Q. A few lines about yourself . How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
I graduated in 2014 from the Engineering Physics department.
As a student, I loved brainstorming with people around me – about problems, their causes, their solutions including appropriate business models. I also enjoyed every bit of time working, developing and leading projects at SIFE/Enactus.
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Most of my internships were in the cleantech / social space which included
– Early stage startup funding: Helped a couple of angel investors evaluate proposals for seed startups in the social space.
– SELCO (designs solar solutions for the bottom of the pyramid people). We designed solar powered computer labs for rural schools in Karnataka. For this, we travelled a lot and met several students and teachers in the rural areas to get a good understanding of the problem at hand.
– TERI:I spent time finding battery technologies for solar lanterns.
– Navjyoti foundation (it runs community colleges in New delhi with IGNOU): I helped them redesign their curricula for their animation vocational course.
Q. Which university are you in and what is your field of study?
I am currently enrolled in a two years masters (MS) in Energy Management and Sustainability at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. It’s an interdisciplinary course where we have study the energy issues and potential solutions from technological, business and political angle.
Q. Why did you select this university in particular?
The decision to select this university was a result of a lot of things. This university is ranked among the top 12 in the world and hence has a very good international reputation. Also, the program offers me a lot of flexibility in choosing what courses I want to pick and study which means it is highly interdisciplinary and is project oriented. Lastly, It was a two years masters degree and hence I decided to use this opportunity to study here.
Q. What differences do you see in the education that you received in IIT and the one that you are getting now?
It’s a more project based curriculum. Literally every course has a project on the side, so u have to keep working throughout the semester. This helps increase the learning curve.
People are sincere about honestly submitting their assignments; plagiarism and blatant copying are highly frowned upon not just by teachers but also by students. IITD is very bad in this aspect.
Q. What better prospects would thiscourse provide you?
In terms of prospects, the reason I decided to sign up for a masters was to get a different perspective on the energy sector. I felt that all the exposure that I got in India had bounded my thinking process or let’s say my horizons. So I wanted to get a fresh perspective on things. I wanted to see what energy problems people are struggling with in the west, how they are dealing with it in terms of technological solutions, business models, and even political solutions.
Perhaps a more tangible reason was that a formal master’s degree in energy would open up a lot more doors for me in this sector if my future plans somehow don’t work out.
Q. One of the major challenges, I am sure must have been to get accustomed to the new language and further studying in it. Was it a big problem? How did you get used to it?
Yes! Getting accustomed to French, the regional language here has been tough, not so much in terms of academics but more so in the context of social life. It’s an ongoing problem and I’m not really sure of the solution 😛 :D.
Q. What are your plans for the future? What kind of a job are you looking at doing?
My plan for the future is to change the world‼ 😀
Jokes apart, concretely, I am not sure what I want to do immediately after my masters but on a longer scale I want to work on finding solutions to the energy problem especially in the context of developing and underdeveloped countries. From what it looks like at the moment, I would want to do this by starting up a clean tech company and turn it into “the Google” of this sector.
Q. One piece of advice that you would like to give to your juniors–
Sorry for the long answer but as you know fundae dene mey (giving away free advice) we don’t shy away so bear with me 😀
What I want to say can be roughly divided into 2 parts:
1.What I hoped people had told me when I entered :
Don’t be afraid of the competition. At times you will feel left behind, because people around are really good. It’s time to raise your level. If you don’t feel the heat and you don’t feel challenged, then you are certainly not making the best use of the resources around you. The people and the environment here will push you to be better than you are now and that is the best part of being at IIT.
2.What I hope to tell people because I think they seriously need to hear it :
o Be creative, adventurous and bold enough to pursue what you like, what u want to try or what you want to learn. Try out different things, test your hypothesis of what you think you like and want to do. When you do this, you may gradually begin to get a feel of what is it that you really enjoy and want to do. Manage your time well, so that you can extract the maximum out of this experience.
o Lastly, don’t take advice from your peers/professors/seniors/anybody at its face value (and obviously NOT even this one). Try to think rationally about it, weigh it under your circumstances. Some stupid people in IIT often tend to take every word of a senior as truth which makes no sense at all.
Please tell us about your work
Iam a data sientist at Discovergy GMBH (Gremany), a company that provides smart metering solutions to manage energy consumption and thus encourage energy sustainability. I develop machine learning techniques for disaggregating smart meter energy data for buildings. The technique was also used to obtain a breakdown of energy consumption of a commercial sports arena in Germany.This appliance level or sub-system level energy consumption could be useful for remote energy audits and for identifying avenues for energy efficiency improvements