. You build up good connections with them.

Sometimes many things didn’t use to work at PPT rooms, BBA and elsewhere. In one incident we got red-faced before our own alumni and other recruiters when the sound system malfunctioned. In yet another, we couldn’t book BBA in time for a certain company, we ran to SAC and got the keys at the last moment. Managing eleventh-hour emergencies like these were all a part of the job.

We vetted for a genuinely good candidate once, with an HR, sometimes such influences work, sometimes not. It did work once. The worst part is telling them they are rejected, I personally prefer someone else to do this nightmarish part of the job. In one occasion Schneider and Amadeus's lab came on the same day, 7 people came in total for recruitments and roughly 60 to70 applied. We expected 10 to 20 to be shortlisted. There was even an alumnus who came. Only 1 was shortlisted that day, unfortunately, but in terms of the real challenges we were left to face, the experience was an eye-opener for us.

MM: As a placement coordinator what all improvements do you see in Placecomm? What are your overall views about it?

KS: When we were in the first month, we needed a camera, ordered it after talking to Patel sir. Infrastructurally speaking, we have improved a lot; we have got very good remarks from the HRs to have one of the best facilities among other premier institutes.

There are negatives too. We have a TIIR CC with 140 systems, which we can book as per our needs. Sadly, there is no battery back-up, we have to make do with LA-CC and the former is lying almost useless. Talks of 4 Wi-Fi systems are still on the rounds; matters did not proceed much on that front. Many other things depend on higher authorities; it is not much use discussing here. They would only see fruition with sincere goodwill at the Director’s level.

Structurally speaking, each branch should have its own PC, otherwise, it has a negative impact on the stats of the concerned branch. But again we cannot select unsuitable candidates, we have to allocate one PC to handle multiple related branches at times. The only solution is that more people should aspire for this role and come up on behalf of their branch.

6 months’ internship is again a major thing we should take up. This should be an option for both B.Tech. and M.Tech. students based on their project domains. There have been instances where students have done 6-month internship, but there are no centralized rule about it and the entire academic is very confused with the procedure. It is not transparent, even to Placecomm. Many semiconductor companies ask this the first thing, they demand 6-month interns. Relations with the industry go sour due to the absence of this provision.

Soft Skill Development (SSD) was introduced this year based on the feedback by companies. They said students were academically good, but couldn’t express themselves well. Coordinator nominees and PC interns would be organising them in a centralised manner and students will learn as well as be evaluated. 

The entire institute, notably SAC can learn what difference it makes while assigning jobs exclusively to students. In SAC, people are accountable for budgets and everything. TnP students are given freedom to decide, for students, for companies, scheduling, deliberating on crucial situations and more.

MM: According to you what revamps should be incorporated into the current CSE curriculum to make it more viable for students to get desirable placements more easily? Or is it ideal according to you?

KS: There are courses which should be taught earlier. We can try to introduce Hackathons (real-time problems) through dept Profs rather than through TnP.

We don’t have ML and DM until 4th year, it still has lab only later. DBMS is fine but so should Software Engg. Also, the practical curriculum is too old. In foreign colleges, assignments are given at least a night before, students don’t feel the added pressure of coding entirely in the lab and end up copying. These can make labs more interesting. One should be ready for the lab. Prof student interaction should also increase in general. There are students who maybe be flattering to professors, and then there are hidden talents in our branch.

MM: How would you advise students aspiring to make up their career choices, as a PC nearing the end of your term?

KS: As a PC I would suggest, if you are not very interested  and confident in your branch you can always develop a knack for analytics, ML, coding, all of which give lucrative offers these days. Or you may eye for an MBA. But you should be really focused on your path. You may have to switch at some point, you should be clear about when. Companies like ZS, EXL, CGI, Capgemini, Quantiphi, they encourage such students from core who switched over to other non-core domains, people who have a good aptitude. If you already have data analytics and/or ML-based project, that is an added credit for your CV. For core, I would advise to be patient, work hard and wait for good companies, which would definitely come your way. You just need to prepare well and have a clear sight of our goal.

MM: In a half decade stay at NITR, whom would you like to give a special mention for making the journey memorable?

KS: Dibyam, Deepika, Debakant, Shailee, Kaushal, Kabi, Kedia were all my closest friends from the branch. We used to cancel classes, attend and miss classes together. Being a class representative, I practically knew everyone, and these few were my constant support among all my classmates. We were so close that I used to search for them in class every single day I went.

I am also particularly grateful to my Randaal seniors, who mentored me all along.  Arpan, Sibashis were my school friends who came with me to NITR. My first and most influential friend at college was Punyaja Dash. Besides, Swayambodha, Samyak, Roy, Aditya, Rohit became close juniors after I worked with them in NU. I also have many other doting juniors and friends. They call me for picnics every time they go. In another level, Siddhart Pujari was a friend and saviour who helped with my studies before exams, I really am indebted to him that way (smiles).

MM: What are your future plans?

KS: It’s really confusing for me right now. I have got a 2-year bond with Teradata. I plan to work for 2-5 years, follow up with an MBA to grow in the industry. Times may change anyway, I don’t have a clear-cut plan as of now.

MM: What message would you like to pass down to our readers?

KS: It is somewhat difficult to narrate a well-rehearsed message. But I would conclude this way---  

Try to get involved with the college, with club activities. College life is a journey when you have to let things happen and not panic. You may fight with friends, but end up spending a lot of time with them. Have an idol, as I found one in my father. He taught me there is no substitute for hard work, through a poem by Robert Frost which I still remember, and try to live up to (laughs). You have to keep going and take risks along the way.

Signing off, the interview was one of the few enlightening ones from a personality who, in sharing his perspective on different angles of life at NITR, be it SAC or Hostel life, academics or placements, painted a picture that is sure to set some high benchmarks for what an average student here can aspire to be. Further, his words on reforms at various student-involved associations also sets a doctrine of thought to be reflected upon, be it in NITR or in the outside world. And one like us is only fortunate enough to hear him in his own words.

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