A Man of Merit and Mettle: Anshuman Bebarta
The man does not require any introduction. Having inspired and motivated hundreds of people around him, Anshuman Bebarta is a man of perseverance and diligence. Fighting against all odds and leaving no stones unturned for the upliftment of the institute, Anshuman Bebarta, a final year student of Mathematics Department pursuing Integrated MSc. has created his niche at NIT Rourkela.
Holding myriads of positions of responsibilities such as Placement Secretary of Training and Placement Committee and Editor-in-Chief of Degree 361, Souvenir Head for the academic year 2018-19, his work ethics make him a rare gem. Anshuman has interned at various prestigious academia including Shantiniketan University, IIM Kozhikode and finally has bagged the dream job at Quantiphi. Team Monday Morning interacted with Anshuman Bebarta and in his conversation with the team Monday Morning, he gave us all a glimpse of his life at NITR. Team MM presents an excerpt from the conversation.
Life before NITR
As they say “childhood is the most beautiful of all life’s seasons”, remembering about his happy and sad memories from his childhood, this is what the man himself, Anshuman Bebarta recollected-:
I was born and brought up in Berhampur, I studied in St. Vincent's Convent School, which is one of the best schools in the city. I don't remember doing anything out of the box or remarkable during my school days. I wasn't a prodigy, rather I was an average student. After my tenth boards, I joined Khalikote College and when I passed my senior secondary examination, I became entitled to receive a scholarship namely the 'INSPIRE' scholarship. Apart from this, I don't remember doing anything remarkable.
A Major Turnaround in Life
Life is an unexpected journey with twists and turns in every other moment and you never know what it has to offer. With the demise of his father, his life took a major turn around but his spirits did not dwindle, speaking about the despondent situation he shares-
When my father expired, my elder brother was the one under the hammer, he and my mother had to deal with all the psychological and financial aspects. I was relatively young at that time, I was about 7 years old, I didn’t understand a lot of stuff until I was in my teenage years. My mother and my brother had to confront a lot of challenges, I remember when I was in class 7, my brother was taking coaching and we didn’t have enough money to pay for his fees. It was great on the part of his teachers who agreed to teach him without paying any fees, as my mother had informed them that we were going through a huge financial crunch at that moment. Both of these people have been instrumental in my growth as an individual and have been my inspiration. I remember it was in my first year of college that I finally came into terms with the loss and had finally gotten mature enough to move on.
Life at NITR
Joining an institute of national repute like NITR is a great achievement. He went on to pursue an M.Sc degree in Mathematics. Was it by choice or by virtue of rank did he get into it?:
When I was in my 12th class, I was interested only in two subjects: Mathematics and Statistics. So when I wished to join NITR, I was hoping to get Computer Science, but that didn't happen. I was getting some of the other branches but I didn't take that up as I wasn’t interested, so I thought better I would pursue a career in teaching. Initially, I was very much inclined towards becoming a Professor as my mother is a lecturer in Zoology and teaching sort of came to me instinctively. But after joining NITR, I realised it wasn’t my forte as doing a Ph.D required a lot of discipline and after having a pretty dormant and mediocre school and high-school life, I wanted my life to be more dynamic, so eventually I had to give up on Ph.D.
Initial days at NITR
For a freshman getting accustomed to the culture of NITR is a tough nut to crack. He recollects his initial days at NIT Rourkela:
Since my brother is an alumnus of this institute, I was aware of the club culture at NITR and I knew about some of the clubs that I had to join. He had informed me that the LEO club was one of the cool clubs of his time. I took my friend from school days Abyakta Patra, who has been my best friend cum partner throughout and is also someone I deeply admire, to the LEO inductions. Soham Ghosh had taken my interview and I guess, he thought I was cool and maybe that's why he selected me. I was a really active member of LEO in my first year and I was also a part of the Innovision team as a volunteer.
Journey at Monday Morning as a sophomore
I don't think I would have been the person I'm at present, if I hadn't joined Monday Morning.
I remember Monday Morning was having its inductions, I was assigned the task to interview Gaurav Naha who was the mentor of MM back then, he was a standout guy. I remember getting thoroughly inspired by him during that interview. To be honest, my tasks for MM were really pathetic as I wasn’t accustomed to professional writing, and even my interview went equally bad. Anurag Saha Roy and Snehasis Hota, who interviewed me, selected me despite putting up a poor show in the induction rounds. I could never thank them enough as I don’t think I would have been half the person I am if it were not for them.
After getting selected, I worked really hard to do better in my summer tasks because initially, I had a notion that my contemporaries in MM, especially Sriya, Nikhil, Yasmin, Sejal, Satyajit and a few more whose work I had seen before, were much better than mine and initially all my efforts went into impressing this circle. I wanted people to read my articles and notice me and that's the reason I joined MM.
The initial few months went really well, I wrote a lot of articles. I remember writing a citizen journal on Independence day, it took me two weeks of research to write that piece. That article received a lot of appreciation and even my Chief Coordinator, Mitesh Mishra praised me for that article and adjudged me as the ‘Mr Writer’ among our batch and that was the highest point of my life. I published two articles anonymously in the citizen journal section as I felt the section should be the voice of a common student rather than a MM reporter. I wanted to become one of the chief coordinators of MM, but due to various reasons, I didn’t contest for that. I felt my CCs didn’t understand my work that well. So I felt detached from MM and I didn’t continue after that. In my third year, I was mentoring an article on NITR growth project which was sort of a biography of NITR since its inception from the perspective of the Banyan tree near the library, a lot of research went into that article, a huge chunk of credit goes to Abel Mathew for that.
As the Chief Editor of D361
Transforming a dormant club and making it functional, leading a team, reaching out people for work and getting a sanctioned budget from SAC is not an easy job to do at NIT Rourkela. Citing his experience working as the Chief Editor at D361 here is what he has to say-
When I was in school, I distinctly remember my brother getting back issues of D361, the student magazine with him. I always found it to be really cool and something I gravitated towards since that time, so naturally, when I joined NITR, I longed to join D361. I was disheartened to see that the club was as dormant as it could be but then when my 4th semester was ending, I overheard Soham Ghosh talking about selecting the new team for D361. Then I texted him personally and informed him that I want to be on the team. He called me the next day to his room. Arindum Roy, my dear friend, and an amazing Co-Editor-in-Chief and I went to his room and he directly offered us the opportunity to become the chief editor without any real interview of any sort. In the summer vacations, we did a lot of work, we approached a lot of students, alumni, faculties for literary and art pieces. In fact, we took content from anywhere and everywhere we could get our hands-on. We made the Facebook page of D361 active and even developed a website. I remember two posts, one of LA which was made by Safalya Parida that reached about 16k people and the other one was one of its kind - I had asked Aratrika Ghosh, whose literary and art pieces I admire to this day, to write a poem on GoT theme and with the help of Cinematics we made a video of her reciting the poem and that post was a huge hit.
Since the club wasn’t active for the last two years, there was no sanctioned budget for the club from SAC, so our main concern was to get some budget for the printing in which Arindum played a very crucial role in bagging a budget of Rs 1.25 L and unlike most other clubs, we were successful in using our budget almost entirely.
For the magazine, I really have to thank two people Ansh Balde and Sambit Maharana who had a vision for the magazine Roy and I could never have. We made a call for entries and received about 100 entries which was quite a big thing for us, then we started designing the magazine which took about 2-3 weeks of exhaustive work. The magazine we published had 7 proses, 10 poems, 1 interview, 1 comic strip and a comprehensive article pertaining to foreign internships. I thank the team comprising of - Abhinav, Sandipan, Soorya, Deepak, Tanay and Siddhesh who worked really hard to make the magazine a great success. While I was a part of MM my natural instincts were more of that of a writer’s than a journalist’s, so that’s also one of the reasons I didn’t connect much to MM, I believe D361 was more about creative writing, something I really connected to.
MM: What’s your take on the readership of NITR? Do you feel sometimes as a writer one has to compromise with the level of intellectualism and quality in the articles to attract larger audience?
I believe everything that connects with a general reader is in fact great writing and you don’t need to pen down highly intellectual or esoteric stuff to produce a good write up. This is something I believe MM lacked in my time and has improved over the years with its articles becoming more and more accessible to not so avid readers.
A Pinch of Setback: NU Elections
Holding a position of responsibility in the SAC is a matter of great pride and who wouldn’t like to get a taste of that! He contested for the post of NU Convener in his 3rd year but alas things didn’t work out at the end and that led to his downfall. He talked about the drawbacks and how he faced the defeat as such:
Initially, I never wanted to contest in SAC elections. The reason being that I wouldn’t have been able to bring forth my plans and ideas into action because of the bureaucracy at SAC. However, the zone culture was very much prevalent in my time and I was perceived to be the one who had both the zone support and someone who deserved to be the NU Convener. Everyone around me was like “Tu toh jeetega hi!” and that made me get into the elections. The ones who were contesting against me didn’t have prior experience of working in teams. Nevertheless, they won and that really took a huge toll on me. But I got over it the second I started working for Degree 361 again and I haven’t been involved with elections since then.
Imagine yourself leading a team to compose something that would be read by hundreds of people putting into words and pictures, all the emotions attached to someone who has just graduated from college. Being the Chief coordinator of the UG Souvenir for the Class of 2019 in his 4th year, he narrated what all challenges he faced and what was the outcome:
Bringing out the souvenir book was perhaps the most difficult task of my college life, even harder than my placement secretary stint. Writing for and compiling a book that would be read by more than 800 people; leading a team of 45 odd members is no easy task. The design was completely put up by Sambit Maharana and Ayush Moharana, who according to me are the most creatively gifted persons that I have ever met. We received a lot of help from Swaha Swayamsiddha. On one end there was criticism and on the other our Souvenir work got appreciated. After our work got published there were several personal approaches from students who wanted to edit out the parts in their write ups which they didn’t want to be published. Catering to all the personal requests and coordinating every aspect was tiresome. At the end of the day I was happy that our efforts mattered.
Journey as a meticulous Intern
Bagging an internship isn't an easy job, but through his dedication and hard work, he managed to bag two prestigious internships. At the end of his sophomore year, he interned at Dept. of Statistics at the University of Shantiniketan and at the end of his third year he interned at the Dept. of Operations Management at IIM Kozhikode. Let's find out how he managed to bag these internships and what was his experience like:
After my second year, my grades were gradually declining as I was more involved in extracurricular activities. I got an internship in the Dept. of Statistics at the University of Shantiniketan where I did a great deal of work over there which actually helped me in my placement interview and that even helped me to bag an internship in my third year at IIMK. At IIMK I worked under the Dept. of Operations Management where I was working on queueing models.
I would like to suggest a really good technique that I used to bag an internship at IIM which is fairly uncommon. What I did was I went through the Research Gate profile of my guide at Shantiniketan and I found that in one of his research papers he had collaborated with one of the Profs at IIM-K who I was applying under. So I contacted my guide again and I requested him to refer me. My experience at IIMK was truly amazing, the work culture is extremely professional and the professors are very down to earth.
‘Drum Rolls...’: The Training and Placement Cell
The PC Intern process is dubbed to be one of the most tedious proceedings. Anshuman Bebarta crossed all the hurdles to emerge as the Secretary of TnP. He expressed what all factors helped him to get to his position:
Frankly, I decided to be a Placement Coordinator from my department as none of my branch mates were interested and had already started expecting me to become one. Also, I had heard multiple stories of how lonely and depressing it gets in the fifth year which I very much wanted to avoid.
Success and hardship always go hand in hand. Looking back at his time of being a PC intern he recollects how hard had it been for him and what did it takes to prove his mettle:
The entire process was very hectic. I was hospitalized at CWS being diagnosed with measles and subconjunctival hemorrhage during my PC intern process. I remember there were a total of 7 tasks and a final interview but I wasn’t able to complete two of the tasks on time owing to my bad health. However, the learning curve was huge. I would like to thank my previous PlaceComm Team who believed in me and bestowed upon me the responsibility of being the Placement Secretary. I was perhaps the first one from the Pure Sciences branch to hold that position and it was a huge leap of faith on their part. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Arnab Bose, one of the most professional persons that I have ever met.
Not all get the opportunity to work in the PlaceComm of their institute. Being a part of T&P here, Anshuman addresses his experience of working for it:
T&P is perhaps the only place where your vision is taken seriously and it might happen that if it is worthy of being realized those ideas can become a reality. Everyone beginning from the T&P Head to the Director pays to heed to what you have to say unlike in other organisations like HMC or SAC. That was something I loved the most working here. Moreover, having a team so hardworking, brought out the best in me. I had the most amazing experience working alongside top-notch people of the college and most of all my fellow secretaries Subhransu Sekhar Dalai and Anshuman Maharana.
Most of the Integrated MSc students are of the notion that there aren’t many opportunities available for them in terms of placement and that in the end, they have to pursue higher studies. I hope that by the end of this academic year that kind of thinking will have changed. I feel happy to have had a hand in improving my branch’s placement statistics. He speaks about how the placement scenario has improved and its future prospects:
Given the current economic recession that we are in right now, we were able to get a good number of placement offers for all the departments and from almost all sectors. We had several new recruiters coming in like Udaan, Dailyhunt, OnePlus, ISRO, HUL, etc. who offered top-notch CTC. Our long-time recruiters like Qualcomm and Microsoft hired students in huge numbers. One of the converts that I am personally very proud of is American Express. Another one was BYJU’s which was very crucial for the science students.
There is nothing perfect, there is only life. No matter how good a system becomes there is always scope for improvement. When asked about what all changes need to be brought about for improving the placements he commented:
One can very easily blame the Profs, Course-Curriculum, etc. for our placements not being able to match up to IITs but more than that, I personally feel the most important issue is the lack of awareness among the students. Most of the third-year students don’t have a very good idea of what all companies come in for recruitment for their branch. The students need to be informed about how they should prepare for interviews, what companies to expect, how they can connect with people who already have been placed in those companies, etc., which I think the Training Committee is doing right now. After that, more leniency should be administered in the course curriculum of final students for them to be able to go for six-month internships. Most of the major companies, especially in the Automobile and Electronics sectors, want to hire students based on these internships. Unless the students are provided with these opportunities, we can’t take the next step for improving their odds of being placed.
It is always difficult to deal with the stress of rejection at campus placement for the final year students when their colleagues get placed but they don’t. Anshuman Bebarta suggests measures to deal with that and overcome such situations. He narrates his experience in bagging an offer from Quantiphi:
I had marked a few companies that I wanted to get placed in. The first company was SAP Labs. There was a sort of a rumour that one of the profiles of SAP - Quality Assurance was for students who don’t have the necessary technical skills but possess good logical abilities. So more than 250 people had attended its Online Test. However, all of the questions that were there were technical based. The second company that I had applied for was Quantiphi and fortunately, I got placed there. I was lucky enough to get placed within the first two weeks of our Placement Season. My suggestion to others would be to not turn a blind eye to what is happening around you. If someone is interested in getting placed and has put in a decent amount of hard work eventually will get placed.
Several dream of getting placed at a company of their choice but only a fortunate few live their dreams. Anshuman Bebarta got placed at Quantiphi as a Business Analyst. He describes his chronicles of clicking boxes which landed him his job at Quantiphi:
After clearing the OT, my interview was scheduled the next day in IIIT Bhubaneswar where the pool campus was being held. I left for Bhubaneswar on that night and on the bus itself I was revising stuff. Initially, I was shortlisted for two profiles - Business Analyst and ML Engineer. After ruining my ML interview, I was to be interviewed for the BA. There was a GD which I cleared comfortably after which I had my Technical interview in which I was asked statistics related questions, and a guesstimation question on the number of people who migrate from Odisha to Bengaluru in a year which is a good question to practice if someone wants to. It went very well. I could see that he was impressed. Then I had a simple HR round and I was selected. Overall, it was a great experience.
What have the Integrated MSc branches in store for in the future?
It is a generalized concept among the people that the students from the pure science department usually don’t get the limelight and importance as compared to the regular engineering students not only in terms of placements but also in other aspects. However, according to Anshuman Bebarta, it is a myth and he proves his point as such:
It was a sort of prejudice in my first year that non-B. Tech branches don’t get that much of an opportunity as compared to the B.Tech ones. Even my seniors were of the perception that I wouldn’t be able to excel in the future owing to my branch. It took me some time to get over that and I made it a point that I have to stand on my own feet otherwise what they were saying might come true. I think two years back the Integrated MSc branches started viewing placements seriously. From there onwards, the scene has been flourishing.
Lastly Anshuman thanks his best buddies Abyakta, Deepak, Nitesh and Ansumita who were there throughout his ups and downs.
His Final message
There is always something to learn from a person who has achieved so much in life. And Anshuman Bebarta is one who has excelled in almost every other field in his college life. Here is his suggestion and message to the NITR Junta:
To the new buds entering college, I would suggest them to keep their CGPA high at least in their first year of college. After that, they can go berserk following their passion. There’s a very good quote from HIMYM that goes “Whatever you do in this life is not legendary unless your friends are there to see it”. So make good friends, good memories, follow your heart and lastly WORK HARD, PARTY HARDER!
Team MM congratulates Anshuman Bebarta for his successful ventures and wishes him all the best for his future endeavours.