NIT Rourkela shines at The Calde Conclave 2020
Be passionate about the things which you think can bring a change in the world.
Replied Shiny Lohani, a student of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering of NIT Rourkela. Shiny Lohani (Final Year) and her teammate Pritish Kumar Kar (Final year, Dept. of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering) bagged the 1st runners-up position at the intercollege Technical Paper Presentation Competition at CaldeConclave 2020 organised by Calderys and Imerys. The second runners-up position was bagged by Achint Sarbajeet Bishoyi (Pre-final Year, Dept. of Ceramic Engineering) & Siddhartha Nanda (Pre-Final Year, Dept. of Ceramic Engineering).
Team Monday Morning caught up with Shiny Lohani, Pritish Kumar Kar and also Achint Sarbajeet Bishoyi and Siddhartha Nanda for a candid conversation, where they went on to share their experiences and preparation strategy for this achieving this.
Monday Morning(MM): Congratulations on securing the 1st runners up position in the intercollege Technical Paper Presentation Competition organised by Calderys and Imerys. Please share with us your experience of participating in it.
Shiny Lohani(SL): It was an intercollege competition, and students from different colleges participated in it. We had to submit an abstract in which we had to propose a solution. There were categories mentioned related to which we had to propose the solutions. It could be related to the refractory industry, the metallurgical industries, or something that favours technological advancement and promotes automation 4.0. So, Pritish and I decided that technological advancement is an essential aspect. We decided to go for additive manufacturing, which is the latest and trendy manufacturing technology these days. We proposed a solution related to that. In addition to the abstract, we had to submit a PowerPoint presentation to mention our solution. Along with that, we also had to submit a video to present our content. This was the first round, and after this round, we luckily got nominated for the second round. The second round was a Q&A session round. The panellists asked questions related to our solutions, and we discussed the merits and demerits of the solution that we had proposed and how it could be implemented in the industry. The second round lasted for about 15-20 minutes.
Pritish Kumar Kar(PK): It was a great experience attending the Conclave in the virtual mode. The competition was a part of this big event. The structure was divided into two stages. The first stage consisted of submitting 3 things: the abstract, the technical paper in PPT format, and the PPT video presentation. Those selected in the first stage were moved on to the next one, the Questionnaire round, we were evaluated based on our knowledge and novelty of the proposed idea by the experienced RnD people of Imerys
MM: What inspired you to participate in the competition?
SL: Competitions like these are solutions-based and application-oriented, and this is what makes these competitions interesting. Pritish and I had been working for TATA Steel Mind Over Matter since the beginning of 2020. We gathered enough information about additive manufacturing during that time, and we also did a lot of research on it. Both of us believed that it was something that could change the world. This competition provided us with a platform where we could present our ideas about how additive manufacturing could be brought to application in India's industrial scenario. Since it was an industry-related platform where industry professionals would evaluate you and rate your ideas, we decided to participate in this competition.
PK: Shiny and I had done a fair amount of study around the topic of our presentation priorly when we were participating in one event of TATA Steel. So, the time that we have invested earlier and the self-exploring field of material science have inspired us to participate in this competition.
MM: According to you, what is the importance of organising such competitions? How are these beneficial to students?
SL: I believe that these competitions improve our outlook and enable us to think through what we learn in the class. These help us think in an application-oriented manner, which is really important to change the world. Presenting your ideas before professionals who are actually implementing what we study in the class enables you to get a deeper idea of many technical aspects and their practicality. These competitions are a great way to explore and gain practical knowledge of whatever we study in the class.
PK: Competitions like Calde Conclave are the best way to update yourself about the current industrial practices and widening your exposure to knowledge related to a particular industry. Not only this but all kinds of competitions, including hackathons, have been a unique medium to get absorbed by big companies. Being part of the Placement Committee, I strongly advise the 2nd and 3rd-year students to participate in such events. All these are great add-ons to your CV by being a national level event, plus many competitions do offer a chance of PPIs (Pre-Placement Interviews). And I feel thrilled that this culture is taking its shape as students of our college have performed exceptionally well in hackathons by GE Healthcare, Myntra, Mind Over Matter by TATA Steel and many more.
MM: As the Covid situation has brought everyone’s life to a standstill, how difficult or convenient was it for you to get exposure to such events?
SL: Well, exposure was never an issue because you get time to time updates on these events on social media and the placement committee. However, the frequency of such events has probably reduced. In such a competition, one needs to work in a team that requires a lot of discussions about the topic. My teammate Pritish Kumar Kar and I had to discuss and share our ideas for hours over video calls, which could have been easier. It becomes difficult to show a confident body language on video conferencing which becomes a setback. On the other hand, if you look at the positive aspect of this, the number of webinars have increased as the guests are more approachable due to online situations.
PK: It is effortless to get exposure to such events and sites like Dare2Compete where you get all kind of updates of such events. Adding onto this, you can also check your LinkedIn profiles for 15-20 mins a day, which will let you know about the industry-related events.
MM: What was your preparation strategy? Please give some tips to the students who are looking forward to participating in such competitions.
SL: I would suggest students to study beyond classes. If something in the class excites you, you should read about it in detail. A professor’s duty is to introduce you to the subject, diving deeper into it is your job. Be passionate about things you think can bring a change in the world. Once you gain interest in it, participating in such competitions somewhat eases your path. It gives you a platform to develop an idea using whatever bits and pieces you have in your mind. Reading about various things, researching on topics which excite them, are the things students should do if they are looking forward to having a great future.
PK: Since it was a competition involving the study of research papers and literature reviews, the preparation was quite simple. We had an idea and was validated step by step from the research papers. One of the tips that I believe is worth mentioning is that before proceeding towards your research, you should always look over the company's profile and their current work in their RnD division, refer to the company's LinkedIn page and news headlines. By doing this, your idea can be well connected with the company's interest.
MM: Did you participate in other events and competitions of the Calde Conclave 2020? If yes, how was your overall experience?
SL: It was a long event with several webinars, and many industry professionals were attending them, sharing their experience and how their companies are implementing new solutions in different fields. It was fascinating to know about those things. I couldn't attend all the events, unfortunately, due to the time constraint. However, whatever webinars I attended, I got to know about various things. Even if I didn't have a complete idea about various topics, I gathered the idea that people face such circumstances and find their solutions. The summary I gathered from these events was that common sense, and creative thinking creates the path to innovation.
PK: This was the only competition where I participated. However, the Conclave had many other events, where prominent figures in the field of Refractories had a profound discussion over solutions related to petrochemicals, Iron and Steel, ceramic and refractory based industries.
MM: Calderys' India's initiative on indigenous refractory products and solutions for the petrochemical industry can massively push for the make in India scheme. Share some of the key points from the webinar and your opinion on such a profitable start.
SL: In the webinars, they focused on the research and development aspect of the company. In the past, India had to give contracts to foreign companies for solutions. But in recent times, the youth is bringing in changes slowly but steadily. India is investing heavily in the research and development field, and also a multitude of students are interested in research.
Events like these, help the students get an insight into the research field, and groom the innovative thinking and implementation in the industries.
PK: The experience as a spectator was good, although I was not able to track the entire event. Still, I have attended a few webinar sessions where real-life industrial problems involving energy saving in foundries and reduction of heat losses were discussed. Innovative ideas were welcomed in the discussion. Although the event was virtual, the app was so well designed that it gave us a feeling of actually attending the speakers.
MM: What's your final message for our readers?
SL: Keep going, even if things don't seem to go in your way. Believe in yourself and keep putting in efforts.
PK: My final message to the readers is to start exploring such unique opportunities that will help you learn and gain a practical idea about the current industrial practices. I appreciate clubs like Indian Ceramic Society and Steellun being departmental clubs where students get to know about such events. A good connection is maintained with the alumni through this.
When asked about his preparation strategy and experience of participating in the competition, Achint Sarbajeet Bishoyi told MM:
Well, it wasn't the first time I was participating in a presentation competition, but to do it in online mode initially seemed a bit difficult. One of the major drawbacks was not being able to sit together with my teammate and prepare for it; there's only so much you can discuss on a phone call. But yes, my teammate is very enthusiastic, and our combined efforts led us to prepare the whole thing within four days.
It happened so suddenly that we didn't get much time to prepare. We selected a topic first and then studied the basics of it for a day then decided which particular subtopics to choose for the presentation. Then we made a rough layout of what to include in the presentation and collected as much info as possible about them. Then collaboratively we made the presentation and refined it with inputs from each other. If anyone wants to participate in such competitions, then they can take a similar approach. They can also take help from seniors if required.
He further added:
This event was brought to our notice by the Placement Coordinator of our branch. For someone who is actively looking for such events, checking the websites and social media handles of major companies regularly should do, in addition to interaction with seniors.
Siddhartha Nanda also shared his experience with MM, he told:
CaldeConclave 2020 was an excellent experience for me. It was a unique 3D virtual 2-day event comprising various seminars, exhibitions, panel discussions and competitions on refractory technologies. Webinars on high-speed casting, energy savings in foundries were exciting. The best thing is that it was a 3D event which was a novel experience. The lectures were informational. Overall, it was excellent and slightly unconventional.
Regarding the paper presentation competition, the participants were asked to submit the abstract and the video explanation of the presentation. The top 4 teams were interviewed by a panel, followed by a voting procedure during the 2-day event. Our presentation was on "Quality improvement in MgO-C bricks by adding nano carbons and altering mixing regime". My partner Achint Sarbajeet Bishoyi and I are glad that we became 2nd runners up. I am delighted that Calderys and Imerys have come up with such innovative competitions for students. I believe that more core-subject based competitions should be encouraged.
For juniors, I would like to tip that the essential thing is selecting the topic for presentation. Don't go for any conventional topic, go for something innovative that is still in the research, and have a reasonable implementation probability. Try to present in a very fluid way. Have good knowledge of the topic and be confident.”
The achievement by the students of NIT Rourkela in the Technical Paper Presentation competition is quite exemplary. Team MM wishes them the very best for their endeavours ahead.