Jul 4, 2008

Headstart Masters / PhD !!

Discipline: B.E (Hons.) Mechanical
Engineering and Sciences students these days have lot of options to choose from, after their graduation, be it jobs in specific companies or Masters/PhD or MBA.

The Masters/PhD option which a lot of graduates these days are looking for, requires planning from the start of a student’s third year, if not earlier.
The student who considers Masters/PhD as an important option must start planning based on quite a few influential factors, to name some:
1. Financial status of the student, whether his family can afford his education abroad, if in case he isn’t funded.
2. Which field he wants to pursue his education in. By field, I don’t really mean specialization but one should at least finalize the discipline. For example, quite a few number of students shift to Computer Science major.
3. Motivation. Before committing oneself to Masters/PhD, one should really think about what he wants from life. Is it money or fame or a comfortable life? Is it a technical job or a managerial oriented one?

Masters/PhD is simply the continuation of the student life, may be with a focused direction. It’s seriously not tough, just that you need to be a little motivated. You still have friends around you to help you out. Believe me, it’s not strenuous but its fun!

Moving onto the plan of action, from the start of third year, you need to start taking electives in your field of interest. Start talking to professors, discuss their projects and decide under which professors you want to work. Projects are considered to be cake walk (although walking on cake is not easy :P) at BITS, but put in a bit of extra effort and come up with something useful which you can boast upon when you apply to universities abroad.

It’s better if all your electives and projects are related, just to give you an added advantage while you apply. Participate in the APOGEE and other tech fests, work on good projects.

By the end of third year, you would be planning for GRE, TOEFL, IELTS etc. Get them out of your way as soon as possible. Start deciding on what all universities you want to apply to. Talk to seniors, professors and batch mates before you do this.

Then start writing SOP and build your Resume (both are very important in judging you, hence spare good amount of time on them). Go through the university websites thoroughly and try filling out the applications long before the deadline, it certainly helps.

Decide whether you want to go for PhD or not (increases chance of getting admits and funding). Please DO NOT apply for PhD just for the sake of getting admit or funding, it leaves a bad impression not only on you but also on BITS if you discontinue the PhD program once you are done with Masters.
Publishing papers and presenting them at national/international conferences certainly helps. It’s not a requirement though. You can get into top Grad Schools without having papers on your name.

Fresh grads are mostly preferred for Masters/PhD in Engineering and Sciences as they are the ones who will have a better course knowledge.

Coming to the BITSian factor,
1. BITS certainly is known to people abroad (not as much as IIT’s though) thanks to our alumni. It’s certainly a brand name and improves your chances of getting admits and funding.
2. At BITS, one can work on lot of projects, unlike just the B-Tech project which other university students do. Use this benefit accordingly, as projects certainly add to your resume.
3. PS-1, PS-2 and Internships add to one’s experience and again a resume building factor. Other universities don’t have Practice School funda.
4. All round development and exposure.

Keep doing your best wherever you are and it doesn’t really matter what option you choose and which direction you go. But Masters/PhD is a good option to consider as one can go places (USA/Europe/Australia), have an additional degree, better job opportunities and most importantly added student life!


Anveshan said...

Change the name to MS/PhD dude...

Akash said...

Great initiative to help future BITSians! (And the one's on campus!) :)
However, I just wanted to point out a mistake in the post. Getting PhD admits is considerably more difficult than getting MS admits. Just a simple google search and several Prof's pages will show that. :)
Great post nevertheless! :D

Anveshan said...

Akash, the post was talking about admit+aid factor... getting an admit into Masters program is certainly not tough, but when you are looking for aid, PhD option improves your chances.

Sumi said...

I am selectd for the test for part time Ph D at BITS. cn u help with the duration for course work/campus visits as I am working right now. I am not able to get thru to anyone..my test process in next week. i (post)graduated from Symbiosis about 8 years ago.