Clarification of membership at BITSAA.org (BITSAA International)

Recently, BITSAA International received an e-mail from a student asking for clarification regarding the Alumina registration fees that he had paid on campus. While the matter was not strictly within BITSAA International’s ambit, we thought it was a good opportunity to help alumni to understand the difference between BITSAA International and BITSAAD which is the department concerned with Alumni Affairs on campus.

Alumni registration fees are raised by the Alumni Division on campus. The utilization of funds goes towards the Director’s Tea Party, Batch snaps, yearbook and so on. The exact details on fund collections and split up of expenditure should be available with the local BITSAAD incharges at Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad and Dubai.

BITSAA International is a non-profit organization. We have never charged registration/membership or membership fees, nor do we foresee any necessity to do so in  the future for now. All registrations on the BITSAA International website are free and will continue to remain so.

BITSAA International

Many people would be interested to know that BITS Alumni Association International , BITSAA International, was created in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Three bitsians, Anupendra Sharma (Eco Instru ’87), Venu Palaparthi (Eco CS ’87) and Sandeep Arora (MMS 87), were working towards a scholarship dedicated to one of their batchmates, SS Seshadri (Eco Civil), who had passed away a few years ago. They met each other in the process of hosting a Music Night in October, 2011 to that effect. But one month before that, on September 11, 2001, the World Trade Centre was attacked. A BITSian, Vamsi Pendyala (’88), was a passenger on the flight from Boston which crashed into the World Trade Center.

In light of recent events, the three founders decided that it was only fitting to create a scholarship in memory of Vamsi Pendyala. Vamsi’s wife and classmates were instantly supportive, and the organizing team grew rapidly. Unfortunately, overcome by grief, Vamsi’s wife took her own life a week later.

Vamsi’s tragedy brought a lot of attention to the Fundraiser at New Jersey. “We owe our entire organization to Vamsi,” Venu says, “In dying, he created an organization.” BITSAA was recognized by BITS in 2003 when the then Director Prof. Venkateshwaran had visited the United States.

BTISAA then grew taking stride after stride. BITSconnect, BITS Connect 2.0, Sandpaper, BITS to MS/PHD, BITS to Bschool, BITSAA Global 30 under 30 just some of the initiatives and good work done by bitsian alumni. You can read more about alumni coming together to help out others on the BITSAA International website.

BITSAAD

Each campus has its own BITS Alumni Affairs Division, BITSAAD is functioning at Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad and Dubai campuses. BITSAAD maintains liaisons with the alumni and involves them in the development of the university. The division functions as an arm of the campus administration.

The BITS Alumni Affairs Division, established in 2010 connects and engages students, alumni friends and well-wishers to a lifelong relationship with BITS Pilani. The division is working to extend further, the Alumni support to the continuing development of the Institute’s academics, research and off campus programs, expansion and renewal of its facilities, and in providing scholarship and financial aid to students through annual fundraising campaigns. The division generates opportunities for alumni and friends of the institute to extend their time, talent and treasure to enhance the vitality and reputation of BITS Pilani.

The activities conducted by the division during the academic year 2011-12 include

·        Director’s Tea Party

·        Batch Snaps (B.E and M.E)

·        Support for Convocation 2011

·        Registration of graduating students as BITS Alumni

·        Design, procurement, distribution and sale of Institute approved souvenirs

·        Coordinating Scholarship Applications, Travel grants, requests from students for alumni mentoring, etc.

·        Coordinating Alumni Visits

·        Coordinating Lets Promote BITS Pilani (LPBP)

On Campus Talks

On campus talks are an excellent forum for invited speakers from the alumni community to share their experiences with the students’ on-campus

Project Embryo Lectures

Alumni from different field and expertise interact with the students through video lecture. Efforts are made to telecast lectures to all the campuses simultaneously.

The Road Ahead

BITSAA International and BITSAAD are working together to  give back to the University as Alumni, what we received as students. Whether you are a current student, graduating class, alumni or faculty, Please do register on the global BITSian Directory at www.bitsaa.org

 

BITSAA Intl is working in sync with the office of alumni affairs to create a cohesive and tightly integrated workflow & infrastructure . Whether you are a current student, graduating class, alumni or faculty, Please do register on the global BITSian Directory – www.bitsaa.org

Sources & Links :

BITSAA Initiatives - http://www.bitsaa.org/?page=initiatives

BITS Connect 2.0 & How it will change things on campus - http://bitsconnect20.bitsaa.org/

http://www.bitsaa.org/news/111339/

BITSAA Global Meet 2014 - http://www.bitsaaglobalmeet.org/

BITSAAD - http://www.bits-pilani.ac.in/pilani/alumni

http://www.bits-pilani.ac.in/Goa/alumni

http://www.bits-pilani.ac.in/hyderabad/alumni

http://www.bits-pilani.ac.in/dubai/alumni

Aditya Bhuvaneshwaran, Team Leader – Membership Team, BITSAA International.

BITSAA Registration Summary

The Alumni Membership Team has taken up an initiative to ensure transparency regarding registration numbers and statistics to allow alumni to understand how BITSAA International is growing.  In order to do this, the team has decided to publish monthly statistics, and come with some insights on these numbers. If you have ideas on how we can improve these numbers and bring in more registrations, we are all ears – Shoot out an email to membership-team@bitsaa.org and we will be happy to learn from you.

We will be releasing statistics regarding website usage every 4 months.  Here are the January and May Statistics!

January (May) Statistics

 The total number of users that logged in this month were 263 (224) out of a possible 12559 (12875) members out of which 72% (68%) were from Pilani, 16% (22%) from Goa, 11% (8%) from Hyderabad and 1% (2%) from Dubai.

I would also like to bring to notice that registration numbers this January have decreased compared to previous January.  Steps should be taken to see why this has happened.

With that, I would like to bring this month’s update to an end.  I hope the information here has brought some insight into the bigger picture of how things are moving in BITSAA

What is as Masters of Science Degree all about?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of BITSAA International or any of its teams. 

Masters of Science offers degrees in Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, etc in a particular or interdisciplinary field. It allows you to switch your area of specialization and explore areas not possible at the Bachelors level. Doing an MS gives you exposure to world class research facilities and professors at the same time opening up global job opportunities. I would state at the outset this is mostly directed at engineering MS aspirants.

Current Trends

BITS PIlani students have consistently secured admission into top ranked universities across the world. 110 students have secured admission in 2013.  53 students of these secured admission into Stanford, Michigan Ann Arbor, Carnegie Mellon, TAMU, National University of Singapore, Georgia Tech and Wisconsin Madison.

Several others secured admission into other world class universities such as ETH Zurich, UT Austin,  Purdue, Cornell, University of Urbana Campaign, TU Delft, Virginia Tech, Penn state university.

Areas of  interest ranged from traditional such as Machine Learning, VLSI to areas such as Petroleum, Pharmaceutics, Aerospace, Biomedical & Business Analytics.

Computer Science related fields were most popular selected by 41 students. Electrical and Mechanical were close at 14 and 11 admits respectively. Industrial Engineering and Biology had 7 and 8 admits respectively.

To do or not to Do an MS

If you steer clear of these problems, then your MS will be an enjoyable experience

  • While Masters is the right choice for some people, it will not be for others. The application process in itself involves considerable expense of time and money upwards of six months and up to 1 lakh. So it is very important that you are sure that this is a step you’d like to take.
  • It is not advisable to apply if you are unsure about your interests. Companies when they recruit graduates expect that the candidate is competent and is eager to work in the domain. If you do not like the job profiles or work culture, you will find yourself laden with student debt and forced to work in an area you do not like simply to pay off the loan.
  • There is also peer pressure to get a Masters as more and more students pursue qualifications after B.E. Choosing to do an MS for this reason is likely to backfire as one may not be in the right state of mind to plan his career.
  • Money matters. Money matters a lot. Pursuing a degree without liking a field is risky as bad work life balance, unable to get along with colleagues, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness will eventually creep into your life. This aspect will not be evident while you are in college but you will appreciate it much more once you finish your PS.
  • Doing a Master’s degree also runs the risk of being over qualified. Though this is minimal. People automatically assume you will demand a higher salary or move to a different job as soon as the market improves. So they will be more reluctant to hire you in the first place. This turns into a cycle, do not get a job as you do not have relevant experience, and you cannot get relevant experience as you do not have a job.
  • While it is still uncommon in engineering, it is not unheard of that graduates are unable to find jobs after graduating and are forced to come back to India due to visa regulations. Once they arrive here are unable to find jobs as either they are overqualified do not have relevant work experience or simply that the industry does not exist in India.

I want to do an MS what do I do now?

Know what you don’t want to do. It’s the best way to identify which area you want to specialise in. Just like those MCQ’s you solved in BITSAT. It needs some introspection, but mostly, figure out what you don’t want to do, write down what you like and choose something you want. Projects and PS stations might be ideal places to figure this out. Differentiate fields that a more academic oriented than industry. The latter is generally well-paying, the former tends to be more satisfying. Once your area is clear, then making choices for relevant electives, projects, companies to work in becomes much easier.

The most important factor in deciding your admittance would be a CGPA, more specifically the grades in your core subjects. A CG about 8 and at least 3, 4 A’s  helps to have a wide choice of universities to apply to. Having a low CG ( <7 ) isn’t  the end of the world, but it’s an uphill task.

Work on as many projects as possible would to gain expertise and develop a resume. While working on projects concentrate first on the task at hand.  Explore allied areas, network with other people in the field and develop specific skill sets such as programming languages, FEM software.

A simple way to prep for TOEFL and GRE is to read the newspaper or at least editorials regularly. It improves your clarity of thought and speaking. It improves your grammar and vocabulary. It helps you identify upcoming areas and emerging trends and industry. Relevant to MS it will help you construct a good SOP. If you have a good command over English, it helps you in all walks of life.

Understand the financial implications of taking up a MS. Evaluate how much money you have at hand and how much you will need to borrow. Having a good CG helps improve chances of landing a TA (Teaching Assistantship) or RA (Research Assistantship) and the accompanying fee waiver. So study if for nothing else, the money! Trade off your interest in the field versus the job prospects in it. Understand that hobbies are different from work. You may like to code occasionally, but the programmer’s job involves more debugging than actual coding. You need to be in front of a computer more than 12 hours a day. This mismatch between industry and academia is much clearer once you start working.

Should I get work experience before a Master’s Degree?

The only point against this would be that people tend to lose focus after they start working. This easy money in hand and continuing on the job seems a lot easier than taking the extra trouble to apply to grad school. But more often than not this happens to those who weren’t interested in the field in the first place anyways. The simplest way to avoid this issue is to plan beforehand the duration of your tenure in industry. Explore the job opportunities and profiles of seniors in your industry to assess future potential. It will be a tradeoff between the advantages, your own aspirations and disadvantages, financial constraints and family obligations.

A big plus of having job experience on a resume is that it is much easier to land a job abroad you have work ex in India. Even for summer internships at the end of first year, work experience plays a key role. The job market in US and Europe while not bad as the recession is still tepid at best. You will be competing against candidates who have work ex. So unless you have something exceptional to offer you may be passed over.

Working in a company helps you to understand how organizations work. You begin to draw parallels between the manager and a professor, how to present your work, punctuality, delivering on time under pressure. In college were told often to learn everything as we may not know what they might find useful later. After working in a company, you can better identify the subjects and courses that you actually need and concentrate only on those. And every credit in the US costs a lot of money.

Working allows you to taste and freedom and to be responsible. You earn you money and you can choose how to spend. You also tend to meet people from diverse backgrounds from different colleges some better of the new some worse off. You will realize that most people who do what they like, or made and make money don’t have a MS from XYZ University, though having a degree doesn’t hurt your chances. Things you learn from their experiences will give you different perspectives from what you’re used to hearing in the hostel. You learn to live with yourself or together with other people but this time have a lot more cash to blow. You may develop interests find that you’re good at something that you didn’t know before.

Do not underestimate the benefit of a financial cushion from work savings. Think of it as more money to spend during grad school.

Choosing the company to work after college carefully. It may boil down to money versus interest. I would say the best thing is to contact your seniors and family for advice. Choose money if you need it choose money if you can afford it. Most importantly fix your tenure of stay and don’t tell anyone.

Check out the BITS2MSPHD forum for threads, past admits and any other questions you might have. Most likely, you will find a BITSian in your position a few years ago. Email him, call him up, feel free to ask about anything in the forum. And if you secure an MS admit, celebrate, and let the world know about it, atleast in the forum, so that you help the other BITSians.

About the Author:  I’m a proud 7 pointer 2007 Mech pass out. I’m specializing MEMS at the University of Freiburg. I’ll be joining college this October.

Aditya Bhuvaneshwaran, Team Leader – Membership Team, BITSAA International.

Prof. Suresh Ramaswamy Memorial Award Winners 2012-’13

Background and Vision
Students in BITS Pilani are the cream of India, chosen on merit by a very selective process. Once in BITS, these students express their creativity and innovation by working on projects, both as hobbies and/or as part of the curriculum. However, several students find many hurdles (especially financial constraints) that cause them to never have an opportunity to take their ideas/projects to fruition.

Prof. Ramaswamy always believed that every student, when trusted and given the right encouragement can be successful in any venture of his/her choice. A group of students who were very close to Prof.Ramaswamy realized that the best way to honor him and continue his legacy is to initiate an award that encapsulates his vision, and remove all barriers that impede the progress of student projects in BITS.

Award Summary
A prize of Rs. 40,000 will be awarded every year to a team of students (max. 6 students) in order to encourage and nurture them to work on a student project. The prize will be open to any student in any department of the Goa campus (for now). The recipients of the award will be chosen by a competitive peer-review process in the previous semester to the award. Interested students should apply to the award with a sound proposal of the project. Project ideas may come from student(s) with or without inputs from faculty, other alumni and industry experts. For the first year (2013-14), proposals will be restricted to science and engineering. They will be judged on their innovation and feasibility (more details below). The awardees will choose a faculty mentor who will have oversight of their project. The award money could be spent on anything (equipment, training, software, advertisement, travel etc) that directly helps in the success of their project.

Award Panel 2012-’13
Prof. P. Nandakumar , HOD, Physics Dept, Goa (Chair)
Prof. Raghunath Ratabole, Physics Dept, Goa
Prof. Gaurav Dar, Physics Dept, Goa
Prof. Toby Joseph, Physics Dept, Goa
Prof. Saby John, Faculty In Charge, Alumni Affairs Division, Goa

Winners 2012-’13

Project Name
Furniture-Integrated Workspace Cooling System

Project Brief
The project aims to develop a compact heat exchanger for front-end, furniture integrated desktop cooling system for workstations. The current cooling solutions involve centralized cooling with complex air-ducts, incurring major energy losses. Further, a lot of energy is wasted in cooling miscellaneous office fixtures. A desktop cooling system at a low cost of operation would provide the user with personalized-comfort cooling which centralized systems do not. As is the human psychology, a cooler torso gives a better feeling of comfort. This cooling system can be efficiently used in cyber cafes, laptop stations at airports etc.

Another application for this cooling system is possible in the field of electronic devices. Successful development of this heat exchanger at an even more compact scale can have far reaching impact in the IT sector from the standpoint of solving the ‘Thermal Brick Wall’ problem (which currently limits CPU clocks to ~ 3 GHz), an increasing concern about the electrical power consumption of IT infrastructure.

Team Members
Geetansh Gupta (ID No. 2010A1PS022G)
Aaditya Shah (ID No. 2010A1PS200G)

Geetansh Gupta is a Chemical Engineering student from the Goa campus. He has worked on projects in heat exchangers, LDPE pyrolysis and Stretford Process, using simulation software like COMSOL & ChemCAD. He has done internships with IFFCO Kandla and Rourkela Steel Plant, SAIL. He was an exchange student to Raffles Institution, Singapore. He was a StartingBloc fellow in 2012. He has worked as the Business Development Manager at TopTalent.in, a BITSian startup. At the college level, he was a core-member in Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL), Goa chapter, and has worked as Social Media & Logistics Co-ordinator for CEL events.With his interest and admiration for entrepreneurship, he aims to work at the intersection of chemical engineering and entrepreneurship.

Aaditya Shah is a student of Chemical Engineering from the Goa campus. He has worked on projects like LDPE pyrolysis, industrial sedimentation tanks, compact heat exchangers, rural water desalination and IS 7310 welding standards. He is interested in aircraft cooling systems and seawater purification. He worked as an intern at Wagon Repair Workshop, Jhansi.He served as the Secretary and Co-ordinator of chemical engineering students association, Alchemista. He is also a member of Kala, the fine arts club. His hobbies are automotive concept sketching, modern architecture and reading.

“We strongly believe that this recognition is the first step towards the success of our project. This award and the funding will help us skip the hurdles to build the first prototype of the proposed design and conduct thorough analysis under various circumstances of our prototype. With this we can incorporate the required modifications to the prototype, thus rendering us closer to our goal of a commercial pitch. ”                                                     – Geetansh & Aaditya

 The entire BITSAA community congratulates you on your achievement and wishes you continued success.

For starting a new scholarship or award, please write to scholarships@bitsaa.org.