Placement Talks with Ayush Prasad Kasar
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it. ~ Henry Ford
Getting an “on-campus” core job may seem like a “next to impossible” task for many, but it may not be the reality for a true aspiring individual. CEST club in association with ICE UK- NIT Rourkela chapter brings you an encouraging conversation with Mr. Ayush (from the batch of 2021) who has been a “near to perfect” example of patience, hard work and dedication. Due to his perseverance and continuous efforts, he got placed in GAIL. His journey may become the blue print for all those who are aiming to be placed on-campus in core engineering companies.
Enlighten us about your life before joining NIT Rourkela.
I was born in in Chhattisgarh. I did my schooling from Nursery to the fifth standard in Bal Bharti Public School. Due to my parent’s continuous effort to help me in my studies from the beginning, I secured good marks in school. Then in my fifth standard after applying for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Entrance Exam i.e., JNVST, I got selected in it and did my schooling there from the sixth standard to twelfth standard. Although initially it was difficult for me to adjust and to be involved in all the activities keenly but after some time, I took part in all the activities (academics, sports, and co-curricular activities) and shone bright among my peers. Also, homesickness in me was gone as my parents got shifted to Raipur, Chhattisgarh, and would occasionally visit my school. I participated and won various competitions like elocution, extempore, essay writing, exhibition (at JNV , Chhattisgarh). These activities helped me to develop my skills and personality. I also topped in all my exams and served as a captain in various domains of my school. I did an NCC ‘A’ Certificate too after going through CAT camp. As CBSE examinations are the key focused aspect of my JNV, I was not involved deeply in JEE or other career opportunities. This lack of career guidance and out of box thinking has led me up to engineering as my career. Though I just qualified JEE Mains after the twelfth standard, I experienced the level of competition and my standing therein. I also gave the NEST exam in which I got a decent score and AIR. It was a difficult time after the JEE result as I had no idea and guidance on what to do. But after a few weeks, I got the news that I have been selected for one-year scholarship coaching from Dakshana Foundation from Dakshana Valley, Pune whose exam I gave at my school. It was a very happy moment for me and my family as I could not afford decent coaching for one year drop for JEE. At first, I was excited and then after reaching Pune again the same thing happened. I was not able to adjust and focus my mind on my studies. This took so long that almost four to five months passed. Though physically I was doing everything – studies, morning exercise, self-assessment, etc. but my mind was not focused. Through continuous guidance from my parents, friends, and faculties I started to focus and remain calm and then gradually I started getting some satisfactory results. I got decent marks in JEE Mains and just qualified Advanced but I was happy with my results.
How did you join NITR? Did you choose civil engineering or it just happened?
Google, my friends and relatives helped me to know about college, their rankings, placements, branch and its role, etc. As I was not interested in any coding part, I filled for civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering branches in top NITs order for counselling. The mistake which happened is that I filled IT in NIT Durgapur and up to the last round of counselling was it stuck there. I would suggest everyone not to repeat my mistake. I took admission in NIT Durgapur and spend just 3-4 days but then in the special round of counselling I again filled the choices and then I kept NIT Rourkela at the top with the civil engineering branch which I finally got. The second thing is that my father and his family have spent most of their time in Rourkela, so that’s a reason for me to go for it. About the branch, I only got some insights that almost similar subjects are there for mechanical and civil up to a certain extent but my fondness towards buildings, heavy engineering construction, etc. from YouTube videos encouraged me to opt for civil engineering.
Were you a part of any of the clubs at NITR? What do you think about the club culture here? What would you like to say about CEST and ICE?
I came in the spot round so I missed the orientation and induction programs of most of the clubs and for others, I had reluctance to join them. I was not aware of the clubs at all. Then in the next semester, I came to know about most of the club’s orientation and induction program and joined CEST, UDAAN, and Avanti Group. However, I didn’t find any interest so I left all of them after a certain time. I learned to build RC Hovercraft in UDAAN Club and participated in a hovercraft competition in Innovision. I also learned many new things and insights from CEST and Avanti Group. The club culture at NIT Rourkela is very vast and versatile. One may find every aspect of development and innovation through joining any of the clubs. It helps us to overall develop our personality. CEST and ICE have grown quite much over the past few years. They have organized various programs, talks, training, fests, competitions, and other developing functions for their stakeholders. It has changed the scenario of the civil engineering branch and other related engineering domains. The projects and guidance from its alumni have helped everyone to succeed in their life.
What are some of the best tips/life lessons NITR has taught you? How have these been useful in your life outside of NITR?
NIT Rourkela has changed my way of thinking and my lifestyle. The lush green campus has taught me to wake early in the morning, enjoy its beauty, and do exercise. It helped me to remain calm and energetic daily. NIT Rourkela has given me a chance to dive into diverse cultures and to learn new things, new languages, traditions, and make new friends from everywhere in our country as well as from abroad. I used to be shy and couldn't express myself much with others around but the rich club culture, senior to junior interactions, and guidance have helped me to come out of this fear and shyness. The friends I made here have become an integral part of my life and I could found their personalities manifested in me. I think all aspects will benefit me in my life outside of NIT Rourkela.
How did the idea of appearing for GATE come to your mind?
When I was in my second year I used to talk with my inter NIT and IIT friends and also take insights about their college lifestyle and culture. Some of the colleges have a rich culture of preparations for competitive exams like GATE. IES, UPSC, CAT, SSC, etc. NIT Raipur is one of them. I used to talk with my friends there and they told me about these exams, their preparations, etc. My roommate is also from the civil engineering department and he used to be my ideal in many aspects. He used to guide me for GATE and IES. As I am good in concepts and studies I thought of then appearing for the GATE exam though it needs a lot of dedication and hard work.
What was your preparation strategy for GATE? What book/materials did you refer to for the examination purpose?
I focused on all the concepts and topics which were taught in the class. I used to read books, study materials, PDFs, resources from the internet, and anything available to clear my doubts. There’s a habit of mine that I keep my doubts pending up to my admission into NIT but then I made a decision that I never keep my doubt pending. I am not the kind of person who used to watch videos initially so I switch to materials and books. The motive is that one has to find which source of study is best for him/her. Then, I started focusing on my subjects and their concepts starting from the second year and bought GATE Academy materials for preparation in the third year. I also have e-books and materials of Made Easy, IES Master, and ACE Academy. I started preparing then but didn’t continue it for a long time as other works have to be managed in parallel. The books I used are core books mostly by Indian authors suggested by almost every faculty, coaching institute and one may find it easily available online and offline. I would like to share some of them.
link for book list : Best Books for GATE Civil Engineering (CE) 2022 - Check Here! (careers360.com)
How did you prepare for placement?
I referred MS Shetty for Concrete Technology and N. Subramanian and B C for RCC as my favourite subjects and gone through other subjects in brief like , structural and environment. I refer company’s website, its annual report and one of the professional in GAIL via LinkedIn to get company’s insights and Job Role. (Basically for HR Interview). I prepared HR and technical through mock interviews by and with the help of two of my friends. I focused on my technical knowledge (basics should be strong), practical approaches, project, internship and thoroughly on two predetermined questions.
Did you enrol for the prestigious IES examination?
No, at present I don't have any plans or thoughts for the IES examination. When I came to know that GAIL India Ltd. will be coming to our campus for placements, I enquired every sort of detail from the PC and students from other NITs. Though my GATE preparation was not good at all and the company would be visiting around that period only when the exam would be conducted, I had to pick the best for me. Frankly, going to a top PSE (PSU) on campus is much easier than through GATE. As I was at the top of my category and my CGPA was quite good, I focused on GAIL only. I worked for its PI (Personal Interview). The advantage which we got this year is that it is going in online mode and GD was not there. I focused on my technical knowledge and its practical applicability. I learned every sort of basic and practical aspect of civil engineering. I worked on my introduction and my motive to join GAIL which has to be unique and attentive. I learned the company’s job profile, its function, its annual performance, its market statistics, and every sort of detail. With my close friends, I conducted mock interviews and their guidance helped me a lot to crack for the job. I have a plan to first learn the practical aspects of civil engineering, maybe a year, and then may think for IES.
What message would you like to give to all the GATE aspirants?
I would like to suggest to start preparing for the exams as early as possible depending upon your strength and qualities. Be attentive and focused and don’t take the exam lightly. As you are among the best civil engineering undergrads, you have to give your best to become the best. Start focusing on concepts and understand every aspect. Don’t mug up things and do proper revision. Don’t pile up your doubts. If possible, give a mock test twice a week and increase its frequency further in a simulative environment as of GATE. Practice online virtual
calculator used in GATE and solve through it only, use only online mode for mock exams only and do rough work systematically and in a small diary/scribble pad. Make a habit of sitting for three hours focused and calm down and do refreshing activities like singing, jogging, playing, dancing, or anything to keep your mind calm and active. Drink enough water, have a proper meal, exercise daily, and keep track of your progress daily. GATE or any competitive exam doesn’t merely check your knowledge but it also checks your speed, accuracy, attentiveness, and patience. Be calm and consistent with your work and success would be achieved surely. While preparing for any exam either end-, mid-, competitive exams, etc. first go through the syllabus and previous year papers. Analyse it properly, the weightage, toughness, etc. Make a strategy accordingly because the final score will decide your next step. Make a schedule that is possible to follow and start your preparations. While covering higher to lower weightage sections revise periodically and do take tests. Analyse and rectify your doubts and mistakes. While near to the exam and do take mock tests and have faith and confidence in you. In the exam first, go through the guidelines and paper thoroughly within ten minutes. Solve the section which carries higher marks and then go for lower (changes from person to person depending upon his strategy). Take a look back at the last thirty minutes for any error. Remain calm and cool and success will be achieved.
Share with us any memorable incident of NITR life which you still cherish.
There were many moments that still make me happy when I think about them. Some of the incidents happened at night outs, some in laboratories, and some during fests and functions. One is the night when some of us during our first year went to the backside of VKR near the hill and guards and locals with dogs made us run after midnight. The late-night fun and activities with my friends, the fun in the laboratories, and our late-night walks and talks are memorable for me.
What are your future goals?
As I secured a job in GAIL India Ltd., I want to learn first the practical aspects of civil engineering. I want to be a part of mega and innovative engineering projects and structures and give my innovations in them. I want to be looked up to as a professional in the civil engineering sector and make myself and my friends and family proud. I have an aspiration of becoming an administrative officer which sooner or later I will try to achieve.
We congratulate Mr. Ayush Prasad Kasar for his achievement and wish him a future full of happiness and prosperity.