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‘Stay open to experimenting’

Moving out of the city taught this Delhiite to be independent and adjust better with peers

education Updated: Jul 17, 2012 16:20 IST
Gauri Kohli

Soon after his Class 12 result was declared a few years ago, Delhiite Yuvesh Khandelwal wanted to join a regular BSc course at Delhi University. Soon after, he had a change of heart and decided to go for an engineering degree at the Delhi College of Engineering, earlier affiliated to Delhi University and now the Delhi Technological University.

To his disappointment however, he could secure a seat in the engineering programme there. But not the one to give up hope, he decided to look for options in other cities. This was when he thought of joining Punjab Technical University's Bhattal Institute of Engineering in Sangrur.

The college is on the outskirts of the state, which meant that Khandelwal had to not only be away from home, but also miles away from the nearest city — Patiala.

However, he ensured that he made the best out of whatever was on offer. “Leaving aside the IITs, IIITs and NITs, other engineering institutions are on par in terms of facilities, infrastructure and quality of teaching. We participated in various extra-curricular activities during our stint there and studied well. Engineering as a discipline didn’t look difficult there,” says Khandelwal, who pursued his BTech in electronics and communication.

In his fifth semester, he was placed with MPhasiS, an HP Company, during a university placement drive at a package of R2 lakh per annum. After working with the company’s Bangalore office for nearly two years, Khandelwal was lucky again to get a call from IBM, Gurgaon, to work as a software engineer. “This was an amazing career break and I’m happy my qualification and experience paid off,” he adds. Delhi University was, however, not on the priority list of this Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, alumnus. “Some of the aspects of DU are unmatched, such as its lively, vibrant campus and the college festivals. But then you should also be willing to experiment in life and should never hesitate to move out of Delhi if you get a chance. The undergraduate degree period is the most crucial phase of one’s career and one should make the most of it,” says Khandelwal.

The young engineer also suggests that if you don’t get into a conventional course at Delhi University, you can go for professional and offbeat courses such as animation, fashion designing, modelling and acting which offer great scope and are lucrative too.

Things you’ll not find in the official college prospectus
* Other than the prospectus, the best information regarding your college comes from your seniors. They tell you even the nitty-gritties of the college and campus life.

It’s best to be good friends with them because they have been there and done that!
* For details on the facilities offered and the infrastructure, you must visit the college/institution before zeroing in on one you’re going to join
* Places to hangout and entertainment options in the city you are going to study in are other things not mentioned in the college prospectus

What you must eat
n Lassi at any Patiala joint is a must-have. It’s thick, creamy and simply out of this world!
n Makki ki roti and sarson ka saag, which are the staple dishes of the state
n Stuffed paranthas with white butter from any dhaba in the state

Where you must go/visit
* Wagah Border
* Amritsar
* Chandigarh
* Patiala

What you must carry
* Take your laptop, iPod, books and other things that you stay hooked on to. There aren’t too many sources of entertainment in and around the college campus
* Don’t forget to take valuable things from home — your family picture for your side table, a prized possession that your parents give you

What you must know (local language/cultural aspects)
* Get a good hang of Punjabi which is widely spoken there. Try to understand the perspective of the people there. They are happy being simple so you must respect that

Key learning from college
Baba Hira Singh Bhattal Institute of Engineering & Technology, Sangrur Punjab

Besides picking up skills related to his field, Khandelwal learnt to be independent and more disciplined during his stint at the university. He liked the overall experience of living on his own at the college hostel where he made many friends. “Staying away from home gave me an edge over others. I learnt a lot about life and how to deal with people. I learnt how to adjust in different situations and coping with ups and downs,” he says. College life also taught him to make best out of every opportunity.

Work-life balance
Khandelwal’s company gives him enough room for maintaining a work-life balance. “The best thing about my company is that the working hours are flexible and we are allowed to work from home any time. There are no fixed requirements such as a reporting time or minimum number of working hours that an employee must put in. You can come and leave office anytime, provided you are delivering your work. This takes a lot of pressure off your head and increases your productivity,” says Khandelwal. He usually avoids working from home on all days and likes interacting with his colleagues. He also makes it a point to spend time with family and friends over the weekend.

Let’s talk about my job
IBM, Gurgaon

Khandelwal’s current project at IBM includes developing an application supporting a US-based energy firm and handling their IT infrastructure. The application is used by nearly 40,000 employees of that company. The Delhi-based engineer is the youngest in his team which comprises about 30 other professionals. “When I was hired by IBM, I had only two years of work experience. The company rarely hires employees with so little experience but I was lucky that I got that chance and love to prove myself in the best way possible here,” he adds.