Panel Discussion on Higher Studies- A Report

Divyanshu Aryan


An interactive session between the students of Mechanical Engineering and the students who recently passed out of college in the quest of higher education was recently held. The students were mainly of PhD and MS courses that are pursuing their research field of interest. A number of important issues came to light in this session and many solutions were discussed amongst the attendees.

The discussion moved on to comparing the education system at IITs to various other institutes. The involvement of students in the system was discussed next. Students were also told about the vast varieties of projects offered to them as IITians. Students were encouraged to gather information about the courses they are opting for and choose wisely, so as to take the maximum benefit of the facilities offered at IIT Delhi, including the labs. They emphasised on developing the ‘Maker-Culture’ that is prevalent in most universities abroad. It was emphasised that the students must change their attitude towards studies, and since they are a part of IIT Delhi, they must realise and utilise the full potential of the various facilities offered by the institute. The various opportunities offered by the online courses were also explained.

Shifting to the topic of the research projects for the students, the speakers encouraged the students to reach out to their professors. The various pros and cons of long term projects versus industrial internships, especially in IISC or any foreign university were discussed next. The various benefits of taking up a B.Tech project were told as well.

After some talk on the project opportunities the topic of the discussion changed to ‘Writing SOPs’. The importance of a good SOP was conveyed to the students. They were encouraged to write their own SOPs instead of copying from other sources. A stepwise method of writing an SOP was discussed. The major points covered included writing about their own skills, how they’ll be of value to the ongoing research. It was noted that the SOP needed to be different from the CV of the student. The motivation of the student for a PhD must be conveyed through their SOP. Some information about the field one is applying for must be covered in the SOP. Students were advised to reverse think while, and write that content in their SOPs for which they would actually offer someone else a position. It was emphasised that the students must only write those facts in their SOPs which they have the proof for. Last but not the least the importance of starting early was discussed as well.

The discussion then moved on the other aspects like applying at different universities. Students were advised to take up multiple and diverse projects, as the universities understand that under graduation is an exploration period. The process of gaining funding for the projects was discussed next. For the students of the MS programme, no official funding is generally available, they were advised to be in contact with their professors of choice as that would increase their chances for a scholarship/funding. For PhD aspirants, most institutes offers some funding. Another medium for funding is getting a fellowship. For example,  the Purdue-ISRO fellowship is reserved for students from IIT and IISC. For getting a TA-ship the importance of the GRE and Toefel scores was emphasised upon. Though most of the times trying to contact professors in top universities might go in vain but if it does work out, nothing like it.

The work culture amongst the students was discussed next. Students were advised to maintain a high attendance and take the work seriously instead of waiting for deadlines. In higher education, it’s very important to have a very enthusiastic research group, which works collaboratively so that everyone remains motivated. Moreover the resources are abundantly available in universities abroad. Students were also advised to look out for possible positions in European Universities.

Concluding the session, there was one point that was common to everything discussed. Just figure out what you really enjoy doing and pursue it relentlessly; everything else will follow. The session saw a participation of 43 undergrads and was a successful session. Looking forward to more such informative sessions from the MES!IMG_7539 IMG_7548

Research Internship in Germany

Avinash Sharma
Germany- the Land of Ideas holds a strong research repute all across the globe. With numerous labs doing cutting-edge research, finding a position in one such places can definitely be a stepping stone in one’s academic career. I was more than thrilled when I got one such opportunity to work as a research intern under Professor Bähre at Lehrstuhl Für Fertigungstechnik (Institute of Production Engineering), Universität des Saarlandes (Saarland University), Germany during the summers of 2015.
My internship lasted for about 10 weeks in the beautiful city of Saarbrücken, located on the fringes of the Franco-German border. My work was primarily based on understanding the effects of residual stresses in some of the state-of-the-art manufacturing processes through Finite Element Modelling (FEM). I was supervised by my Professor and was directly working with the P.hD. who both guided and monitored my daily progress. I worked independently most of the time and involved myself in a lot of reading. Quite often I discussed my findings with my colleagues over lunch. It was during this that I learnt the nuances of German food and culture. There were interns also from other Asian countries and it was fascinating to learn about their cultures and lifestyles. My day in the lab usually started early and ended late in the evening as it was always fun and enriching to work in such a conducive atmosphere the lab had to offer. The lab was well equipped and had some excellent infrastructure.
Germany has an amazing work culture. People are generally hard working and disciplined. If work is serious business, Germans make sure they even party hard during weekends. It was quite common to spot a barbecue in the evenings. Most of my free days were spent in exploring Europe. Saarbrücken being close to the Franco-German border, travelling to French cities during the weekends was fairly easy. The German rail network (Deutsch Bahn) is simply awesome. It’s fast, punctual and connects most European cities and towns. With a EuRail pass, one can easily visit several places and experience different cultures and flavours Europe has to offer.
The department officials there took care of all my paperwork and made sure my stay in Germany was comfortable. I was given an apartment close to the University which I shared with one other student. Unlike otherwise believed the food was not an issue for me. There was a common university mess which served all types of cuisines which also included a vegetarian meal. Indian lunch was also prepared once a week. Personally I loved the typical German breakfast which consisted of fruits, vegetables, different types of meat, seeded bread, and coffee. During snack time, I munched on some delicious muesli or on some occasions tried to cook myself. Cooking was something I had never done before but having a roommate who loved preparing dishes I decided to give it a try. Indian spices were readily available in the supermarkets and it was fun cooking some spicy food for my roommate and myself.
Overall it was a pleasurable experience in Germany. There was a lot to learn both academically as well as on a personal level. It was indeed one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had.
Here are few pictures from my trip
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Internship Experience at TU Delft, Netherlands

Aditya Mahajan

I got an opportunity to do a summer research internship at TU Delft. It’s situated in Netherlands and is ranked among the top universities for Mechanical Engineering. I had some interest in learning more about DEM (Discrete element methods) and its practical uses, so I bagged the chance as soon as I got it.

Upon arriving I was first given an orientation of the equipment, machinery and software that I would be using. This lasted for a week and included various tutorials and practice tasks. Then I was explained my main internship goal and the related details. I had to work on a research paper along with 2 students who had just begun their PhDs. My research was on Efficient Mechanism for Transportation of Biomass (such as coal, wood pellets etc.) and the existing European Union Standards to test the durability of biomass. This was mainly to be done by experiments and simulations.

My supervising Professor helped me a lot in my approach towards my work and her guidance helped me a lot. I first carried out a literature survey to find out more about the existing research on the related topic. After I got a fair idea of the task I created a layout of my future approach and planned my work accordingly. I had weekly meetings with my team and the Professor where I had to give a presentation about my work updates and what I plan to do ahead. This also helped me in a way as by knowing their opinions after the presentations I got to learn new aspects of thinking and ways of enhancing the quality and strength of my work. I was given full liberty to model the path in my own way and was given full and quick support whenever I needed some project related stuff. It was a good test of my management skills as well.

I completed bulk of my designing and modelling work 2 weeks before my internship was supposed to end and after that I only had to do iterations on enhancing the quality of data generated and fairing out my work. In the end we received a strong research paper that would hopefully be presented in a conference early next year.

It was a wonderful experience to meet new people and witness a totally different culture and working environment. Surprisingly I didn’t find much problem in blending with the people out there as they were mostly friendly and often helping too. I had many fun moments with my team in the evenings, in the labs and at the lunch table (a place where one laughed more than what one ate J ). I also got a chance to visit numerous places in Europe along with my friends (Guess those were the most memorable moments). My last week was really nice, where my Professor and the team gave me a grand farewell party.

Start applying early and don’t apply just for the sake of going abroad. Apply only in the things you are interested. Have good communication with your team and you will definitely be able to smoothly work out your way and even give out better results.

Internship Experience at Deutsche Bank, Mumbai

Kshitij Jain

I came into IIT with very open arms to try all that I can, and for any which of it to impress me enough to pursue as a career. Having done a research internship at the National University of Singapore in the summers at the end of my second year, I pretty much got a flavor of what life is like in research and academia. Observing my colleagues doing their PhDs, I ended up getting the answer I was looking for – Core Research and Academia is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I am looking for something that is more closely tied to the daily dynamics of the world.

And immediately after, came the time to sit for the Training selection process. While HUL and ITC were the most sought after companies for any student in the Mechanical department I wanted to take this opportunity to explore a stream that I had never really gotten a chance to get my hands dirty with – Finance, a huge sector that holds immense importance in the functioning of any economy. I somehow had this notion about Finance that if not now, then maybe never. I’m not really the best at coding so Deutsche Bank was my best shot as against Goldman Sachs, and I put it over HUL, ITC and Wipro on my preference list. Shortlisted for the interview, I got through in two rounds. Not to forget the treat they gave us at the JW Marriott Hotel after the selection!

Once we settled in at the ITC Maratha Hotel in Mumbai, we had a rigorous 4-day training program to equip us with the necessary basics of finance – banking, securities in different asset classes, pricing and trading etc. After the training, I started working with the Fixed Income and Currencies (FIC) Asia team, which dealt with the Rates and Foreign Exchange business of DB across 12 Asian countries. My objective was to use DB’s proprietary trade data in the USD-MYR exchange pair and see if any insights about the relation between the price volatility and volumes traded in the market can be drawn. May sound heavy at once, but basically, like most of the other work being carried out in finance these days, it was about using historical data to predict what may be seen in the future. There were other parts to it as well, where I was required to analyze the market behavior before and after data release events. e.g. If the monthly data of the employment levels (Non-farm payrolls) in the US is to be rolled out in 2 days, then what is the market’s expectation of the dollar’s value, and how does it actually turn out to be when the number is rolled out. What it takes to properly address these problems is a sound understanding of econometric methods and machine learning. Fortunately enough, my project holistically encompassed various aspects of financial understanding – I was working on mathematical models of correlations and distributions on Excel and MATLAB, following macroeconomic news (like Greece, China etc.) on Bloomberg and even thinking on the lines of how my recommendations could be useful for actual trading and sales pitches made to clients.

The daily working hours were quite long (~12 hours average), but I was ready for that level of commitment to make the best out of the two months I had. Networking with the people around you is an extremely important part of corporate life, and I spent a lot of time with the heads of various teams, trying to understand the nature of their business and the kind of work they do. The good part is that nobody says no to explain anything to an intern, and I leveraged that (especially at informal parties) to learn about the softer side, about the motivations to work in finance, the high of taking those huge make or break risks, how the industry changed with time, the realizations they have in hindsight, and so on! In whatever little time that remained, I had an amazing time with amazing friends discovering Mumbai – the sea, the food and the polite auto-rickshaw drivers are what I miss the most about the place.

Firstly, it’s important to set your priorities straight, whether you want to explore a new industry or you want to understand what it’s like working in a core Mechanical industry. Once you’ve made that choice, try as hard as you can to get to the best company that can offer you a fulfilling internship experience – not a lot of companies are that serious about the internship program. Do not be hesitant to approach any of your seniors for help in any part of the process. Once you’re there, try to squeeze out as much as you can from those two months, understand the industry in and out – how has it developed, how is it relevant, how is the work life, does it match with your preferences, does it offer what you like? Be sure to have gathered all answers by the end of your internship. Finally, goes without saying, work hard and keep up the reputation of IIT Delhi. You might just end up getting a Pre-Placement Offer as well!

Work at Daikin Industries Ltd. Internship Location: Shiga, Shiga Prefecture, Japan

-Ramana Kanth Reddy-

Title of project: Low Noise Technology Development of Swing Compressor

Type of project: I worked in compressor department of Daikin’s Shiga Plant. My project was involved in making a theoretical model of compressor system (swing compressor) and to develop a programme which can be used to estimate the forces acting on the compressor body.

Approach: I first made a schedule for the entire project period. The work can be divided into two halves: In 1st half I did the theoretical part of the project in which I used the concepts of solid mechanics and rotor dynamics (like bending of beams, Moment area theorems & vibrations of rotating bodies) which I have learnt here in college. Finally I derived the mathematical expressions which govern the forces acting on the compressor body. In the later part I was asked to create a programme in MS Excel using VBA which can calculate the force acting on compressor body. For this I learnt a little VBA coding there and made a programme which almost took like 3weeks.

Solution and effect of the solution: The programme was made to run using experimental inputs and the results obtained were very closely matching with the experimental results. My mentor became very happy when he watched the results. Currently a team in Daikin is working on continuation of my project and are trying to make a programme to find the vibration amplitude of the compressor body.

Experience and advice for juniors: Seeing my work I was rewarded with Pre Placement Offer from Daikin. I cannot explain the joy of working there in words, the main reason why I loved working there is, you will be given a chance to work on the products or technologies which are new or yet to be released in the market. So working on newer technologies and yet to be release products will always be a motivation factor for an ambitious engineer. Also I think no one would like to miss a chance to see the technology and culture of an advanced country like Japan.

Internship Experience at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

Eshaan Agarwal

My internship was in GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, one of the leading FMCG brands in India. Product range of GSKCH spans over Horlicks, Boost, Sensodyne, Eno, Iodex, Crocin among others, and my project was primarily to suggest implementable changes to increase the productivity and capacity of 2 Eno plants at Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh) and Hardiwar (Uttarakhand).

Projects required travel to both cities for 1 week each, with entire flight and 3+ star hotel accommodation sponsored by GSKCH (sigh). Remaining time was spent in the ‘lavish’ Gurgaon head office developing further on the idea

My guides wanted me to think out of the box, hence I was not given an existing project but was asked to start from scratch. Internship started in Rajahmundry, where I learnt the process and figured out bottleneck process by formulating the manufacturing and packaging flow of Eno using a technique called Value Stream Analysis. All tasks were semi-automated, hence a lot of labor was involved especially in packaging. I observed that there were two machines which were connected but offline, i.e. output of the first would go as input of second, but that was manually fed by over 24 workers over the day.

The work was redundant, and I worked towards integrating the two machines through Low Cost Automation. Various designs were proposed, and technical team suggested problems in the designs. We ultimately settled at a layout which would completely eliminate these 24 workers. I continued to work on same problem in Haridwar (machines were same) and carried out extensive study of equipments required, cost and payback analysis, factory layout changes and recommended stages of upgradation. So my work started with Operations Management but ended up becoming a Low Cost Automation project.

As a proof of concept, I also created complete animation on SolidWorks to aid non-technical people to understand the mechanism. The effort in the project was highly appreciated and sent forward for possible implementation in the company over the years. I also addressed storage issue in Rajahmundry and proposed layout changes (requiring minimum investment) in warehouse to increase the storage by almost 44%. That was a smaller project that lasted for just 3-4 days.

If the company is paying you, they would expect something tangible and implementable. You shall be responsible for your project, hence maintain regular communication with your guides and report to them as frequently as required. If things are not working out, don’t worry they’ll help you out. But do try to learn as much as you can, a good internship project will definitely help you out while interviewing for job later.

Internship Experience at Hindustan Unilever Limited- Leeds, UK

Kanav Gupta

I was recruited by Hindustan Unilever Limited for the industrial internship. One month before the intern I was informed that I (only one in IIT D) was to go to Leeds, UK for my project. Project details were to be given later.

My project was to create a DFM (Design For Manufacture) guide for roll on deodorants. DFM guide is basically a capability document which describes the features your product should have in order to run on the existing machinery. One needed to gain a complete understanding of packaging line and machine operations for creating the guide.

It was an uphill task as I had no idea whatsoever about DFM or the roll on packaging line. To add to my worries, my tutors were on a two week holiday when I got there. But since they had already instructed their colleagues to look after and help me, I never felt lost. The absence of my tutors worked to my advantage as I was able to build direct work place relationships with other emplyees and by the time my tutors arrived I had already gained a fair bit of ground. The rest of it was smooth sailing.

The overall experience was wonderful. I got to see a new country, met new people. The perks with a good organisation is that there are system in place to help to you out at each step. It gives you immense satisfaction and drive to work on project that will be implemented in all manufacturing locations across the globe. Leading such a project (being just an intern) is a huge opportunity in itself, needless to add the learnings that come from it. And finally when your work is appreciated by the design engineers in the ‘Global R&D’ and Director level people, you have sense of pride.

My advice to my juniors will be that

  1. Don’t get bogged down by the enormity of adverse circumstances. Remember your strengths and use them to solve the crisis.
  2. Wherever you go, make sure to build workplace relationships. It will always be helpful.
  3. Work only with a single goal in mind- to create something worthwhile. Rest will follow.

Everything you should know about the compulsory Design Credits

(Implementation guidelines for five non-graded units to be earned by all UG students)

In the new curricula, it is mandatory for all UG students to earn 5 non graded units of Design/Practical Experience as graduation requirements. Objective of this non graded core requirement component is to give opportunities to students to acquire substantial design and practical experience both as a part of formal courses as well as in an informal setting. Second and even more important objective of this course is to inculcate design thinking among students and facilitate them to gain some design immersion experience.

Objective of Design/Practical Experience component is to promote learning by doing which does two important things: it allows students to immerse themselves in the environment in which work is to be done, so that they can understand the values and expectations of the target beneficiaries. Secondly it enables a fresh look at problems, not only at the ways of defining them, but also at the ways to solve those including skill-sets that are required to address them. A shift from problem based learning (acquisition of knowledge) to project based learning (application of knowledge), where the projects are grounded in problems outside the classrooms and labs in everyday scenarios, will involve students in reality, and reality in education (MHRD Design Manifesto, 2014). Design and Practical Experience bridges division between the curricular and the co-curricular, and encourage the curiosity and involvement that issue from total absorption in a subject of interest.

Design/Practical Experience activities need not be restricted to design of physical products but must also include system level design and experience. For example a team of students who under the supervision of faculty in collaboration with an NGO, would like to design a new financial inclusion system for marginalized section of population too can earn design/practical experience units.

Implementation

These units can be earned in multiple ways during the semester as well as during vacation period. Institute, departments and centres will specifically identify and designate a set of courses and activities which will provide students opportunity to earn these units. Student will be declared to have completed Design and Practical Experience units after he/she earns total of 5 units. This is analogous to earning credits under humanities, environmental courses etc.

Some of the suggested ways by which design/practical experience can be acquired are as follows:

  1. Specialized Elective Courses related to Design and Practical Experience (Maximum 2 Units)

Departments and centres will offer a basket of elective courses which will not have any credits associated with them but will have only Design and Practical Experience units linked to them. In other words successful completion of these courses will not give any credits to students but only design practical experience units. These courses offered by departments and centres can be of one unit (50 hours of students time) or two units (100 hours of student time). Faculty offering these courses will award these units at the successful completion of the course requirements. If the course offered is of 2 units, faculty at the end of evaluation may award 2 units or only 1 unit if the work is partially satisfactory or none if the work is not satisfactory. Design & Practical Experience Many of the departments which offered design courses in the previous curriculum would like to retain and reoffer them in new form under this category with suitable modification. It is also good opportunity for departments not offering UG programs and centres to engage with UG students by offering new elective courses under this category. A few of these courses which cut across departments and are multi-disciplinary in nature too can be offered under the umbrella of interdisciplinary groups such as robotics.

One of the courses which needs to be offered under this category is Minor Design Project of 2 units. Minor Design Project will give students an opportunity to work in teams under the supervision of faculty on a real life project with design content. Some of the institute co-curricular activities pertaining to team based product building such as Robotics, Automobile, IGEM can be carried out under this project course. SURA projects related to design and practical experience too can be brought under this course.

  1. Regular Courses with optional Design and Practical Experience Component (Maximum 2 Units)

Departments and faculty offering regular core and elective courses can offer optional design component in their courses at the time of registration. Successful completion of course will give credits to students and at the same time they will be eligible for earning (1 or 2) design units if they successfully complete optional design component. Faculty offering these courses will award these design units at the successful completion of assigned design work.

  1. Summer Internships with Industry (2 Units)

Students can undertake minimum of 40 days of successful internship (to earn two design practical experience units) during summer vacations. This would be administered in the same manner in which departments presently administer the internship course by appointing a faculty coordinator who would also be responsible for awarding these units.

  1. One Semester Internship (5 Units)

In the new curriculum a provision has been made for students to opt for one semester internship in industry with minimum of 100 working days. This is the only activity upon successful completion of which students would be eligible for 5 units of design practical experience. It is mandatory that student’s work during this internship is supervised by two mentors one from the institute and another from industry. Students desiring to opt for one semester internship are required to plan well in advance and submit a project proposal in consultation with supervisors. Students can proceed with the internship after committee constituted by the department approves the same. Partial or complete units can be awarded by the departmental committee after evaluation at the end of internship period.

  1. One Time Design Practical Experience Module (1 Unit)

For both existing and visiting faculty as well working professionals from industry, NGO & Freelancers who would like to engage students in a workshop/course related to design and practical experience, this one time module can be offered as one unit course. This is one of those courses which will not appear in courses of study but can offered with approval from Dean/Chairman (Senate). This 50 hour modules can be typically offered during mid-semester breaks, winter/summer vacations and even during non-class hours during the semester. Different ways in which above discussed methods of earning design/practical experience units are summarized in the following:

  • Design & Practical Experience Summary of Offering and Evaluation of Design Practical Experience Units Design/Practical Experience Design of Textile Products (TTDXXX) Design of medical Products (BMDXXX) – Course is offered by departments/centres. Student registers at the time of registration. Faculty offering course awards these units
  • Robotics – Vision, Sensing and Path Planning (ABDXXX) – Course is offered by interdisciplinary group on Robotics Faculty offering course awards units
  • Minor Design Project (MEDXXX) Minor Design Project (AMDXXX) Interdisciplinary Design Project (JLDXXX) – Minor Design Project courses are offered by Departments/Centres. Students register for this course preferably in teams under the supervision of faculty. Departmental committee which evaluates these projects awards units. Institute level committee which evaluates these projects will award these units
  • Energy Systems & Technologies (MELXXX) Soil Mechanics (CELXXX) – Faculty teaching these courses also decide to offer optional design component. Some of the students registered for this course also opt for design component Faculty offering course awards units
  • Practical Training (EEDXXX) Practical Training (CSDXXX) – Course is offered by departments having UG programmes. Departmental committee which evaluates these internships/practical training awards these units
  • One semester Internships (EPDXXX) One semester internship (CEDXXX) – Course is offered by departments having UG programmes. Departmental committee which evaluates these internships/practical training awards these units
  • Design of Android Applications (YZDXXX) One time module is offered by a faculty or group of faculty with one of the faculty as coordinator Faculty coordinator awards design units
  • Design of Radio Controlled Aircrafts (UVDXXX) A visiting faculty together with IIT faculty as coordinator offers this one time module during mid-semester break Faculty coordinator awards design units Design & Practical Experience
  • More ways might be announced in the coming time.

Administration and Evaluation of Design Units

  • Every department offering UG programmes will appoint a faculty who would be coordinator for Design and Practical Experience Units. HOD and coordinator together will moderate these units awarded to students. The coordinator also has responsibility of ensuring that units earned by heterogeneous activities meet the requirements in terms of learning efforts and experience.
  • Institute will appoint a faculty who would be the coordinator for Design and Practical Experience units earned under the umbrella of interdisciplinary work. Associate Dean (Curriculum) together with this coordinator will moderate these units awarded under interdisciplinary work as well as those offered by departments and centres not having UG programmes.
  • Departmental coordinators, Coordinator for interdisciplinary units and Associate Dean (Curriculum) together will form an institute level committee to review and modify plan and policies for administering these units.

Courtesy: IITD UCIC Records on Design Units and Practical Experience

About

The purpose of the IIT Delhi Mechanical Engineering Society is to promote and enhance mechanical engineering knowledge among students at IIT and also reconnect alumni in the field to the institution. We plan to accomplish this mission through the following pursuits:

1. Organize

  • Sponsor seminars with outside speakers of interest on topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • Organize industrial Trips for students in the institution
  • Hold workshops by collaborating with people from the industry to help students in the Mechanical Engineering Department get a first hand experience in various new technologies
  • Facilitate sessions to connect current students to notable Alumni in the field.

2. Network

  • Enlist liaisons to connect existing student groups and academic departments related to Mechanical Engineering
  • Publicize events of interest around campus

3. Facilitate

  • The society will be the first point of contact if people in the industry related to Mechanical Engineering wish to hold any workshops/ sessions for the students at IIT
  • Help students in the department who wish to seek out for information about any aspect of their education or mechanical engineering

The Society will also come up with a newsletter yearly and will maintain a blog to update students and alumni about activities in the campus pertaining to them.