Abhinav Gupta, ISM Alumnus, Batch of 2010

He always knew that he wanted to go study abroad after graduating from ISM. Following two years of work in India, started his MS program (Fall 2012) in University of Kansas in Environmental Engg. Before graduating in May 2014, received an opportunity from SwaBz Systems to become a business analyst which he readily accepted. He is currently working as a Sr. Consultant and gaining experience in many domains such as Business Analysis, Quality Analysis, Agile Development, SQL DBA, Property and Casualty Insurance products etc. He is a good example of changing his job profile after completing higher studies. He has helped many people realize their goals and is an asset to his friends.

Full Interview:

  1.      How important are higher studies for an undergraduate student?

Depends on where you land after you complete your undergraduate school, what are you interested in, and what are your plans for your future. For example,

  1.    Important for: i) People who want to move up the ladder by being more qualified in their own field of study or those who want to change their specialization by doing MBA or MS in some other field of study.
  2. ii) People who want to pursue a career in academics. (PhD / Postdoc / Faculty member)
  3.   Not so important for: People who are lucky and able enough to join huge firms such as Shell, Cairn, Rio Tinto, Microsoft, Google etc. right after their B.Tech. They do not usually choose to go with higher studies as they are already doing pretty well in their career. Some big firms make freshers go through their own graduate programs though.

 

  1.      What are different opportunities one can pursue in MS? Is Executive MBA a necessary prerequisite for growth in this field?

There are so many different courses one can pursue in MS. Course of study in MS may or may not be the same as what you pursue during your B.Tech. If you are not really interested in the field of study that you pursued during your B.Tech., pursuing MS in the field of study of your alternate interest gives you a second chance to get out of your current mess and determine what you will finally end up doing. There are a lot of cases when students start their MS in a given field but change their course of study mid-way during the course to something that has no relation to what they were originally supposed to do. Opportunities in MS has no bounds, it all depends on what you want to do.

Executive MBA is not a ‘necessity’ but it is definitely recommended to pursue this degree to grow in Management field and have a solid profile. Completion of an Executive MBA accompanied with experience makes you eligible for most top level management positions in organizations.

 

  1.      What is different in pursuing MS in US, UK, Aus, or Canada? Which countries are better than others for pursuing MS?

My personal opinion is MS in US is the best followed by Canada. Reason I would say this is because you get a chance to work in these countries after completion of your Master’s degree (you get work authorization for at least 29 months in US, 3 years in Canada post completion of your degree). I don’t think UK and Australia provide authorization to work post MS. These countries should only be considered if you plan to come back to India after finishing your MS.

 

  1.      How should a current engineering student aspiring for MS, need to prepare for it?

There are two exams that one has to take to apply for MS.:- GRE and TOEFL/IELTS. TOEFL/IELTS is a MUST for all universities as Indians are not native speakers of English language. Most universities in US require GRE while some rare universities may not have GRE as a mandatory requirement.

Scoring well in these exams is the first and foremost requirement. Scoring well on TOEFL is comparatively easier as compared to GRE. If one prepares well for GRE, TOEFL preparation will already be done with too.

To prepare for GRE: Students weak in English may begin with ‘Word Power Made Easy’ and aim to complete reading the book within a month or so before switching on to Barron’s. Students already good in English may start with Barron’s and aim to complete one wordlist per day. Revision must be done after completion of every 5-6 wordlists to make sure the words learnt are retained in your memory and not forgotten. Being an ISMite, it is expected that most students would be good enough in Mathematics to be able to ace the Quantitative ability section. Completion of material and exercises in Barron’s is more than enough to have a near perfect score in Quants section.

                                               

  1.      What skills ISMites should have after graduating from ISM?

Again, depends on the individual. While exiting ISM, students must have the ability to behave professionally, possess good writing skills, good and fluent communication skills. Confidence and communication skills take you a long way. Even if one is not perfect in their job, they will learn with time as long as they are willing to. But a lack of confidence and inability to communicate ideas seriously hurts one’s profile anywhere they go.

 

  1.      What are you doing currently? What are your plans for future?

I completed my Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from University of Kansas in May 2014 and got a job as an Environmental Engineer. However, I got another offer to become a Business Analyst with an IT consulting firm and I accepted this offer instead, as I saw myself going far and doing better as a management person rather than as an Environmental Engineer. That’s why I believe life is unpredictable and it can change very rapidly and unexpectedly if you are willing to take risks and are open to change.

I am currently working as a Sr. Consultant in SwaBz Systems. I love my job right now and will continue to work for this firm for at least a few years. In immediate future, I aim to expand my skillset and become well versed in a few areas such as Business Analysis, Quality Analysis, SQL DBA, Coded UI, C#

 

  1.      Any message for your ISM Juniors?

The only thing that propels you is your determination and confidence in yourself. Keep working with patience and resolve towards whatever it is you want to achieve. Obstacles make your life interesting and provide you an ability to be awesome when you overcome them. Do not be let down by hurdles and believe that your efforts will come through someday. As an ISM (now IIT-Dhn) alumnus, I am always available to advise juniors on anything that I can help with. For anything that might be out of scope for me, I can direct juniors to the appropriate people who can help. Feel free to reach out to me and I will try my best to assist you. Thanks!

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