Tuesday, June 13, 2006

IIT at any cost, or…

Every cloud has a silver lining, they say. But sometimes even sunshine seems tinged by cloud. Clearing the JEE is a ‘dream come true’ for any engineering aspirant in India. But once the initial euphoria fades, reality bites. Clearing is good, but topping is better. Without a good rank, you will never get the branch of your ‘choice’.

And what are the branches the heart most desires? Computer Science, Electronics, Telecom, Electrical Engineering. The ones with the most ‘scope’.

The mind says, it’s the branch of study that matters – so if you’re getting admission into another excellent college, take it. But the heart desires the chhaapa of IIT.

Here is a query I received from one such student's father:

My son's rank in IIT – JEE is 2288 and therefore he can opt for branches like Civil, Metallurgy etc. Under such situation will it be a better choice to go in for Computer Sc from some other college?

He goes on to mention that the boy is likely to get Comp Sci in IT-BHU, NITs, IIIT Hyderabad and even BITS Pilani.

Individually, these are amazing institutions. Chakkar yehi hai, ki in the layman’s perception they lack the ‘mystique’ of an IIT.

What’s in a name, eh? Everything, and then some it seems!

Student, know thyself
Ah, but getting back to the original question – is it IIT or bust? Well, the decision is deeply individual. But needs to be arrived at after exploring various fundaes.

The first and foremost thing is to ask yourself – are you attracted to engineering as a subject, or were you attracted to the brand name IIT.

If the study of computer science is what gets your nervous system tingling, obviously, you would go to the best possible college where you can get that subject. But if it’s the ‘experience of a lifetime’ you are after, you go for the college regardless of the subject you end up studying.

Now this might sound sadistic but we in India are quite flexible. We may desire a ‘love marriage’ but are always open to an arranged match. We believe one can fall in love with the girl or guy our parents choose for us… So why not a mere subject?

Khandaan accha hai, to sab accha hai.

Trouble arises when you are in love with X and agree to marry Y. Maybe you never get over that love, and live to regret it. Same can happen with studying a subject you embraced for the sake of a khandaani college. When your interest and passion lay elsewhere.

But like I said, it’s deeply individual. Few of us know our interests and passions to begin with. And so, we go with the flow. The IIT current is the strongest and we do not resist being swept away.

Practical considerations
Accha yeh sab theek hai, but what about the job scene, you ask. What makes more sense from a placement point of view?

Well, here’s the deal. Practically every engineer – and not just from IIT but the top 200 colleges in India – can become a software engineer in a TCS, Wipro or Infy. Regardless of what branch of engineering they study.

But, there is an elite corps which is recruited by global corporations for R & D jobs. And these are the jobs that even IITians die for. To work for a Google, Adobe or Yahoo on new and emerging technologies. To be part of a team creating new products and not merely fixing, maintaining or coding.

There is keen competition for these jobs – there are only a handful are available and they pay handsomely. Top ranked IITians from ‘most wanted’ branches like Computer Science are preferred. But companies a,lso look favourably upon toppers from other institutes.

Sumit Sharan, an IIT KGP alumnus now working at Intel points out, "If you study Comp Science from BITS Pilani, IT-BHU or an NIT like Trichy or Suratkal and you really excel there (say be among the top 2-3% of the batch) then you have a good chance of catching up with the top ranked IITians in the companies where they work for or even in getting admissions to universities abroad".

"There is simply NO other way you can work for one of these top notch companies by studying Civil/ Metallurgy from IITs. You will end up working in one of the more normal companies where graduates from almost every college can work."

The top notch company could offer anywhere between Rs 6-12 lakhs as starting salary, while the ‘normal’ ones offer a more modest Rs 2-3 lakhs. But the catch is, you have to be a person who really knows and loves the subject. Google, for example, holds 6 rounds of interviews in which they really test the candidates fundas and ability to think out of the box.

But if you’re the square peg who fits their round hole, more power to you!

Taking a risk
And sometimes, it all boils down to taking a leap of faith. A considered risk. IIIT Hyderabad graduate Chandan Kumar took such a risk some years ago when he joined the fledgling institute.

He recalls, "My IIT rank was 2396. At this rank, I was getting only the dual degree courses in metallurgy etc. Roorkee was a good option then, and I would have got BTech in the third ranked stream – Electrical."

But, Roorkee was not an IIT then. When Chandan visited the Roorkee campus, it looked disappointing. IIIT, by contrast, had a new and exciting feel to it. "And the presentations made to us during the counselling were promising," he adds. "Although at that time, IIIT was not a deemed university, and they offered not B Tech but a 4-year diploma - the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology."

Yet the buzz on IIIT was very positive and Chandan recalls the ‘best rank’ from JEE who joined IIIT then was some 1600.

"We did not have sufficient faculty when I joined, but now IIIT can boast of world class faculty. Many of them are BTechs from IIT and Phd from good US universities. It has done and is doing some good research work in Comp Sc field".

Chandan was lucky - he may not even have made it to IIIT today. Because seats here are hot property now. And yet...

There is occasional self doubt. "A few years after I joined IIIT, when I heard about Roorkee getting the IIT status, I did regret for some time... I would have been an IIT-Alumni! The brand is so irresistible…"

Yaar, phir bhi…
So we will continue to see a lot of students who will go for the IIT brand name – no matter what. And they’re not entirely wrong. The brand has become larger than life.

Sumit Sharan, an IIT KGP alumnus advises low rankers to be ‘intelligent’ in their choice of branch at IIT. "I would recommend the person to go for a branch like Maths & Computing (it's an MSc 5 yr course offered at IIT-Kgp ) rather than Civil, Metallurgy, Mining in present times".

"Yes you won't be called an Engineer at the end of 4 years ...but with the current Indian job market that is hardly an impediment these days..."

Secondly, ‘closing rank’ last year should not be the only criteria for selecting a course. Prof Dheeraj Sanghi of IIT Kanpur’s Computer Science department points out that many new and exciting programs on offer are often missed by students. For example, IIT Kanpur has an MSc dual degree in Economics where you study engineering basics as well as eco fundas.

And yes, the example I used may be that of IIT but people face similar decision problems everywhere. In Delhi, many would study Geography in a St Stephens – just to be known as St Stephen’s alumnus. And far too many of us work for certain companies because the brand name makes us feel secure.

And that is the ‘smart’ thing to do, but you still have to make a choice work for you.

Lessons for life
Whether you marry the girl of your dreams or the one your family dreamt of. Whether you join the ‘ultimate’ branch or merely the ‘ultimate’ college.

You have to keep seeking and striving, learning and thriving. You can’t ever say, "Hey, I have arrived…"

And I may be wrong, but I do feel that the folks who consciously opt out of IIT in search of a ‘better branch’ at another institute may be doing better in life than those who decided to place all their eggs in the ‘brand name’ basket.

Because brand names open doors, but you can easily and comfortably get locked in. They names become a crutch, a substitute for individual excellence. An easy excuse to cruise along in low gear when you could be burning up the freeway of personal potential.

All that matters in the long run is how true you were to yourself. As Oscar Wilde once said, "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry…"

Find yourself. Be yourself. Love yourself. Everything else will fall into place.

And yeah, this is motivational bullshit but you know what, the idea that an entrance exam or two at age 17 can make or break your future is horse manure. Use it - to fertilise your imagination!


  1. Hi,I kinda wandered into this blog.Good going!
    I have a story for you-My brother made a 2000ish rank in IIT-JEE and was offered a place in Chennai for metalurgy and Electronics at KREC(NITK).To cut a long story short he opted to go to NITK and is doing pretty darn well now.
    Like you say it all boils down to knowing yourself and knowing what you want to do.

  2. Hi

    Had heard of your blog in the context of a certain ponytail and visit it off and on.

    An exam at the age of 17 (16/18/19) - some appear for 2/3/4 attempts too - doesn't make or break anything. After all, at that age, do you really know what is it that you like to do/want to do for the rest of your life? Somewhat unlikely. I mean what would a 17 year old know of chemical engineering or electrical engineering - not that a 27 year old would do much better.

    I think the big reason for going into a good college is security and choice. Security in terms of getting a 'good' job. Choice because there are so many more options for you in life. Sad, but true. So many of us, opportunities in life limited.

    The big plus, in my opinion though, is the experience of spending 4 years away from home. Makes you a bit independent.

  3. the fact is that not a single student would know, in his plus two, what engineering is all about. Somehow, the fav. branch happens to be computer science for all. In terms of paycheck, yes, CS is the best branch, but certainly not in terms of how interesting the course is. Everyone, including me, follow what students in the previous years do. Opt for CS, elec, mech and so on. the arguement, for most (not all), that their interest lies in a different branch for not going to iit or other premier institutions is not a good one.
    I have read in campus magazines about civil, metallurgy and material science students who claimed they are happy that they did not get the "branch-change" after their first sem because they found their branch interesting. the wave in iit madras is towards research, and not job. at research level the only thing that matter in engineering is the interest in mathematics. eventually everyone will be solving differetial equations.:)
    one should remember that every branch has its own challenges. other 'lower' branches mustn't be brushed aside by looking at the pay check.

  4. Of course, if you know yourself, then nothing else in life matters. But practically, 99.99% students don't, at least at 17. Now having seen IITM, when I hear about IT-BHU from my brother, I cannot help but wonder about chasm of attitude and infrastructure between these institutes. And I shudder to think of other colleges which are even "lower" than these.

    You are true that Google will not hire Civil Engg from IIT, but Comp Sci from other colleges may end up worse than that. Not bragging but putting my experience.

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  6. I regularly read your blog and am a great fan of your writings. However this article of yours is simply amazing and I can relate to it so well.

    I am a computer engineer now working in the US. 8 years ago I was in delima of choosing a good college over a good branch (that I am really passionate about). I did go for the branch I loved and I am glad that I made the correct decision

  7. very informative.. I got 4238 rank in IIT-JEE'03 and was not gettin any respectable seat even in ISM or BHU, so decided 2 chuck it for ECE in GITAM, an autonomous college in my hometown, VIZAG.. I don't regret nethin, except for the fact tht IITians hav lots of fun( I realised it at their fets KSHITIJ), and i kinda envied them.. but m satisfied as m doin my engg with majors in Electronis which excites me, and tht kind of makes it easy...
    I m sure i would never shine in chemical engg, if i had opted for tht... Ultimately wht ignites ur passion counts.. nd the coll brand name is the icing in the cake...

  8. Recommended CS/IT Programs Outside IIT System
    (by Prof Dheeraj Sanghi of IIT Kanpur’s Computer Science department)


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  10. Great Post!

    But this post sends a somewhat wrong message to the readers. I can explain.

    I could only laugh at the continuous references made to branches like Civil and Meta while talking about scenarios, where one can 'just' get into an IIT.

    Believe me, getting into an IIT is worth it whatever branch you get, unless and untill the only thing that one wants to become in life is an engineer from a particular branch, but one can't get that in an IIT.

    There's no point in comparing the branches, if one has no idea, how much work can be done and how much money can be made by opting for any of the available branches.

    The reason, why most of them who go for branches which are not of their choice (God knows how they made a choice first of all), for the sake of getting into IIT, regret their decision is that they keep 'feeling' all the time that their branch is not good enough. The day they open their eyes (and that's easy to do if you are in an IIT), and look around, they will realize that they don't even need top notch companies to prove who they are!

  11. I totally agree with Amrit - no one has a clue of what a particular branch entails / type of subjects / nature of project work when appearing for the JEE. One might have impressions and there is definitely coolness factors attached - but no real grounding. Such grounding comes from exposure - and that happens much later. Also, most people don’t (or shouldn’t) think of the list of companies or pay packets as a criterion for making a decision at the undergrad level. What’s most important is the credibility they develop with respect to essential skills, how they shape themselves to get what they really want (in the future, when they hopefully have a better idea) and the network they establish.
    Brand does matter heavily in this respect as it develops tremendous confidence within a person and builds a positive perception about the person without him uttering a word. And the most important point is that perceptions matter!! a great deal and at every interaction. Moreover, they tend to last – unless a person is a dud – but then no one is. Most people subconsciously gave the author of this blog, their initial approval, based on her IIM background. That’s a big win as initial approval is what is most hard to come by. Similarly, put IIT on the CV and it matters.

    I’m not proposing a blind rush to a brand, when you got no clue whatsoever, chose something with a definite pay-off.

  12. Hi Rashmi,

    Thanks for reflecting IIIT in good light.

    I am an alumnus of second batch of IIIT-H. CS was on the top of my list when I gave my entrance examps and I am very glad today that I did my CS engineering from IIIT-H instead of metallurgy/merchant navy at IIT or electrical etc at NIT/DCE

    Having studied at IIIT I can confidently say that some of the work that we do especially in the areas of computer vision & language processing are far ahead than what happens in any of the IITs.

    As the director puts it the vision of the institute is to compete with stanford and not IITs. IIIT aspires to be for hyderabad what stanford was for silicon valley.

    We are thus also trying to engineer an entreprenuerial ecosystem which currently the IIT's are better at. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1637763.cms

    After working in the Industry for a few years I have returned to IIIT-H to incubate a company called Advetta at IIIT and hope we shall also create in due course of time the entreprenuerial spirit that are big part of the IIT's.


  13. amrit and mustang have made very important points.

    I would like to add one thing. It is dangerous to make a decision based on the current job trends/markets. These days things are changing so fast that something which is "hot" when you get in may become archaic by the time you graduate. For example, just two years ago no one talked about financial analytics at the IITs, now this sector is a massive recruiter. In such scenario, only the basic grinding will hold you in good stead.

  14. Comparing one's marriage to choosing a college is a hopelessly misleading analogy at best. Also, the correlation between present degree and future career is quite poor - umpteen examples both in India & the West - most founders of companies you know and admire are college dropouts and/or alumni of some nonfamous college. The really sad part is that the question is posed to you by the dude's dad. As Amrit & Mustang point out, at the age when these chaps write the CET/JEE/AIEEE/whatever, its silly to expect anybody to know what the study of each branch actually entails and whether one would actually like it 4 years hence. Hence, parents step in and make this vital choice, further mucking up the scenario.
    Out of the 200 or so classmates who graduated with a Bachelor's in Electronics alongwith me some 10 years back, I'm aware of 2 people who are actually professional electronic engineers! A large portion, perhaps some 50+ of them including myself, got some sort of a postgrad degree in Comp Sci/software/IT. Another large portion went on to the IIMs/other MBA schools. The rest are all over the map - banking,hotel,real estate,stock market,... Even those with software degrees moved into management, got out of the industry entirely, chose a completely different careerpath and so on...I infact know one chap who got a engg degree from IIT, then an MSEE in the US, and at in his 30s decided to become a doctor! He took his pre-meds and is a medic in NJ...the US gives you all sorts of options. Madhu Ambat chucked the IIT to get into FTII had he stuck with IIT we'd have lost a most valuable cinematographer. There's that famous electric guitar dude Prasanna. There's even a naxalite with an IIT tag!

    So I'd say no need to plan that far ahead. Just pick a branch and life will sort itself out.

  15. Bravo to your analysis ... you have given it a good try. But I am sorry to say that I agree with Krishnan Sundararaman. At a tender age of 17, only a handful of us are capable of making the right decisions and never regretting the same. Guidance in the form of parents / lecturers etc should always be welcomed. Lucky are those, who have been able to study and work in the field of their choice. Most aren't as lucky ... then there are others who discover on the job that they are good at it while they studied something they were not so good at. (even if they had opted to study the same).
    Be not very rigid and time will sort out things will always be my advice to youn students.

  16. Rashmi,
    really a nice post, specially concluding part.Donno whether you can read marathi or not, but last week I had post at http://guruvision.in with title "Pudhe kay ?" (what is next ?) in Marathi, hope you will read that :)

    - Somesh

  17. Good Post once again, Rashmi!

    I agree with Krishnan and Pridera and guess everyone will feel the same once they are out of the career making process and look back.

    I remember that I had to cook up so many reasons on "why I chose this particular branch for engineering" when I had started applying for the MBA entrance...

    The only problem with this type of approach is that there is a fear of being branded fatalist and this is certainly not recommneded for a 17 year young fertile mind...a little guidance and thinking will do no harm!

  18. hii rashmi

    i am a regular reader of your blog and hats off u have written another very very insightful article

    i have been in touch with some high achieving individuals all along who decided to opt out of schools colleges {some by choice /some by chance } and are now millionaires many times over just beacuse of their loveand passion for what they were doing

    ur post reminds me of an old saying


    i guess in the long run an IIT NIT IIM tag matters little

    what matters is the passion with which one lives his life and his work



  19. Rashmi,

    I agree with your ideas about good branch being better than good college but there are some things I want to point out here.

    1. You've considered CS as the only good branch. I dont see a reason for it.
    Let me tell you what the "Top notch" "R & D" jobs are
    Electronics - Nvidia, Intel
    Civil - PWC (not PWD), Shell (pay package 7.5L)
    Mechanical - HLL, ITC, P&G (all going upto 7L+), Shell, Danielli
    Chemical - HLL
    Metallurgy - Tata motors (few companies, I know)
    Mining/Geology - Schulmberger (10L), Transocean (11L), Relaince Oil, Shell
    and there are many more .. which I cant recall now.

    Now, these jobs can be capped mostly from IITs only. It's rather hard (ofcourse not impossible) to get into such top end companies (which do not offer "shop floor type" jobs) through other colleges. Then there are open-to-all type offers, in which all branches are allowed to sit.

    Software engineer isnt the only job available in market.

    2. You have considered JEE Rank as an end-of-the-world scenario.
    It's possible to get a department change in IIT. So you can work hard for one year and manage a department change to a better branch.
    I know it's risky (another leap of faith :) ) but it's possible
    I know it because I did it. I made a choice of choosing IIT (architecture) over other colleges (DCE/NSIT, NITs and IIIT Hyd too). Then managed to change my branch to Mechanical. I am proud that I made this choice.

    More Stuff:
    # One of my close friend, who completed BTech Civil last year, got offer from MIT in Transportation Engineering
    # Metallurgy offers good opportunities in field of nanotechnology and semi-conductors (vital for today's IC chip manufacturing industries)
    # There is whole different world of Thermal Engineering, IC Engines and Fluid Mechanics in Mechanical Engineering. All foreign schorlarships I have seen in Mechanical Engg. from my college have been related Fluid Mechanics.

    It's a pity that people consider Engineering == Software job and I sincerely feel that you too dont have enough knowlegde about different fields and opportunities in branches other than CS/IT.

    Moral of the Story: Best jobs of ANY branch are high paying. Best apps. of ANY branch are hugely attractive. the IIT tag does help.


  20. After my 12th, I had a choice between taking up arts in St.Stephen's or commerce in a far lesser known college. I chose the later because I knew I wanted to do commerce ONLY, from wherever. Now,after joining IIMB, during the summer internship process, I realised that the people getting the so-called cream of the job (international consults and ibanks) were IIT toppers or students from St.Stephens, SRCC etc. Now I had absolutely no interest in those jobs so I have no regrets with my choice. Someone else who had made the same choiced might regret it because he has missed out on these opportunities.

    The point I am trying to make here is that a brand name matters, especially in the long run. And not just in the job, as I'm sure you would have realised, with your IIMA tag. It's easier to make such a choice when the streams are as diverse as arts and commerce but on the case of engineering branches, how many 17year olds are aware of the scope of each branch when they make a choice?

  21. Hi Rashmi,

    Well said

    "Find yourself. Be yourself. Love yourself. Everything else will fall into place. "

    This statement of yours reminds me of that father-son-globe story(to borrow from Robin Sharma's "The monk who sold his ferrari")

    This might be interesting for atleast a few readers here....:-)

    To quote it in short..

    One night a father was relaxing with his newspaper after a long day at the office.His son ,who wanted to play ,kept on pestering him.Finally fed up,the father ripped out a picture of the globe that was in the paper and tore it into a hundred tiny pieces and asked his son to try putting them together,hoping that this would keep his son busy for the next 3-4 hours atleast.(long enough to finish reading his newspaper).

    But to his amazement,his son returned only after one minute with the globe perfectly back together.When the father asked how he achieved this feat,his son explained that there was a picture of a person on the other side of the globe, and once he got that picture together ,the world was okay.

    Moral of the story :-- "Put your world together,and things will start to fall in place"

    And again,be it IIT or IIIT,if a guy is following his passion,success has to follow.The only thing,one has to be sure about is,that he is really following his passion !!

    Being at an IIT (or any class A institute) definitely helps,but only to the extent of giving you a headstart over others,what should finally matter in the long run,as I perceive it,is ,whether you love your job or not,because excellence can only come with passion.

    And hey rajan,

    Best of luck for your shot at advetta.We all know,that you are going to make it big. :-)


  22. having joined the iit last year and have joined it at 2638 rank-branch meta-that too dual-i think i am the one for whom u write the post.only the post is 1 year late.but even if i had read something like this a year earlier,my desicion would be same.then i had no idea what does cs/meta offers-and 18 yeaqr old is not expected to know this.so what i did-i read the broad outline of syllabus of the courses,found out which course will help me to diversify if i choose to.meta was the best option.and since i had no idea what on the earth is in mech or chemical engineering-good college experience also bcame a deciding factor.after 1 year-and 1 introductopry course of meta i have developed a liking for it and cant wait to get on the shop floor.the mere fact that i will be working surrounded by molten metal and in vicinity of 1000-1500 celsius temperatures excites me.

  23. http://passionormoney.blogspot.com/2006/06/money-or-passion.html

  24. Prof sharar who teaches positive psychology at harvard said in one of his lectures that when one faces the dilemma, like the one discussed in this article of choosing to join a "non-glamourous" major at an IIT or a "glamorous" major at an non-IIT, one should ask himself three questions.

    1) Do I really find it meaningful to pursue ?

    2) Do I find please in learing it ?

    3) Am I good at it?

    I believe if we write down answers for these questions, we will be in a position to make a well informed decision.

  25. hi,
    I read the whole stuff on the blog and could see lots of analysis going into it. I'm from Hyderabad and personally was an "hard core" aspirant of IIT. But, unfortunately could not make it. Before delving so deep into the analysis I just have a funamental question about the famous JEE. How transparent is this exam. Everytime I gave this exam I dint know where and why I lost this? There is an Iron curtain and I do not know why the elite professors at IITs hate to be transparent. I want to ask one question to every one at IIT and alumni. Do you know why you got this rank and not the other?? Please respond anyone. And I'm not asking this because I did not get into but as a rational human who believe in science and evidence is the basis of science.

  26. Hi,
    I stumbled across this blog and I find it quite interesting. I am a final year design student and I have encounterd very similar problems in this field as well. Taking this discussion on a slight tangent, I read an article recently that said that Sony has patented an idea where one can view movies, listen to music and play games in their heads. And people seem to prefer and want this to be the kind of direction that technology would take them in the future. What do you think the future scenario be like if technology intervens into our lives to such an extent?
    I am living in Bangalore currently and I have seen the city infrastructure change for the worse with the 'IT invasion'.
    I am quite keen on what people are thinking about the future situation with regard to such related consequences to technological development. Check out the Alternative Law Forum site and Benjamin Solly's work, they talk about some of these related issues.

  27. IIT's have premium brand value. If you think you will be better off with a better brand in the future, I think any branch works. Statistically more than 50% do their MBA and only a significantly small percentage actually end up working in their own fields in which they have graduated. The Civil Engg guys from the IIT's can as good programmers as CS gradutes. Programming and problem solving can be done equally well by any astute mind.

    Unfortunately in India we have this debate because IT/MBA career opportunities(read $$$) outstrips any other industry by a huge margin

  28. "Find yourself. Be yourself. Love yourself. Everything else will fall into place.'
    Hor rightly said. Just the brand name alone will get you a job but whether you have a passion for what you do or not. Thats the quetion.
    Now studentsw ant to get into IIT not to become engineers but to wprk for an MNC and drive a benz. How sad and how deperate people are to make millions?

  29. IIT is indeed hype, and as a "brand" it is pretty suyccesful not only in India but also abroad.

    We can see the posts of aspirants at online forums such as such as Crack IIT wanting to get in so bad.

    Infact the very fact that websites like Crack IIT targetted at engineering students and aspirants bears testament on how badly the Indian school go'er wants to be an IITian.

  30. Hi, I am an IIT Delhi Graduate. I was lucky to get a rank of 140 during JEE, at that time I did not know what I wanted in my life? probably I still don't.

    The one thing I feel Indians lack is interest and motivation. We mostly go to college not because of interest but need and parent pressure plus peer pressure.

    Life is tough .... but one can't help it.

  31. I chanced upon this website and thought will pen in my thoughts...

    I absolutely believe that the field in more important than the college. If you can develop a passion for a subject and can excel, it can take you to places.

    I was crazy to get into IIT and struggled twice, with getting a very low rank the second time. Looking back, I feel that I didn't have the right approach. Anyways.. I felt at that time that I had lost big time. I was getiing seats in IIT in fields I was not interested in, but instead opted to pursue electronics at RAIT ( a private college in Mumbai). I knew I loved the subject (since I have always been interested in physics). I excelled all the years in my undergrad engineering, standing second in the college. I managed to get full scholarship to pursue M.S at University at Buffalo. From there I went on to work as a computer architect at Sun Microsystems. After several years, I decided to expand my skill sets and currently an MBA student at Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT), combining my passion for technology and business.

    So in my experience..passion and dedication to what you do or want to do is more important than just runing after a brand.


  32. hi
    i am amit doing first year mechanical engg from don bosco institute of technology.
    i am very worried about my branch,
    because i dont know any thing about it.
    please help me out
    tell me what are future scope of this branch in india as well as in abroad
    can a fresh mechanical engg with first class get a job in abroad
    i would be pleased if u hel me out.

  33. Neither every IITian is a sucessfull man, nor every sucessfull man is an IITian.

    Though brand name matters, but its ultimately upto the junta themselves. I have seen people making it to IIT's and then flunking in number of courses resulting into an year drop.

  34. Let me bring life to this subject. I'm perhaps the person you are talking about. The results for JEE 2007 are out, and I'm in the same position as being discussed now. I have scored a rank of 3814 and wondering what the hell can one do with it. I won't get anything good at IIT. AIEEE results are also out and I won't get anything as hot as Computers or Electronics in top 2or3 NITS or IIITs. And blame it all on bloody India Education system, I don't know much what all is being taught in different streams at such low ranks and what are the career options available to me later. Should I opt for IIT ? If not, What should I do ?? Please Help

    And yes, Can someone please tell how a person at 17 can know what is "his interests" while the education system don't gives him enough exposure on this subject.

  35. was reading up what bala wrote
    bala, i had a similar scene as urs, ended up in RAIT inspite of a low JEE rank, and though just like you, we all would walk into NITs due to the %age cut off making it easy for mumbai univ students (my pcm was 95 and my aggregate was 91%) it still seems like a better option to get into RAIT. the second time I gave my JEE i just didnt care as I was happy where I was. I agree with Bala. look for something only when you are not happy where you are.

  36. well folks..nice thoughts..i waan to convey something to the owner of the blog that , im myself (was)in the same dilemma of chosing the branch or IIT ..but i have chosen B Tech Civil engineering at IIT Delhi , and left top branches(as in CS from NSIT.IT BHU , BITS etc..) nd lemme tell u it was a hug decision for me, but i was pretty clear that i wanted IIT..but this is also a fact that studying CS was a dream for me..so its kind a situation having both drreams complementary to each other..but lemme tell you that after coming here i have also studied CS , as yu can do lot of open (elective) courses in your prefereed area..
    and as far as jobs /placements are concerned .ican tel u the average package of my deptt was around 5.5 lakhs last year..with high paying jobs from schlumberger = 32 lakhs
    and shell = arnd 10 lkhs, MCkinsey,BCG etc..
    see its all about optimizing ur life..i fell u get a whole new dimension when u study at iit,as u meet the best talent of ur country and the kind of rigorous schedules that we have , it makes u well equipped with skills that u can really leave every body behind (non IITians exceptions apart) even if u start from the bottom,and lemme tell u some great achevers from IITs non Cs deptts :

    Rajat gupta (B Tech IIT DelhiMech engg.)

    Arun Sarin (B tech Metallurgy IIT kgp).
    the problem is that u guys are not aware of oppurtunities of very highly reckoned jobs in these fileds..
    and as for my case im also aiming to pursue MS in Computer Science ,,so as i said u need to optimize,,now im having brand IIT , a whole new thinking , the confidence and then i will be having MS in CS from a good top 15 US univ..(or may be even top 10) and eventually i will be having job in ur google or microsoft or oracle or Intel or whatever...
    believe me im more passionate about cs then all memebers in this blog , but i have chose civil or actually IIT Delhi,which really rocks!!!

    Akshay Dua
    B tech (Civil engg ;-))IIT Delhi...

    Arun sarin

  37. well guys i suppose,tht iit professor hasn researched his things up quite well.....he has left 1 imp ''biggie' outta his club 6.....NSIT coe has muchh betr placement,course content,faculty thn any of his ''biggies''.....u can easily guess tht 1 of the guy frm tht vry institute bagged a 35 lpa smething offer last yr frm coe brach only.....n tht institute has way betr avg package thn many of the ''biggies'' in the professor's list.....n reagarding campus n infrastructure thing is tht this govt institution has one of the best array of facilities for its studs......u can visit its site.....the campus is jus amazing.....

  38. just came across your blog and can safely say that to some extent it captures the repentance that i am having for making the choice. I was ranked 1300 in JEE and was getting CS at DCE/NSIT but went for the former just for the brand sake. And to be honest till date the brand has served no good purpose (apart from generating awe amongst neighbors, which feels good only at some instances).With placements approaching and the real story of "brand IIT" unfolding in front of me I am left with no other option but to repent.

  39. I would recommend each blogger to write his position in the institute and his score because once opinion a lot depends on these...I know few people writing above who are fucking with their studies are are expecting a job with google, BCG, microsoft to name a few (Brand names)and are giving fundee that one should not go by the brand name. MOreover those who talk about job scenario at IIT's should be asked a question "havve they gone through the placement scenario for other colleges themselves or are just relying on some stories told to them by their friends?"

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  43. hi
    I got a rank of 2659 in iit jee. now with such a rank i could end up in iit doin metallurgy or do cs in bits pilani or nits(i had these options).but frankly speakin i really dont no what comp sci engineering is all about nor do i know any thing abt meta eng(hardly a few students no abt)... in such a situation what do i do..you are sayin to prefer a good branch but what if i dont enjoy it...i will be in deeper shit...and yes comp sci has a lot of scope in india and abroad but do you have any idea abt the scope of metallurgy and civil abroad...i dont no what interests me more...but to speak the truth i would definitely prefer iit over other institutes coz there i ll get the best environment the best faculty the best alumini the best guidance for future...and also i ll learn a lot from my seniors and get
    inspired to become like them...these are some of the points that are really important for me and my future...i no that comp science rocks but the iits rock even more...

  44. Lovely Blog,
    Read it two years ago and made a decision to opt branch over brand and today I am in second year at IIITH(CSE) studying a subject I love.
    I think this prose made all the difference as it made me think very clearly.

  45. Words of wisdom. The things that have been pointed out seriously makes one think.


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