Designing The Future At NID: Somesh Sahoo
Identifying one's field of interest and working towards pursuing it wholeheartedly is the key to success. Brushing aside the safety of placements and jobs, under the canopy of NIT Rourkela to seek their passions requires a lot of guts. A very few bright minds are able to not only identify their field of interests but also achieve success in their first attempt towards their path of success. These bright minds don’t look at their passion as self-improvement and satisfaction but also wish to bring about a change or contribute something vested in the larger interests of mankind and future generations.
One of those intelligent and creative minds is Somesh Sahoo, a graduate from the Industrial Design branch (Batch of 2020), who has been successful in finding his call. Identifying the field of design as his passion, he worked diligently towards his goal achieving a marvellous and rare feat of getting into the prestigious institute of design, National Institute of Design (NID), Bangalore in his very first attempt.
Team Monday Morning (MM) got in touch with Somesh Sahoo to get his views regarding his rare achievements. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Monday Morning (MM): How did you make up your mind to pursue higher studies in the field of design? Were you always inclined towards it, or did you make your decision gradually during the BTech years?
Somesh Sahoo (SS): During eleventh and twelfth standard, I intended to pursue Medical but also gave the JEE exam. I did not get a good rank in NEET but instead got into NIT through JEE. It was only in the second year that I got inducted into Design Tab. Before that, I had no idea about design. A senior from my branch, who was the President of Design Tab, asked all the students from Industrial Design to attend the orientation. I attended the orientation and was interested. It was about thinking logically to create something aesthetically pleasing. I was attracted to this logical aspect and was luckily inducted into Design Tab.
So it was only after the second year that I developed an interest in design after I was introduced to branch-specific subjects and Design Tabs. In fact, in the first year, I was still preparing for NEET. I always wanted to do something that focused on creativity and thinking logically, and thus slowly, my interest in designing grew.
MM: As beginners, most students don't have a clear idea about Masters in Design. What was the source from which you gathered concrete information about Masters at NID?
SS: Around the end of my second year, I looked for projects and internships as I wanted to do something in the Design field. So I started looking through student portfolios to get some references and ideas. So in one such portfolio, ‘B.Des at NID’ was mentioned. That is where I got to know about NID, some IITs which offer a degree in Design, and also other colleges. So from the third year onwards, I started researching these colleges. So the main thing is to research in the field you are interested in. Suppose you want to do an internship, you need to search for the companies that offer an internship in that field. Then somehow or the other, you will find ways to reach your target, just like how I stumbled upon that portfolio.
MM: What was your mindset while getting into the placement season? Were you already decided on pursuing a Masters Degree?
SS: During the starting of my third year, I was confused about whether I should pursue a Master's Degree or go for the placements. Students from NIT Rourkela tend to go for placements more. A Master’s Degree was always in the back of my mind but I was not entirely sure if I should go for it immediately after my Bachelors or should I do a job for a couple of years first, gain experience and then go for Masters. The placement was never my priority, but just to be on a safer side and have a backup, if I did not clear the exam in my first attempt, I sat for the placements. So I sat for the placements and also gave the exam for Masters in Design. I just gave it a try to see the question pattern so that even if I did not clear the exam, I would gain experience for future attempts.
MM: What was the application procedure for NID? What's the most appropriate time to apply?
SS: NID application process is similar to most of the other Master's programs. It is around September that the notices start to come in regarding the application details. So one should regularly check the NID website for updates. The application process mostly starts from around September-mid to October-mid. You need to register and submit the required documents, similar to the registration process for NEET and JEE. NID does not need any Letter of Recommendation like some of the foreign institutes which ask for one. There are three rounds of selection- two exams followed by an interview. The first one is the Design Aptitude Test (DAT) Prelims, and the second is DAT Mains.
MM: What were the different issues you came along during the entire process?
SS: The entrance examination for NID is a three-step process, (a) written test (prelims and mains), (b) studio test and (c) personal interview. After clearing the first round, one has to prepare a personalized portfolio in a pdf format containing photos and one has to be very careful with the resolution of images which otherwise can compromise the image quality. It must be of higher priority as the designs made should be able to convey one’s message to the interviewer. Secondly, the questions asked in the interview are never fixed. They can ask from any topic mentioned in your resume, statement of purpose or based you’re your portfolio. The interview panel usually consists of 5-6 analysts. Whatever one mentions in his resume, statement of purpose or even the portfolio, one should be ready and be comfortable to act upon it. And very importantly, the student should try not to give vague or incomplete answers.
MM: Coming to preparation strategy, what were the exams you appeared for NID (CEED/NID DAT) and what was your preparation strategy for the exams?
SS: First of all, to be qualified for NID, a student has to give the NID Dt exam. If he/she wants to do a masters degree at IITs, one has to qualify the CEED exam. Coming to the preparation strategy, it is very simple and straight-forward if your basic concepts are clear and thorough. Also, the questions are usually based on current affairs and are situation-specific, so it is necessary to be up to date with the current happenings in the design world and how it affects us. Further, there is no proper syllabus or prescribed books for NID. But to be able to communicate properly, the design-fundamentals should be crystal clear.
MM: Now that you have moved to a Designing degree from B.Tech, do you feel that the ID department syllabus is well equipped for the future in designing?
SS: The syllabus what we had in our fresher years and what is now being taught to the freshers are quite different as during our time it was more based on mechanical and electrical tools. But now it has evolved a lot. Basically, the present study-structure NIT Rourkela has the potential to sharpen the fundamentals and can be a very strong building block for higher studies and placement interviews. but the rest depends on the student how he/she searches about the resources and tries to improvise the skills.
MM: You had been very active in Design Tab and the design teams for Innovision and NU. What role have they played, either direct or indirect, in your development?
SS: If theories and basic concepts contribute 30% to my improvement then the remaining 70% contribution is from the experience provided by the design tab and the design teams of NU and Innovision as it gave me a handful of situations to practically exercise the things learned in the class. They helped me boost my confidence and get better work- experience. It enhanced my skill as well as glorified my portfolio with creativity. Having a co-curricular activity like this, posed as a boon for me.
MM: Unlike earlier years, the number of students from ID branch being recruited in branch-specific companies has increased. Now that you are pursuing design as higher studies, what would you say about the prospect ID department presents in the field of design?
SS: The prospectus of Design is very bright in the near future according to me. Since, every company is having a design team, no matter how small sensing their aesthetic and market presence through subtle design structures. Coming to ID branch at NIT, the number of design specific companies coming for placement offers is quite less but as our alumni join companies through off-campus mode or previous placement offer, the companies revisit the campus for more such talents.
MM: How to develop a good portfolio and what are the skills required throughout the years which one needs to develop to make an impressive portfolio for the admission?
SS: A good portfolio needs to be updated regularly and represent your works properly. There are 5 basic points one needs to consider while making their portfolios:-
- Solution: Your work should provide a relevant solution to the problem you’re addressing through the project.
- Communication: The problems should be described along with challenges faced and how the solutions impact the problem statement.
- To the point: Keep the content relevant and include important points only rather than adding irrelevant images and information.
- Readable: Try to keep the portfolio readable and clear with proper spacing since the interviewer might view your portfolio on small screens of smartphones as well as on large screens of projectors. So, your hard work doesn’t go into vain due to poor visibility and compatibility issue.
- In the end, be honest to yourself, include your works only even if they are less in numbers and avoid copying from random sources.
MM: What is the field you are pursuing at NID? What are your goals after M.Des at prestigious NID?
SS: I am currently pursuing Masters at Design in the field of Information Design at NID, Bangalore. This field is dedicated to collecting information and presenting it a subtle and clear way so people get a clear image of the company’s agenda.
After M.Des, I will have two options of going for a job or continuing my higher studies, where my primary goal is to go for a PhD and get into a lectureship profession in prestigious institutes.
(Above is the photo of Somesh Sahoo's orientation at NID held over zoom. Although he was excited about the classes, speaking about starting the classes via online mode, he said that going online would have a huge impact. The learning process would not be smooth as a lot of the learning is hands-on which is gained through practical applications in labs, rather than being theoretical. He said that they would have to make do with they have at home and hoped that the offline classes begin from next semester.)
MM: Since you achieved a marvellous feat of getting into NID, what is your final piece of advice to students aiming to pursue an M.Des degree after graduation from NIT Rourkela?
SS: The advice that I would like to give my juniors are:
- Keep learning every day.
- Have a clear goal regarding your future and develop your communication skills since its one of the most important skill
- Stay updated with the world of design with the help of tech world
- Always have your design fundamental clear, maintain a good portfolio and a have a clear statement of purpose since you’ll be questioned regarding this in most interviews.
At the end going for masters while skipping a job is a big decision, therefore be mentally clear regarding going for masters. And take your time enough before rushing into going for masters, since there is no expiry date for applying for masters. So always go for one when you’re ready enough.
Team Monday Morning wishes Somesh success in his life at NID and for further future endeavours!