Interview: Aadhil Basith (Chem-2016)

Please state your current major and explain the area of research you are currently involved in. Do state your past research if any.
I am pursuing masters in Chemical Engineering at IISc Bangalore. This is my first year, and it is full of coursework. The actual research work starts in the second year. I don’t have any past research experience.

What encouraged you to pursue your higher studies and research studies in India, instead of abroad?
I wanted to study in an institute where the main focus is on research. IISc is the best place for that and has world-class facilities for research. I didn’t want to go abroad because of financial constraints.

What should students know before taking up research? How should they pursue their career in research?
Students should be thorough with their basics in their respective field. If they are interested in research, they should go for Masters in a reputed institute (India/abroad) and then go for PhD. They can also opt for direct PhD after Btech.

Why are research internships important? How do students hone their skills through these internships?
Research internships are important if one wants to pursue MS abroad. In India, it is not a requirement. It would be great to do one or two research internships during Btech so that when students get into the real work (during MS/PhD), they already have some idea of how it’s going to be.

What other skills do you think students need to learn before/while pursuing highers in engineering and sciences?
Students should have very good technical knowledge. It is also better to learn MATLAB and C/C++ if they plan to do research. Software skills are important. Later, one won’t get enough time to learn these programming languages.

Where do you think, the research scenario in NIT Trichy needs improvement, and how can it be improved?
I think, in NIT Trichy, the main focus is on placement. I feel that research should also be given equal importance. It would also be great if faculties encourage students to pursue their career in research.

What must one do after getting admitted into college? I.e How do you feel time must be utilised post-admission?
They can improve their software skills. Learn new programming languages. They can revise some of the core subjects. During the masters, faculties won’t teach the concepts covered in Btech. It will be advanced.

What are some things about your career path you wish you knew in college, in retrospect?
I didn’t have a clear idea about research during my Btech days. My main focus was on placements. I wanted to work in an industry for a year and then go for higher studies. I started developing an interest in research through reading. (Various journals and scientific articles).

What exams do you think are most important to write before applying for highers?
For MS abroad, GRE and TOEFL.
For Mtech in India, one should write GATE. Based on the GATE score, and the number of seats, students get direct admission (Very high gate score and a very good rank is required).
For MS/PhD in India, there will be a cutoff GATE score (not that high) and they will call for an interview.

How useful is having work experience before applying for highers? Is one year time for work experience ample enough?
Work experience is not at all required for Masters/PhD in India. If a student wants to pursue his/her career in research, it is better not to focus on placements and instead prepare for GRE/GATE.

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